Vermeir & Heiremans

In their recent film Masquerade, a 51min ‘factual-fiction reportage’, a TV-reporter tells the story of the protested IPO of Art House Index in Istanbul. While the reporter is addressing the camera, what appears to be a reconstruction of the ‘Initial Public Offering’ is taking place in the background. But then it all starts going wrong again! Is the audience witnessing an insider-sales in an auction house, a market crash in a trading pit or is it a hearing in a courtroom, one that tries to unveil the intricate dynamics of a confidence game?

Masquerade addresses a specific intersection of the contemporary art and finance markets, through the filter of Melville’s novel The Confidence Man: His Masquerade (1857) as the structure for its episodic narration. The film takes its name from the subtitle of Melville’s novel. In their film Vermeir & Heiremans present the financial market as the ‘mise en scene’ and a leading character of the narrative.

Next to a single screen version of Masquerade, the artists also created a live ‘installation version’ of their film, in which the financial market influences the real-time ‘cutting’ of the film. The actual performance of AHI–, showing the index going up or down in ‘real time’, triggers a switch between two timelines, one of which shows the fully post-produced ‘finished’ film while the other captures variations, rehearsals and outtakes. The artists have no control over the ‘editing’ of Masquerade, the markets creating a ‘unique’ moment in time as it is statistically highly improbable the audience will ever get to see the same combinations twice.

More information on the installation

Preview single screen version



HD video, 55’, sound & colour, Belgium, 2015

Inaugural presentation: 2015

Production: LIMITED EDITIONS vzw
Executive production: JUBILEE vzw
Co-production: Bernaerts Auctioneers (Antwerp), 4th Dojima River Biennale (Osaka), Goldsmiths, University of London, 13th Istanbul Biennial, Musea Brugge, Stroom Den Haag, Triennale Brugge 2015, V2_Institute for the Unstable Media (Rotterdam)

Supported by Flemish Audiovisual Fund (Filmlab) and the Flemish Community

TV Reporter: Andrea Phillips
Musician/Director/Producer: Michael Schmid
Frank Goodman, Market Watcher: Werner Van Steen
Artist duo: Vermeir & Heiremans
Character clusters:
Mon Bernaerts, Philip Brackx, Hans Bruysinck, Elien Hanselaer, Nav Haq, Liliane Keersmaeker, Heike Langsdorf, Karlijn Sileghem, Peter Sileghem, Fatos Ustek, Sun-Mee Vanpanteghem, Werner Van Steen, Mi You

and about a hundred Extras recruited by ‘In the Picture’

Concept, Scenario & Direction: Vermeir & Heiremans
Camera 1: Amir Borenstein
Camera 2: Katleen Vermeir
Camera 3: Yishai Gassenbauer
Sound/ Bruitage: Justin Bennett
Edit & Effects: Vermeir & Heiremans / Borenstein
Production: Katrien Reist, Marjolein van der Boon, Reintje Daans
Set Design: Dieter Leysen, Ciel Grommen
Set Construction: Gaia Carabillo, Louis Philippe
Light: Ludo Engels, Jeroen Wuyts
Costume: Mieja Hollevoet, Lieve Meeussen, Fauve Ryckebusch
Legal advice: Sari Depreeuw
Financial Advice: Peter Sileghem, Werner Van Steen
Still photography: Michael De Lausnay