donderdag 22 december 2016

Psss... impressssion

Pshit impression

I was impressed by the fact that there was to be a printing party at the haunt of the Buktapaktop in Brussels some weeks ago... that is my cup of tea I thought and proceeded to consider what I might contribute. In the past I had been somewhat of a terror in the printroom, and the somewhat anguished head printer opted I may be considered somewhat of an artist, but a printer? No.
I ad been too far influenced by alternative mindsets to discipline myself enough to produce a decent run of prints that were of comparative quality and competence... I loved the process to be sure, but found it immensely difficult to re-produce, repeat and refrain from adding touches, well, modifications, additions, variations... 
I had been impressed by a print made by Dieter Roth sometime in the seventies I presume, since it was a key reason for my choosing printmaking as a major when entering the hallowed halls of the academic pursuit of artistry... it was a chocolate praline that had been printed... as simple as that. It had not been inked up, it had not been dissected, but just tucked in under the blankets of an unsuspecting etching press and rolled on through (obviously with some modification of the pressure, being slightly more lumpy than a copper plate. The result was spectacular, the foul wrapper had become a chinese bird, sporting both interior and exterior colours, stuck chine-collé style to a lengthy smear of sienna and earth-brown hues, first widening and them tapering to a slight wisp of conté it seemed... a masterpiece of simplicity.

Of course it fit in with his conceptual series concerning chocolate and the consumption of... by humans or fungi as it were, but I had taken this face value and began to churn all sorts of objects through the robust but also delicate Charles brand presses at the school... to the dismay of the studio head and technical assistants. The blankets suffered terribly and had to be prematurely replaced... the pin-up wallspace had been somewhat taken over by my ‘etudes’ in junk composition and the junk itself was beginning to pile up in what otherwise was a very neatly run printshop... I even took to hanging up some composition for the lack of space... one was a large panel festooned with found footage as it were, having recuperated bales of shredded documents from nearby banks, pressed in between plates of plastic with some other junk added, dripping charbonnel that couldn’t really dry in those circumstances... anyway, a mess.

Even with all my efforts I never really got to the simple essence of that one bon-bon that had met with unyielding pressure... and so, these many years later I found this proposal of a “Imprimature sans rime ni raison” by Alan Amate at the Buktapaktop the perfect opportunity to revisit this failed attempt at simple greatness... Alas, it was again to end up in disaster...

I had envisioned to participate in the preparatory session slated for the weekend preceding the official launch... to do a few tests as a rationally inclined person might do. We were running late and while i a supermarket I grabbed some chocolate somethings in a see-through Perspex box... they were wrapped in a golden foil, which was what I wanted... But in the end we never made it to Brussels and so the box of chocs lay around in the car for a week...

By the time the public print-run rolled around I was already busy again with other things but knew I had the Perspex box in the car... so decided to participate as planned... When we got there quite a few people were already very busy and the walls were already quite full of all sorts of printwork... the kind that I could relate to: not one print was the same as the other... everyone was having fun trying out things, collaborating on pieces and just plain being experimentalist sort of like... just about the last thing you wanted in a tight run printroom with a serious run to be done by yesterday...















red mangle (remember mangelware?)



I had brought my little red mangle especially... I thought it too much to expect to be able to use the gleaming etching press with it’s pristine blankets... memories of the admonishment I got in school were to blame... but all the well, because my chocolates were in fact round spheres... I prepared everything on a low table and stool, opened the Perspex box and was called to aide someone to arrange letters and fix them in the proofpress nearby... this obviously took a while, and admittedly I enjoyed doing it, for it had been a while... (ah those days when we produced our own posters...) anyway, by the time I got back someone (more than one surely...) had eaten all but three of the round chocolate elairs... zut alors! Luckily I had a few near the stove to heat up before the impression, otherwise I would have nothing at all.
 sore eyewear








Anyway, the first impression came out shitty... really, it looked like shit, literally, since it was a sort of choc-o-nuts concoction and was smeared Rorschach-like in two directions, reminding, as one proud member-father noted, of his still recent chore of cleaning up small children... thus far from the elegant ‘extended praline’ I was hoping for... same goes for the next and the next, encased in envelopes specially printed on the proof press with a variation of the letters oeuf as further reference to a chocolate egg once molten in a back pocket in Africa (that is another story)...


















