Outside Amsterdam's Schipol airport, plane spotters wait by the runway for a glimpse of their favorite aircraft.
Inside the airport's mortuary, undertaker Theo prepares the recently deceased for their final flights home.
Empire: Cradle presents two separate films united by a single soundtrack.
As the seconds tick by, you decide which you will watch and which you will ignore.

Schiphol Airport handles 1100 flights on average per day.

Of those flights, 6 to 7 planes are carrying the body of a deceased person. A great number of these deceased people were born in former Dutch colonies, and are now returning to the countries of their birth for final burial.

Within the borders of the Netherlands, people from former Dutch colonies and/or "overseas territories" like Suriname, Indonesia and The Antilles make up about 5.5% of the total population. Other notable immigrant groups include Turkish and Moroccan "guest workers" - many of whom came to The Netherlands in the decades after WWII to take on low-wage jobs - and Korean adoptees. These days, due to stricter asylum and family migration rules, intra-European migrants make up the fastest-growing immigrant population in the Netherlands.

Absorbing, and consequently rearranging, immigrant populations (from former colonies or otherwise) around cities in the Netherlands has long been a favorite hobby of Dutch engineers and city planners. Other typical Dutch hobbies include ice skating, building canals and watching through binoculars as planes take off and leave from Schiphol Airport.

The original video installation Empire: Cradle was made and exhibited in January 2012 during the 2011-2012 Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (SMBA)/ CBK Zuidoost BijlmAIR residency. The project received support from the Mondriaan Fund. Johan Lagerwerf provided production assistance and Matt Dougherty created the music. A prototype web adaptation of the installation won the Participants' Choice Award at the January 2013 POV Hackathon.


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