How do we, us, the humans, a person, behave and react when the earth is trembling? What is it that feels accurate to do at the moment you feel that the ground beneath your feet is moving.

In these series I’m exploring human behavior during an earthquake. Movements, actions and body language when nature takes over in full force and every second counts.

I started looking at footage online on volcano’s in eruption. Looking at that thing that is stronger than us humans. That thing that will always be stronger than us; Mother nature. An eruption is visible in advance. It’s noticeable because of modern technology and you’re therefor more likely able to escape and evacuate before it happens, plus you can see the eruption and there for know which way to run. But with earth quakes it’s different. In places where people live in remote areas and/or are not at all used to experiencing earthquakes, the moment it starts to ‘speak’ suddenly comes and arrives as a huge surprise. I looked at some online streaming of CCTV footage of the earthquakes in Nepal back in 20 15. Street views registered by camera’s that are put on buildings ment to show uncommon situations.

I focussed on the moving images from thé particular moment the camera shows that the recording-machine itself starts to tremble; Thé moment the earth starts to ‘talk’. And then I looked at how long does it take, how many seconds, for a person who, for instance, rides a motorcycle or walks around, realizes what’s going on and that he or she is in danger asking myself; What is it that the instinct tells us to do the moment we feel an earthquake. How do we react and what does that look like when you ‘still’ that moment.

  • Play and Pause from one second to the other. Following a person in his or her running. Looking at those who stand still and just observe, and looking at the body language. For me, this ‘in-between-moment’ is a very interesting area. It’s a moment you cannot grab. It’s a moment in which you are sort of lifted out of your being so to speak. A moment in which you loose al your controle.  It’s the moment the universe orders you to stand stil meaning;  ‘You are being forced to be completely in the now’. It takes place in thé unexpected and therefor can not prepared for . The feeling and experience that there’s no place to run and no place to hide must be: – no words found... What I asked myself is; When you experience something like that, something that is so much bigger than you, how do you behave? Do you hide? Do you run? Do you pray? Do you stand still? Do you surrender and give in? and, how does your personal acceptance of ‘surrender and if so: ‘giving in’ as an individual, expresses itself through body language, and how do I look at that?

In these screenshots the golden color symbolizes the earth. I use pins when I feel that a certain person stands out, ‘pulling-out’ that what triggers me. What I find interesting is that when you take a single still, the image itself looks very strange. The whole street setting is awkward. Something is happening, but it’s hard to figure out what it is that’s happening. People are driving around while others start running to the middle of the road… There is something very untouchable that appears in a single still and it’s hard to place it.

In my earlier work; “LITHOS-MAGNES” I also used this ‘now’ moment by placing a piece of rock symbolizing the earth we walk on to a tiny music box at the back side of the paper cutout/drawing. Having glued a magnet to both items, so that they hold on to each other, and therefor  putting the focus on that ‘in-between’ area or space. Putting the focus on there, there where there’s a tension.



A selection of video stills printed on 300 gram Biotoop paper in A4 format.

Medium: acrylic & water-based paint, red thread, steel pins and paper cutting.

Work in progress | Belinda Claushuis | August 2017

” 11:51:51 “
close-up – screenshot 11:51:51
” 11:53:05 ” – In this screenshot I’ve pulled out the people who are looking at the CCTV camera. I’m seeing that they, as they are experiencing the trembling are now not only aware of the direct space around them but are thinking about who else is looking at them as they, in this shot, hold up their phones and make signs towards the camera. Another step into the awareness so-to-speak.
close-up 11:53:05
” 11:51:23 ” – In this shot people try to escape by keep on driving their motorcycles. The two forms that are cut out and then replaced are painted gold. They are two big birds who are flying above the street and thé only ones who are not connected to the ground, because they’re in the air during the trembling. For me, this symbolizes that they are very much so connected with the earth as they are the ones who Only show instinct and therefor are more part of thé , let’s say; direct circle. – The difference between us humans on the ground and our feathered friends up in the air, this, during and at the same time.
” 11:51:30 “
” 11:51:43 “
” 11:51:43 ” #2
close-up – screenshot 11:51:43 #2
close-up – screenshot 11:51:43 #2
” 11:52:00 “
close-up – screenshot 11:52:00
close-up – screenshot 11:52:00
” 11:51:17 ” – This is in the middle of the actual third/fourth second that the camera is shaking. It’s thé moment the trembling of the earth has started. In this screenshot the people are in the middle of experiencing the greater force But, this screenshot shows that nothing strange is happening… For me it shows that it takes time for people to step out of their own zone. It takes time for people to be fully connected to the earth…
” 11:52:11 ” – Pulling out the people who are touching the ground or trying to sit down as their instinct tells them to do. This, while others are standing. Using a second print of the same shot, cutting out those that ‘stand-out’ and putting them back into the screen with steel pins. Giving them that ‘in-between-space’.
close-up – screenshot 11:52:11
” 11:54:52 “
close-up – screenshot 11:54:52
close-up screenshot 11:51:55
” 11:53:13 & 11:53:09 “
” 11:53:13 & 11:53:09 ” – In this piece I’ve used two screenshots having four seconds in-between. The person who sits down, and barely moves, is in my point of view giving in and letting it happen. He is the only one in all of my footage who is the most calm and ‘accepts’ the situation by touching the ground and giving in to the biggest force.
close-up – screenshot 11:53:09


Work in progress | Belinda Claushuis | August 2017


2 Replies to ““MOTUS””

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s