So after all these years considering doing what I had just done, it seemed a bit of an anticlimactic dud... with a thud. Even hanging next to other creations on the washing line did not even make it worse, no sense in comparing or contrasting, conceptualizing or compounding an already shitty situation... only fungi perhaps could still turn this rather fecal looking composition into something curiously colourful... so, as too Dieter Roth liked to extend the life of his work by allowing degenerate bacteria to swarm across his work, so too I thought this might be a solution... but by the time I got back someone had already committed the work to the garbage, and so any further development in discoloration would have to occur anonymously somewhere in a waste-disposal plant.


Pshit!


maandag 28 november 2016

EtcIV



While the main museum was festooned with paying VIP revelers, being herded around by vetted art-specialists, the foyer was sort of occupied by a more eager crew of performance oriented people... My kind of people... No big fuss, speeches or rigmarole, but just plain performance and video... The beginning was sort of a mystery since the " Holzweg" *was smaller than thought, envisioned, considered... But if fact it became just as majestic as the great wall, only this one meandered in matchbox size throughout the proceedings.

















(‘woodwork’, Ursula Gaisbauer & Adrien Tirtiaux, * ‘lumber road or way’ would be closer to holzweg, a road leading nowhere in a forest...makes it more poetic...)

Screenings by Provost and Laric, on the far side a banquet... hmm...
Minja Gu then proceeded to engulf us with scented wafts from various pots in which she had poured hard liquor, in fact she was releasing the spirit in the spirits and in the end the cookery was all drank but not drunk... Interesting.

Video with slightly too weak a sound to actually communicate with the vegetables by Laure Prouvost...

When entering I had been attracted immediately to a sumptuous banquet set for us... Felt like a continuation of the Buktabanket, but was admonished by a friendly lady to refrain from my base tendencies to snatch a bite and leave the table be until it was time... Well now the time came and became apparent... The lovely lady was in fact an amalgam of three or more personages (as well as the artist herself, Ariane Loze) that were converse politely during this banquet of reflective identities... She played the roles, dressed the consumes, propped the props, decoration, arranged the lighting, sound and rolled the camera, taking various takes of each setting and being the clap too... (like Duchamp sitting around a table with himself crossed with Goddard, and harking back to “Dinner for One”)


A wondrous mix of activities to watch and be fascinated by, being witness to a creative process which was basically a selfie-movie but much more than that. The video version
projected on the wall was a finished self-contained version shot in controlled circumstances, while this was part of a chaotic interaction between various actions and not so easy to keep on track... But Miss Loze held it together wonderfully and it worked on various levels... Performance in itself, a tad of theatre, construction, installation docu and soap... A momentary wobble created by the appearance of Dara Birnbaum's Wonder Woman on the screen nearby with excessive soundtrack ... But ,Le Banquet, remained a feast for sore eyes...
Hope to see the resulting video at some point, certain that it will be a successful piece of work... Highlight of the evening...






Behind another wall they were painting mineatures in drawing postage stamp size of Belgian Congo collectibles... A strange tableau vivant de nature mort one might say, but perhaps a bit stayed for a performance eve happening, or should have been there from the start instead of presenting it in the middle somewhere... but a mineature reminder of that strange slant in belgian identity, congo... (Tuur & Flip Marinus)




















Another duo though was well placed, two sisters Maika & Inca Garnica taped together with Laptop, beamer and soundbox, projecting written names of spaces while footsteps sounded the spaces rendered and projected to about the general area they might be... We followed suit and even thogh abstract, could join them in their foray about the house... Not bad at all.
Expecting Ria Pacquée to do something perhaps with some recent material (she had just sent some cats from Bangkok - photo-electronically that is...). But she had two video's on offer which I had already seen before, though not on such a screenscale... so always good to encounter on our ramblings...

Ludo Mich on the other hand did expand on earlier work, now donned in bluebeard and assisted by a redbeard ‘ironworks-man’ and former guitar-thrower on electronics - redfaced musicologists, say... though once the yelling started it did remind somewhat of... Well Ludo Mich of course... With bells (glockenspiel) attached...


