Without You


Without You is an auditory, live installation that takes place in a dark room the size of a telephone box, as well as on a (varying) external location. Via a telephone connection, contact is made with the visitor. The connection is one-sided and for the duration of the conversation – determined by the visitor – a live report is made of what happens in an (outside) world without him/her. This report by the maker passes from a true-to-life description of her environment, via ambient sounds to the point where the visitor only hears how she actively participates in life around her on the other side of the line.



Studio K, KANAL – Centre Pompidou

For Studio K (the webradio of Kanal – Centre Pompidou) the performance was turned into a radio programme consisting of four episodes. During one day, in the morning, the afternoon, the evening and at night Rita Hoofwijk walked the streets of Brussels. She returned with a notebook and a recorder filled with images to listen to, through a live mix in the studio. 


“For the specific context of the Beyond the Black Box festival, I wanted to make an installation that takes place in a black box and on location at the same time. An inspiration for this was a telephone booth with a ‘wind telephone’. It is located in Japan and was installed there after the tsunami in 2011. The use of this disconnected phone offers a unique way of dealing with grief. The spoken words are brought to the absent other through the wind. For this installation I wondered what it would be like to use this telephone, and to listen in on the other side of the line. “

Domain for Art Criticism

Hoofwijk describes a world that continues – also without me. Her returning ‘without you’ is like a spell that confirms my temporality. But while Hoofwijk keeps speaking about where I’m not, I am constantly there. Strangely enough, she makes me more present in my absence.
While I’m hiding in my black box, Hoofwijk meets coincidence. She walks into shops, stands in line for a club, takes a picture of a tourist… I am always her secret listener. The passers-by she describes become performers in a location performance with / without me.
In Without You I cannot intervene or do anything, I’m completely anonymous and yet I’m central to this performance. Because although Hoofwijk cannot see or hear me, I am still the one who determines the time we share together. For a moment time seems to be mine.

Lies Mensink | Apr 7 2020

Read the full text here (Dutch).


Missing presupposes an object or subject of lacking. To be without yourself sounds like a contradiction in terms. The performance Without You plays with this reversal.
Although at first sight a listening phone seems to be a one-way communication between the performer and the visitor, it does not feel that way. After all, the narrative always appeals to me as a listener. Maybe listening is the essence of meeting the other.

Siebren Nachtergaele | Apr 7 2020

Read the full text here (Dutch)

In Without You Rita Hoofwijk takes her audience one by one over the phone into a reality in which the spectator is absent, but is described what happens on the other end of the line. In my case/feeling, the absentee did not become myself, but someone else. It is that it felt exactly like this when my husband passed away years ago: the world kept turning, he would continue to watch behind the scenes. Something like that. In any case I talked to him all these years. How much more personal can a performance be?

Mia Vaerman | Apr 7 2020

Read the full text here (Dutch)

In collaboration

Breg Horemans, Vinny Jones, Tim Bogaerts, David Weber-Krebs, Guy Gypens, Magali Halter, SoAP Maastricht, Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond, KANAL-Centre Pompidou


2020  5 – 8 Feb  Beyond the Black Box, de Brakke Grond, Amsterdam (NL)

2021  4 – 7 Feb  Studio K, KANAL – Centre Pompidou, Brussels (BE)

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