Private Project

Street Life

Street Life is part of The Essential. The Essential is all about the essence of humanity. Artists Martin and Inge Riebeek always centre ‘the encounter’ in their work. The last years the artists travelled around the world creating more than 450 video portraits of ordinary people. Martin and Inge ask people about the essence of their lives. The Essential is an ode to the diversity of human kind.

In Street Life we hear stories of persistence, disaster and hard choices in life. Eight totally different people from all over the world open up to us and share their hardships, and the way they cope. We get a rare view into their lives and let us reflect on our own.

  • Martin Riebeek
  • Inge Riebeek
  • Tobias Mathijsen
  • martin Riebeek
  • Inge Riebeek
  • Martin Riebeek
  • Inge Riebeek
  • Paulien Mandos
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    July 1, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Argentina, Belgium, Hong Kong, Hungary, Kenya, Mexico, Ukraine, United States
  • Language:
    Chinese, English, French, Hungarian, Spanish, Swahili, Ukrainian
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Martin Riebeek, Inge Riebeek, Tobias Mathijsen

Martin Riebeek (1957 Haarlem) studied contemporary art (monumental art and painting) at AKV|St. Joost (1985-1990). Inge Riebeek (1964 Wageningen) specialized in sculpting and ceramics at AKV|St. Joost (1982-1987).

Martin and Inge have been working together since 2001. In their work they have always focussed on creating encounters, to connect people to one another. They created several art works in public space and started to integrate audio visual elements in their work. In 2010 the collection of portraits for The Essential started.

The Essential is an ode to the diversity of the individual. The short films touch and relate to everyone because they let us see our loved ones, neighbours, and colleagues. They let us see each other. The Essential shows ordinary people without any judgement. They enhance our empathic qualities.

The artists created a unique format for the way these short portraits (1 to 4 minutes) are made. It is all about the virtual encounter. They film the testimonies in one take, a monologue where the characters walk up to the camera and then disappear after they have told us their story. Their choice to participate in The Essential is a very conscious and intense choice.

The ultimate result of this project would be if people identify The Essential as the essence of life. The Essential should be an icon, filmed portraits for eternity. Each portrait takes the viewer closer to reality. We are living in confusing times, an important era where all facets of life are moving and changing. Martin and Inge want to document and explore this era with The Essential.

So far they have created more than 450 portraits in 18 countries. These portraits are disclosed through exhibitions in several museums, presentations at galleries of their commissioners like AkzoNobel, online exhibitions, and independent short films.

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