Renzo Martens

Since a few years, Renzo Martens (1973) has been working on a series of films that try and reveal the world as a spectators paradise. Episode 1, the first part of that series, is the documentation of Martens’ activities in Chechnya. It was first shown at Galerie Fons Welters in 2003. Episode 3, also known as ‘Enjoy Poverty’ after the main prop in the film, is set in the Congo. Deep in the interiors of this ravaged counrty, amidst ethnic war and relentless economic exploitation, Martens sets up an emancipation program that teaches the hapless plantation workers how to benefit from their primary capital resource: poverty. The project was bound to fail. Nevertheless, the piece was the opening film of the Amsterdam IDFA festival in 2008. Since, it was exhibited and screened at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels, Kunsthaus Graz, Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern, and the New Museum. The piece was awarded one of 2010 Flanders Culture Prizes. Martens is currently working on Episode 2 and some other things, too.