Floris Kaayk (born 1982) is a Dutch digital artist. He grew up in Tiel as the son of artist couple Coen and Guusje Kaayk. Kaayk graduated summa cum laude from the animation department of AKV St. Joost academy of Art and Design in Breda, and gained a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam. His work focuses on futuristic concepts and fantasies, and visualises technological progress, sometimes by demonstrating its advantages and at other times by presenting negative consequences.
Kaayk first became known to a wider audience with his fictional ‘semidocumentaries’ The Order Electrus and Metalosis Maligna. His animated films have received several international awards. In 2011, The Origin of Creatures was selected as the Dutch entry for the Academy Awards in the Best Animated Short Film category. In that same year, Kaayk made headlines with a number of social media videos posted on the weblog of his alter ego, Jarno Smeets, who claimed to be the first human able to ‘fly like a bird’. International television stations used the images in their news programme. In March 2012, Kaayk revealed on the popular Dutch TV show De Wereld Draait Door that it was all fiction: Jarno’s story was an art project undertaken in collaboration with production company Revolver Media and public-service broadcaster NTR.
Another project was Rayfish Footwear (2012), a fictitious company and web shop that invited people to ‘grow’ their own personalised sneakers using genetically modified stingray leather. A carefully prepared narrative was distributed via various media platforms, where it proved sufficiently credible for a loyal group of followers, who were eventually disappointed when the truth was revealed.
The experimental online project The Modular Body (2016) visualises a future where a prototype of the human body has been designed and created using 3D printing and cell culture technologies. The videos featuring the central character ‘Oscar’ – a prototype ‘Modular Man’ made up of various self-assembly modules – are frighteningly realistic. In this project, Kaayk was clear about the fictitious nature of the images from the start while leaving room for viewers’ own interpretations and beliefs.
In 2014, Kaayk won the de Volkskrant Visual Arts Prize for his animated films and semidocumentaries. In 2016, his video for the song Witch Doctor by Dutch alternative rock band De Staat received numerous prizes, including a UK Music Video Award, an Edison Award, and a European Music Video Award. In 2016, The Modular Body won a Golden Calf Award at the Netherlands Film Festival in the ‘Best Interactive Work’ category. In 2017 Kaayk received the Witteveen+Bos award for Art+Technology for his complete oeuvre. In 2012 he was named Creative City Ambassador by the City of The Hague, and in 2016 he was appointed Fellow of HKU University of the Arts Utrecht and Fellow of Next Nature Network.
- "Interview met Floris Kaayk n.a.v. de inzending van The Origin of Creatures voor de Oscaruitreiking". TV Gelderland. 20 October 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- "Human Birdwings, weblog of Jarno Smeets". Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Interview met liegende Hollander Floris Kaayk alias 'Jarno Smeets'". Humo. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- Van Mensvoort, Koert (19 December 2012). "The Rise and Fall or Rayfish Footwear". Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- "Videokunstenaar overtuigt twijfelende jury Volkskrant Beeldende Kunst Prijs". de Volkskrant. 13 April 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- "Webfilm: Het cyborg-darwinisme van Floris Kaayk". De Filmkrant. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- "Spelen met de werkelijkheid: Floris Kaayk over 'The Modular Body". VPRO. 9 April 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- "Sci-Fi Vlog Tells an Anatomically Strange Story of Body Parts". Vice magazine. 15 April 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- "Floris Kaayk wint Kunst+Techniek-prijs 2017". Kunsttechniekprijs.nl. 22 September 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2018.