The Last Man on Earth Calling Beetsterzwaag (2011)

In this video a series of images of suburban streets and houses can be seen. Subtly the camera zooms in and out of the images, slowly moving the viewer towards windows and interiors of the houses. The dialing tone of phone can be heard, then a voice starts to speak: "2X2L calling CQ. Isn't there anyone on the air? Isn't there anyone on the air? Isn't there.... anyone?". A woman answers, she tries to understand and communicate with the voice. She switches to English and asks confused what the person wants from her and whether he needs help. The moment the she hangs up the phone, a sound is heard that one can identify as coming from skype.

What sounds like a desperate call for contact, is a prerecorded fragment, continuously looped. The recording is not contemporary, it sounds tinny and together with the content it is reminiscent of old communication networks. Other numbers are dialed and similar conversations unfold. The voice continues to repeat the same sentences, without adjusting to either the phone calls being made or the people speaking on the phone. This process is repeated over and over.

The images present a typically Dutch suburban village. The weather is sunny and all the gardens are nicely trimmed. In most pictures there are flat elements laid on top of the image; arrows, lines running over the streets and little texts; indications that the source of these images is google-streetview. Not a person is visible in the images, though of traces of people are found in every picture: a children’s bike left on the street, laundry hanging out to dry, the door of car left open, remnants of a party. The village presents itself as an uncannily orderly place, the kind of typical set for a clichéd suburban horror movie. The use of small zooms in the image emphasize cinematic elements but also point to surprisingly revealing look into the private life of the inhabitants.