Had to skedaddle and missed Jankowski, Traianova and Rafman Koord - fluwelen koord... And may just as well hang myself for it, since it was a good evening... There was some promise in the shady silhouettes of Camouflage-krampus-like figures mingling with the crowd - Thumbs up to the young crew that put it all together.
(The young SMAKkers, including Natali Sarisyan, Jeroen Staes, Nadia Bijl, Maud Gyssels, Pepa De Maersschalck)

marathonweek end

 
Saturday
 
I was going to be present on the opening of the cloudknitter story show but didn’t write down the address, thinking it was handelsbeurs wheras in fact it was oude beurs – by the time i figured it I had missed  it so I went along next day early to have a look... and was surprised by the extensive show on offer – more or less encompassing the whole building which had obviously been vacated by the various city administration offices housed there until quite recently... wandering the halls one could enjoy the artwork in an unconventionally easygoing manner, the kind of show I hadn’t seen in a while, ‘expo sauvage’ style but a bit more structured... I preferred not to read up on names and such too much since it was the whole as a whole which seemed more important – a bit like the wall downstairs with postal mail art contributions from around the world, equally sharing the same space without selection on whichever subjective criteria... and maybe that sums up quite well the cloudknitter thing, radio, activity, read and see, sky being the limit or not even... going strong for quite a while now and no reason to stop.





















mailing wall a bit like the one we did for secret archives continued at the HTH
 
Then off to the art-book fair at the academy, which I always enjoy but this time really couldn’t afford any of the goodies on display... pity because I did see some really interesting stuff – but had to be strict with myself – but could breathe some of the atmosphere and listen in on Luc Fierens de-presenting  a L’unità text in the hallway... good for him to keep the battle-cry alive, and hopefully the fair will remain a mainly amateur (as in love of special books) event, while retaining the historical (antique) bookstand too...
 
Pit stop at home and off again
 
To the aptly named second room where Wout Vercammen presented a three-hour show... and wow, again he catches me unawares, unexpecting me again... so to speak. I was by chang re-reading the Pierre Cabanne interviews with Duchamp and the sapect of “even” in the bride stripped bare came to mind – non-sensical? Who nose – but the spacial refash that WV presented had that very Duchampian (duchampion) knack of again turning your attitude a knotch further than you might have imagined... and with nearly nothing than the space itself and a few builders aides such a laser spirit level and blacklight day-glo, a couple of led’s and some crumples aluminum foil... moon landing!
 
Couldn’t stay long cause had reserved for an evening of performance at the Brass in Brussels “crash text” and of course got stuck in heavy traffic (saturdays are as bad as weekday office hours!)
The presentations were good, though somewhat into the theatrical, which is something I like to be wary about – at some stage the performative becomes a theatre piece, especially when performed on a stage, with lighting and microphone – reading, conference and dance... a bit tricky?... but the other pieces were in situ public space, machine room... and as such passable... lighting had a tendency towards the theatrical, and there was quite a bit of mime (obviously proficient in that genre, but a tad too present... the compute dancing screens came close to the performative since the author was sitting there generating the teXt at the time... new-tech versions... I guess so. The only real impromptu textless runaround was by Dialogist-Kantor, a version specially adapted from two (or more) divergent pieces, a constant work in progress and very fitting here too. Bang slam guitar instead of calling names of things and stuff.





















 
Back home to search for a parking space...
 
Sunday
 
Up bright and early for a trip to Wetteren near Ghent. Loods 12 with vieux connaissance Baudouin Oosterlynck presenting his sonore instrumantarium (seen at Peruwelz not so long ago, with some additions) along with Dominique Rappez and Florian Kinques... Whereby Rappez caught my attention with a strange combination of philosophical drawing, painting re-transferred and surface qualities to make the experience one of  reading rather than looking, sort of – not easy to describe.
 
Back towards Antwerp decided to have a look-see at the Chateau d’Ursel in Hingene where a ongoing artistic intervention project was taking place, and we had already missed. Knowingly too early, for we had another gig in the early afternoon, we just chanced it and with excellent result: We came across one of the participants, Gerard Herman, and he offered to give us a small tour in advance of the main offering that afternoon... a very agreeable experience of spooking about the castle and viewing the interventions with a leisurely eye... very becoming, and the small one-figured soccer games table he presented in a small room upstairs a very good intervention indeed, lonely writer’s garret with only a small wall to kick against.
Other works were good too, the nearby mystifying and intriguing presence of Denicolai & Provoost, for instance with calculations stamped – reproduced even on the windows overlooking the park... hmm. Considering the price of a daydream... enjoyed crawling through the barricaded hallway Luc Deleu devised, twisted together beams, making sure no damage is done to the doorframe, cushioned by ‘red jacket’ brochures... referring to the theme and person to which this whole project is dedicated: Emile Verhaeren, who lived just upstream at St. Amands.
Downstairs lots of information on the recent history of this kind of art – one of the curators Vaast C was busy with a journalist and the main hall was filling with guided tourists and conference-goers... time to head out again.
 
