Born in the Netherlands in 1978, Melanie hardly fits in any of the typical boxes. She moves from photography to video making, from music to performance, mixing documentary forms to visual arts and she deals with sociological matters. In 2013 she released the video piece Pee on Presidents, which featured an ironic vision of anti-censorship and body positivity.
In 2014 she started working on the Night Soil Trilogy, which tells the stories of women who rebel against capitalism through systems that are currently illegal. The first video of the trilogy, Fake Paradise, analyses the healing effects of the herbal drug Ayahuasca on the minds and bodies of modern human beings. The second video, Economy of Love, features a group of sex workers in Brooklyn and their research of intimacy and empowering sexuality. The third video, Nocturnal Gardening (released in 2016), focuses on radical and innovative agriculture and harvesting, based on community work and on a deep respect for nature and animals.
In 2016, the first video of Melanie’s new trilogy was also released: Progress vs Regress. This looks at the growth of technology through the eyes of elderly people at retirement homes in The Netherlands. Her work often contains a strong criticism of the contemporary western world, in particular focusing on the loss of intimacy and humanity in an increasingly technological society, and also the progressive detachment of mankind from nature. But this criticism doesn’t come in harsh, apocalyptic or threatening tones: quite the opposite, Melanie’s work usually leaves the viewer with a deep sense of peace, with an ecstatic vision of beauty and purity and with deep love for the world. We chatted with Melanie in occasion of the screening of Progress vs Regress and Nocturnal Gardening at Worm Festival in Rotterdam.