“Combi ticket”, 2019

  • Medium: plexi
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Between 2011 and 2014, Karl Philips worked on an ambitious project that resulted in the ex-perimental film and installation ‘7 Square Metres’. In this project, he explores the question of whether there is still such a thing as the underground. In a globalised world where engage-ment is viewed with a certain irony, in times of crisis when art has to redefine itself, there is a yearning for people with guts and idealism. 7 Square Metres is a boyish secret, a clandestine action, an idealistic act of resistance and, at the same time, one of the most ambitious pro-jects Karl Philips has ever undertaken. 7 Square Metres is based on a site-specific action at the 2011 Pukkelpop Festival. Founded in 1985 as a grassroots event, it has since grown into a corporate-funded monolith, prioritising rules and conformity over rebellion and community. Philips and his team wanted to “hack” the festival by occupying a piece of land. They buried a camper van during a secret nighttime operation in the field where the festival would take place four months later. The process required a team of more than 30 people, as well as several months of training and practice excavations. The plan was to resurrect the trailer on the second day of the Pukkelpop festival. But that never happened. A thunderstorm struck on the scheduled date, killing five people and injuring 140. The festival was cancelled and Philips’ project was scrapped.

Courtesy of private collectors


Karl Philips is an emerging young Belgian artist for whom a mild kind of activism is inextricably linked to his work.