From May 2019 until August 2020, my crew and I have made footage of soap bubbles in De Meelfabriek (flour factory) in the city of Leiden. The result is a fourteen-piece videoseries with the umbrella title Homo Bulla.
Homo Bulla Est is a well-known proverb quoted by the Dutch humanist/philosopher Erasmus. The idea is that humans may seem solid and substantial beings, but life floats by like a bubble, vulnerable and fragile.
Soap bubbles could be seen as people. Individuals, groups, or even larger: a crowd of people. During the shoots I wondered how the soap bubbles seem to have their own identity and ‘face’. I was fascinated by this.
Did you know that bubbles often lose their color at the end of their lives, like old people get gray hair? And they like to cluster together in ‘social’ structures. Once they arrive on wet ground, they stay there for a while before breaking. Sometimes alone, sometimes in clusters that collapse together.
A bubble only lives for a short time, just like humans. There is no control. Rather you are floating and drifting passively, driven by draught or wind. You sail along on the air streams, together with your companions and relatives, experiencing your own vulnerability and that of your beloved ones nearby. Knowing it will all come to an end.
All that’s left is to enjoy the beauty of the moment. Here and now, stripped of all chaos, danger and stupidity in the world. The films try to tempt you to step into the poetic world of the rich variety, colors and shapes of the fragile and illusive soap bubbles. Perhaps you can even retreat from the matrix of time and thus temporarily enter another universe.