fear makes the wolf (bigger than he is)



“It’s a wolf, but a bit humane, similarly to when I saw that Harry Potter movie… This is so much better than what I drew myself. I draw it and I try to depict it like that, but I don’t succeed. And that’s so frustrating. Also for the people I want to show it to, like: Look, this is what I see, this is what grabs me…”

Before Caro was diagnosed with epilepsy, she was a troublesome child, because she felt unsafe and this made her angry. “I’ve been standing in a corner so many times.” Still, it is difficult for people around her to realise what is the matter with Caro. While she was working with us, Caro turned 18 and got birthday cards, saying, “Hurray, go get your driving license!” That hurts, because epilepsy will prevent you from driving. What if you would be ‘gone’ briefly and hit someone. Her family tends to forget she has it, because it is not visible from the outside. Thanks to her medication she only gets fits during the night.

Caro’s absences have felt like a wolf since early childhood. A wolf that she can see approaching in her peripheral vision and that she can hear more specifically: it breathes heavily down her neck. Caro attends a graphic school in Utrecht and there she has often tried to draw her wolf, but “I can’t capture him. And those eyes, I can’t look away. He resembles the werewolf in Harry Potter, and also slightly looks like Gollum in the Lord of the Rings.” As a child she has had absences during the day, which she could sometimes breathe her way out of when she held onto the table and focused herself. Those were also the times when she would be punished for not taking part in class activities. No, of course, she was preoccupied… But because she also feels ashamed, she didn’t say what was wrong and got angry instead.

Animator Bobby started looking for the wolf, together with Caro. They worked with Pinterest a lot, in an endless exchange of pictures. “Is this it?” “Almost, but it should be red…” Bobby has shown Caro dozens of (horror) films. We visited the wolves in Artis Zoo at the first Monday of the month. That’s when the air-raid alarm is tested, and the wolves all howl in unison. Really. The howling comes from a deep, deep within.

In the film Fear makes the wolf (4,5 minutes) Caro has visualised her absences with images she assembled from films, horror books and music. Together with Bobby, she turned those into a clip and a poster.

Caro’s film ends with Harry Potter asking Dumbledore: “Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?” “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry”, replies Dumbledore from a different reality, “but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

Click the button below to see Caro’s VR space!