In Waking Hours

With the publication of the Ophthalmographia in 1632, the Amsterdam physician Vopiscus Fortunatus Plempius sheds new light on the age-old question of how seeing works. His answer is an invitation to experiment: Enter with me into a darkened room and prepare the eye of a freshly slaughtered cow. He emphasizes that anyone may carry out this experiment, at home, "demanding little effort and expense." “And you, standing in the darkened room, behind the eye, shall see a painting that perfectly represents all objects from the outside world,” promises Plempius. In the short film In Waking Hours we see historian Katrien Vanagt - who studied the Latin writings of this Plempius - cloaked in the skin of a 21st-century disciple of Plempius. Her cousin, filmmaker Sarah Vanagt, is there and captures how this modern "Plempia" meticulously follows her teacher's instructions. Thus, in a dark kitchen in Brussels, they become witnesses at the birth of images upon the eye.

Directed by Sarah Vanagt & Katrien Vanagt

Camera : Artur Castro Freire / assisted by Son Doan

Editing : Effi Weiss

Sound recording : Nina de Vroome

Sound design and mix : Philippe Ciompi

Historical research : Katrien Vanagt

Scientific support & advice: Prof. Paul Simoens, Department of Morphology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University

Producer : Sarah Vanagt / Balthasar

With the support of

Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF)

Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie (VGC)

Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)

Huygens ING – KNAW (The Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts and Sciences)

Descartes Centre, for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, Utrecht

Argos Centre for Arts and Media, Brussels

Cinematek Brussels