Venus Jasper is a queer visual artist, storyteller, world builder, performative priestess, researcher, educator, writer, and curator, currently based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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DIRTY (Before Dirt Was Dirty)

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DIRTY installed at MU Hybrid Arthouse Eindhoven (NL) and video stills. Duration: 7:22 min.

In 2018, Griepink received a research funding to investigate and develop a "new pagan pop music video" and to seek reconnection with ancient pagan folklore and reconnection with the land. A kind of re-rooting but not in a Lord of the Rings dusty way, but more youthful and sexier. Earth. Dance. Joy and Pleasure - DIRTY is the first music video from this research.

In this video, two elfish aliens arrive at the material earth for the first time.With sparkling crystalline nails they begin to explore the wet soils, their own bodies, and each other. In some shots, the balls of manure are admired with great curiosity, seeing how vital the fertile earth is for all life on this planet.  

The lyric "Before Dirt Was Dirty" does not only point at a time when the earth was not yet polluted, it also points to the effect of language in the relationship that humanity has with their environment.

Sand, Mud, Soil and Earth is sometimes called 'dirty' when it's on the hand of a child. Considering how much we depend on this dirty stuff, the artist wonders: how did we ever start calling dirt dirty?

"Their chant echoes environmental activist George Monbiot, who headlined in 2015 that “we’re treating soil like dirt” and “it’s a fatal mistake, as our lives depend on it.” Whereas Monbiot spoke about soil neglect in relation to industrial farming and its subsequent planetary depletion, the alien beings in Dirty address this issue more indirectly by bringing attention to the semiotic confusion of calling dirt dirty. In doing this, they direct the gaze of the audience to the more positive, mysterious, and sensual qualities of soil, before they rub each other in mud and things actually get “dirty”.

Arguably the most banal thing on earth (earth itself) is connected to the most ephemeral and transcendent (god), while an affective quality (worship) is activated through spiritual theatrics. In this, Griepink’s work distinguishes itself from other appearances of soil in the contemporary art context, like Walter de Maria’s Earth Room (1977) or Olafur Eliason’s Riverbed (2014). Griepink does not merely display the earth and leave the interpretation to the eyes of the beholder, but introduces archetypal personas, aliens, soil priestesses, and divas to enchant, enliven, and activate the matter."
To Live and Die with Soil, by Georgia Kareola.

Video Stills

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Director: Venus Jasper
DOP Konstantin Guz
Edit/Color: Igor Lorok
Graphics: Neo Metabolism
Performers: Venus Jasper, Giek_1
Costume: Jacob Kok, Venus Jasper
MUA: Sletlanaaa
Photography: Kyle Tryhorn
Set design: Venus Jasper, Chris Dobbins
Movement advice: Kamilė Karpalovaitė
Runner: Jasper Griep

Song: "DIRTY" by Venus Jasper ft. Giek_1

Tungsten Studio
MU Hybrid Arthouse
CBK Rotterdam
Mondriaan Fonds