Twin sisters sue each other for plagiarism
The trial against each other has started for twin sisters Tatum and Bodine Hekkert. By having similar looks, interests and academic pursuits, the sisters hold one another accountable for lifelong plagiarism. Their claim is the same, one of them has to change their appearance and their life choices so that they can live an individual life. The verdict has yet to come.
Don’t worry, you’re not going crazy. You are looking at stills from our graduation films ‘Plek voor 1’ (Place for one). The film installation consists of two almost identical films in mirrored settings. In the films, we sue each other for plagiarism and portray our unfulfilled desire to be seen as an individual while also having a twin identity. This duality does not only reflect twin struggles, but also that of the capitalistic western society we live in. Given this, the films provide a broader critique on how we (as society) view individuality, ownership, independence and manufacturability.
A month ago, was the first time we got to share our film installation with a bigger audience during the WDKA graduation show. After months of working in our own academic bubble, we could finally put it out in the open. As an artist, it is easy to get caught up in what you make, so it was refreshing to hear the reactions and feedback by people who got to see it for the first time. Next to that, it can bring new opportunities to the table.
So let us introduce ourselves to you. We are Tatum & Bodine Hekkert, a creative team that plays with confusion and identity. We both studied at the Willem de Kooning Academy, with a bachelor in Advertising and a minor in Visual Culture.
‘We began wondering where this drive of wanting to be seen as an individual came from and what it means to us.’
At the beginning of our study, we’ve unconsciously made the decision not to ‘show’ our twin ship. Meaning not sitting next to each other in class and working separately. When we ended up making the same choice for our minor, we began wondering where this drive of wanting to be seen as an individual came from and what it means to us. We started using the fascination and confusion people experience when they see identical twins, as a tool in our work.
Shaping the idea of the film installation, we wanted to disrupt people by creating a satirical and absurdist setting, while opening up about real events in our life. We sketched out every detail. From the minimalistic studio scenery, the ring on our finger, the copied freckle, to the actors and the audio playing.
These cinematic elements all add to the suspension of disbelief. A terminology described as “events that are not possible in reality but are accepted as “possible” within the fictional universe in which the story takes place’’.
To add to the duality in our film, we wanted to be ‘defended in court’ by identical twins who practice the same profession as well. Identical twins Juliet & Jocelyn Baah take on this roll. Jocelyn, the oldest, is defending Tatum, who is also born first (7 minutes earlier than Bodine) while Bodine is being defended by Juliet, the youngest.
‘The use of plagiarism in our story is a symbolic way to emphasize the obsession we and society have with ownership.’
As twins, we’ve always had a bit of a struggle with having to be original or unique. Memes, inspirational quotes or talks about how “there’s only one you” would not feel relatable to us. Nevertheless, we find ourselves trying to prove our ‘uniqueness’ when we are being confronted with ‘looking alike’ and the prejudgments that go along with it. Such as not being independent enough or being too reliant on one another.
We hope that this film and our future work will make people aware of these contradictions and encourage us all to rethink how we’ll respond to them.
Curious to see the full film and more upcoming projects? Keep an eye on our Instagram @tatumbodine
Written by: Tatum & Bodine Hekkert
Role: Alumni/Creative Team
School: Willem de Kooning Academy
Camera: Niels Houben
Light & Sound: Jur Närring
Styling & Hair: Mariëlle Kuin
Make-up Artist: Melissa Knemeijer
Advocate Juliet: Juliet Baah
Advocate Jocelyn: Jocelyn Baah