(did our familiar duty with coffee and chocolate cake, quite agreeable)
 
Heading for the last venue north of Antwerp, another castle, or rather manor house: Hof Ter Bist, where artists could intervene in & out – a project curated by Nadia Bijl, which was a refreshing look at some basic premises... though concentrated mainly about the manor house it was a wide ranging jaunt through today’s practice while not encumbering too much on the surroundings... works integrated in the existing picture worked well, while inside effectiveness ranged from using mainly the surroundings as well as just plain presentation... including one sound-set...
An agreeable round-about and perhaps the best way to take in all the various offerings... for it is sheer impossible to see all – as opposed to not so long ago when one was glad to find something going on...

maandag 7 november 2016

walkout

Left Nr. 98
A bit early, a bit before eleven, and headed east. Got into my car and joined the thick stream of traffic on the ring road, turning towards Brussels on the main highway south. Things went smoothly... Until the bottleneck towards Waterloo, and I decided to bet off at the next exit, not knowing where it would take me. I sort of got lost in suburbia... Noticed that I crossed the highway I was on twice... Still clogged up and anyway no way to rejoin it... Ended up on a boulevard heading towards the former palace of the colonies and decided to pull up and take a walk in the forest... It has been a long time that I've taken the time to take a walk just for the sake of it. In fact it had been some time that I had taken the time, just like that... It wasn't planned, just came about when the message from Unnoticed Art came up on the screen... Ping!  A suggestion to just walk away... Yes why not says I... So, now walking in the Zoniënwoud I came across a cross. 









Two sticks tied together with a bit of string... Reminding us that we are escapees, having cheated death again this day, this night, this moment in which we are obviously still alive. Alive like the mushrooms abounding around, they seemed to spring from everywhere all of a sudden... Only having noticed because I stopped at the cross... A cross in the forest... Reminded me of a cross I lugged all the way to Finland with the intention to plant it somewhere deep in the forest... But in the end brought it back having not even unpacked it... Though it did see quite a bit of action in it's wrapped state anyhow... But this cross seemed improvised... Kids maybe, emulating the wayside crosses along trunk roads where people had lost their lives, inadvertently, on their way to somewhere... lives cut short through folly or misdemeanour... Or just pure bad luck. Here it seemed more of a mystery, a playful mystery... Knowing that there probably was nothing buried at the spot (or perhaps a hamster?) and surmising it had something to do with the construction further along... A forest abode, a skeleton of branches awaiting a cover of leaves, or tarpaulin to make a kind of yurt or flattened teepee... Down in the gully but not entirely out of sight. 




Mushrooms everywhere, and big ones too... Wondering if I should chance it, but deciding not to pick any... Thinking way back when I was young going mushroom picking in a similar autumnal forest armed with a kitchen knife and wicker basket... Wonderful times now receded far away somewhere and only emerging now for this brief moment... What is it, nostalgia? Looking up in wonderment at the huge trees towering above me... Also something that is disappearing, large, old majestic trees... So few and far between nowadays... Hardly anything gets old anymore... Even buildings have become a sort of throwaway commodity surrounded by interchangeable landscapes of roll-on-lawn and potted shrubbery. 





















A clump of filigree fungal spores caught my eye... What a strange creature it seemed to be, hovering wispiness there on the forest floor, catching the light briefly... As if alive... And to be sure it was alive, but not in the sense of a small fluffy creature it pretended.. But a colony of interrelating strands like a mesh of communicating spirits all agreed to synthesise this bounty before it's too late.. I think it was horse manure. 
( I hear you thinking 'what a load of horseshit'!)



















Admiring the gnarled roots of large trees along the hollow way, considering that strange mix of nostalgic memory and frustration at there being so little regard for nature nowadays even though everyone is talking about it... It seems the more attention is focused on our environment the less efficiently it is protected...




Even here in this public forest large swathes are being cut... For regeneration they say, while making an easy buck on the age old trees being carted off to the sawmill... We really need to rethink fast... Faster than the climate conferences we get served up in the media... Anyway, trying to loosen my thoughts and try even to think of nothing I stumble upon a lake and bench and idyllic scenery with ducks and all that... 
I decide to have a coffee at a place called the spanish house... I guess an old mill or such, here in the middle of nowhere... Left over from bygone times and now part of recreational infrastructure... The spell is broken, I head back to where I left the car and drive to my old haunt at Beersel, where after more than three years the small museum I used to administer stands empty... Left to rot.. A crying shame... Hadn't been there in a while and the autumnal sphere of the abandoned site just made everything more ...



