Sculpting Fear

Here we are. We crossed the end. There is an app for everything, for the weather forecast, for the next date, for controlling the pulse, for the way home, for counting the steps. Nobody needs to get lost anymore. Nobody needs to get wet. Nobody needs to be alone. Nobody needs to know. Everything is under control. All data – big or small – are in the cloud. Everything is transparent yet nothing can be seen.

Sculpting Fear consists of two related yet separate parts: a performance (for the stage) and a public intervention (for the streets of a city). Both are complementary elements that tackle different aspects of the matter.


We live in a time of scenarios and simulations. In an increasingly complex world we are asking for transparency, for clarification and simplicity. We are afraid of what we don’t know, of what we don’t see. We look away from what is in front of our very eyes since we are facing the black mirror of the screen. It is the fear of the unknown, of the stranger, of the Other, of the future that makes us shiver. In this project Julian Hetzel highlights the dark side of the human condition while his performers explore the physicality of fear.

Sculpting Fear is a highly visual piece that uses ephemeral structures in order to give shape to the formless. A starting point for the performance is the omnipresent but invisible data cloud. The concept of the cloud links aspects from religion, technology and nature. Hetzel generates storms and works with weather conditions towards primal fear in a vaporized scenography. Sculpting fear takes the spectator where all colors agree – in the dark.


In the public interventions Hetzel creates a rupture in the accelerated flow of the city life. Please take a look at the interventions page.




STILL – The Economy of Waiting

An interpassive performative installation on waiting.

STILL is a performative installation about time. Housed inside an array of ten shipping containers placed on a public square, the installation is open to the public up to eight hours per day. It is a 1:1 tour through a museum-like setting. Five rooms with five different installations, performative situations and tableaux vivants are experienced by the spectator in their very own pace.

The interior is carefully furnished with carpeting, seating accommodations, overhead lighting and wallpaper. It sounds, smells and tastes like the world out there. It is populated by creatures very similar to the people outside of the container – one is in an interim realm. There is nothing to do here except waiting. Waiting, the provocative alternative plan to the daily rat race turns out to be highly diversified: the visitors travel through the spaces, from one time island to the next. STILL  is a museum, a waiting-room, a time-machine, a landscape, an encounter.

STILL is a project about the relation between waiting and labour. Hetzel’s interest in the current transformation of labour into occupation and in waiting as a daily performance in urban life marks the point of departure for this artwork. These two seemingly contradicting concepts, labour and waiting, are juxtaposed in STILL. Labour is usually seen as a dynamic activity. Waiting feels static and is yet a state of transition; between not-yet and no longer. It is the no man’s land between thinking and action. Waiting is a specific form of being in time. By taking his time, Hetzel creates a slowed universe that stays connected with the reality outside of the thin walls of the containers.

The exposed squandering of time is his response to accelerated modes of production. It is an antithesis to a capitalized reality where all processes seek to be optimized, where efficiency is the most relevant maxim. While the moment of crisis has become a sustained state and as such the normal condition, he searches for new systems of value. STILL is an invitation to waste time in a meaningful way.

Obstacle – Sculpting Fear

Public Intervention


A series of public interventions that create a rupture in the accelerated flow of the city life. They proposes a temporary counter model by creating an interference through standstill. Obstacle is based on a very simple proposition: people lying on the floor.

With a group of about 10 local performers a series of images, body arrangements and compositions are created in the public space. These images are a challenge for the security and the public order since they generates an obstacle within the pulse of functional streets. Idleness, standstill and deliberate collapse are responses to progress, growth and acceleration. Everything is under control.

* IF YOU LIE DOWN YOU CAN’T FALL ANYMORE. A link to a “review” by Nienke Scholts that was written within the framework of Between Realities that is part of Platform Scenography and participated at Prague Quadriennial in June 2015.

The Benefactor

The Benefactor is a project about success and hunger. It is a lecture- performance on gifts, investments, parasitism and the state of the arts – developed and performed by Julian Hetzel.

“First of all, I support this new cabinet. But I disagree with them on one account: we cannot cut arts funding . Rather, we should raise its budget. But to pay for the arts’ budget, we should first  cut back on development aid!” — Frits Bolkestein

Inspired by this statement by Dutch politician Frits Bolkestein, which refers to the arts funding cuts in the Netherlands, Julian Hetzel developed a project about the radical alternative use of cultural money. He donated his entire project budget to a starving child in Africa, as a form of a child-sponsorship. Simultaneously he framed his donation, a daily transfer of one euro, as a piece of art, as a “durational intercontinental performance of 2000 days”. Though it is a transaction of unequal value, it is of great benefit to all parties involved. As such, Julian Hetzel explores the thin line between life and art and raises questions about the ethics of success in our society.

How to turn development aid into art?
How to turn art into development aid?
How to develop art?
How to turn?