I stop for an apple that had just fallen from it's tree... A wonderfully tasty looking thing that just about flew ito my hands... Only slightly bruised... I take it with me for later on...
My former neighbour, whom I paid a short visit was battling it out with a major attack of chinese ladybugs... It seemed they were confused by the global warming weather to start their spring reconnoitring... Alas, it was late october and with the nights cooling sharply, in for a nasty surprise... 









Highway again, this time towards the south-west... Tournai, Lille I thought,  but exiting early to drive along the old road I used to take with a dear friend who is already dead for what is it... Eighteen years! How time flys and how recent it can seem... Again nostalgia in the low slung sun turning the scenery into a golden haze... At the town of Ath I stopped and entered the train station... Thinking I might just get on a train instead of driving... I have to drive enough as it is and like rather to be driven... And have always been fond of trains... But service has become so meagre that there was no destination in foreseeable time that interested me... So I got back into the car and headed due south... Skirting the castle at Beloeil and turning towards Peruwelz at Basecles, crossing the canal and heading up the hill to the basilique de Bon Secours on the french border...
 
Condé on the banks of the river Schldt in the parc naturelle des plaines de escaut et scarpe, Valenciennes and the tree lined boulevards that already reminded of Paris... well, we've come this far, why not the whole hog? A bit of highway before the peage starts, exit towards St. Quetin, over to le Cateau au Cambresis, where Matisse comes from... Good museum... Down to Laon with its wonderful cathedral perched on top of the world... Further down the Nationale Deux, Soissons, getting dark and one can already see the lights of planes converging on Charles De Gaule... Especially spectacular from the forest of Retz... Getting late... joining the main stream of the autoroute du nord we sail into the porte de clignotante as if nothing were more natural...  Naw, just kidding... Turned back and spent the night at Peruwelz before heading home next morning.

dinsdag 13 september 2016

BIWA dir. Land, SNC


Jef Lambrecht
8-20-1948    -   9-11-2016

dinsdag 2 augustus 2016

fly-by at Coblenz, PAErsche and Bbeyonder...

I was originally intending to visit the PAErsche (unterwegs) stroll at Cologne on the 26th of July but couldn’t make it... so I decided to try again during their presence at Coblenz on the 30th... (as part of Explorativ °4) and combine my visit with a short homage to recently departed performance mainstay Ben Patterson...

For it is he, along with Robert Filliou who laid the basis for this kind of public performance, between the ‘unnoticed’ and the non-art, the (re)inte(r)gration of life & art and all that – with their Galerie Légitime in Paris ’62 -  so Koblenz I thought is a good venue, en route between Bonn, where Filliou unfroze his deep-frozen ‘Galerie Légitime’ in 1972 and Wiesbaden, where Ben Patterson lived & died recently. I thought of his work called “Das Rheingold” of which he gave me a copy of the booklet, and his classic ‘paper piece’ to which he told a nice story of a version he did in New Delhi with (part of) 900 rolls of toilet paper... (captured on video during rooftop conversation at MuHKA Antwerp 2012).

I had some affairs to arrange in Bonn, and decided to drive along the river on the eastern bank, seeing as how the rendez-vous of the PAErsche group with guests Bbeyond (Belfast) was on the Festung Ehrenbreitstein across the river from the town... but as luck would have it, we (Bukta-partner LL and myself) got stuck in a major traffic marmalade just before reaching Coblenz... throwing our schedule in disarray... we were too late & so we got to the cable-car, and headed down across the river hoping to catch up with them somewhere...


I had with me a fishing rod and a roll of toilet paper blazoned with the fleur de lis – reference to those Parisian origins of mobile (legitime) anywhere art exhibition – and Delhi paper Piece... once on the other bank began to rove around to see if we could spot the performance group... but we began by entering one of the street running away from the river, which was perhaps not such a good idea, most revelers being on the promenade, of course... but I was thinking of buying a bucket or pail, to dig some sand from the Rhine if I could – though not much opportunity, mostly being walled quayside around the town.

Wandered past Cesar’s sore thumb and saw that most of the lawn behind Willem1 was already taken so decided to get geared up for the quest with a coffee at the ‘Königsbacher Biergarten am Deutschen Eck’ and continued on towards town. I had my fishing-rod with me, and had added a defunct CD as a base-plate for the roll of toilet paper – which I had not yet added, since it would unfurl before I got it to the river – but people looked at it quizzically – it had a ritualistic allure, performance pilgrims staff or such... there were lot’s of people around, the café-terraces were loaded, shoppers an daytrippers and what not everywhere... saw a man with three empty crates of “Carmen” walk slowly and sit down for a while, wondering if perhaps this might be part of the performance program... guess not. 




Had a short run-in with the towns rascal (Schlingel) spouting water at irregular intervals... interesting venue to while a while... and get soaked...

Drifting out of the quaint historical centre into the more hardcore mega-shopping district we veered off into a street under renovation, with curious stores awaiting no custom due to the closed road... state of limbo... behind the theatre, across the way a former Schloss now sort of forlorn... we took a short cut through a official sort of car park, Landesgericht it seems, and reached the river at the end of the promenade...














Okay, so which way? Towards the bridge one couldn’t access the water either, so we decided to go towards the cable-car, passing boat-trip salesmen doing their utmost to catch tourist types like ourselves, a nun on a bicycle whizzed by on an errand for God, Imbiss Stuben excreted sausage ventilation, and trinkets were coming thick and fast...
 


Ah- that’s what I need: a kiosk was selling those fold out pictorial maps of the Rhine – just like the one Ben Patterson used for his ‘Rheingold’ action... so, now we were in gear, I got one in English and attached my roll of fleur-de-lis toilet paper....

 and lo and behold, no two steps further we came across some people that could be doing nothing short of performance... feathers and red thread lured the viewer-participant into a sort of forest-scene tableau vivant, (sur l’herbe et entre arbres) relatively static, slight, moving at times reminiscent of Butoh but not quite, then a flurry here, or there, some self contained some interactive, though only a few jutted out into the promenade between the flanneurs – and some of the regulars would venture into the scenery between the trees, but on the whole it was a manége of performers and things they were using. Stringing up fellow performers for letting too many beans glide through the fingers into a galvanized dish, of flattening crumpled lengths of ‘Deutsche Markenbutter’ back into neat rolls of useable foil (ordnung muss sein) while some dragging rocks, others holding steady sticks on trees with feet or legs extended... while in the back featherman featheredtree meticulously, each branch becoming a wing of sorts...











I attempted to catch a feather from the feathercatcher but she was too quick for me, so I stole some from a couple of kids who had been luckier than me... feathers wafting among the tourist along the promenade... and headed on towards the promontory before my toilet paper unfurled entirely before I could reach the Rhine/Mosel - and let it wave and waft across the river... alas the manipulation along the way got it all tangled and already some of the pages had become semi-detached... as well as the breeze not being as stiff as it might have been – so much for wafting over the river... Oh well,























...it was a fine outing-day, and could easily have accommodated a bucket & spade session - and in effect the sun was getting golden when we headed back, shimmering on the Mosel more than the Rhine from our point of view so Moselgold instead... and well, the toilet paper wafting was but a small homage – could it be construed as intervention and as part of the performance piece billed? Was it removed enough from regular life and integrated enough to merit mention? Very nice but is it art, non-art, or just fancyfair? The Gaukelfest on the fortress rock is billed as artistic cultural fare, so why not... saw one guy with a large flying plastic sheet, like I had done many times as part of a performative intervention, so away we go, it’s all art, also the schnitzel that landed on the street before it could reach it’s consumer, or the kid’s ice-cream that got liked half off by the dog.














I’ll leave that to the specialist – as for myself, I was glad to see PAErsche & friends in action finally, and will certainly try again one of the next times this group is close ( seems they do quite a bit at Liege & Brussels which is also Bukta-country of sorts) ... I’m quite sure that Ben P. would have enjoyed it, and that’s what counts – in fact, I see it as the other end of that fragment of the Antwerp Paper Piece that ended up in the Bosporus* back in 2012... and could be construed as all part of the museum of the subconscious surfacing through a man-hole cover at Wiesbaden.

*( here the link to the bosporus paper and delhi paper conversation )






dinsdag 28 juni 2016

unnoticed rundown/report A




Often I ask myself when is it a performance, and when is it not... Any tendency towards the theatrical, be it a personal trait or an affectation has the potential of being 'put off' as 'just a performance' and as such not to be taken as seriously as 'real' emotions'... 
Fair enough, and in general the way things are perceived... Though I have always known people who had more than a fair share of the theatrical without actually being aware of it / and or accepting it as being their natural manner... Which I must admit, is not always accepted by the social surroundings... Or may I say used to be, since in recent years tolerance has become commonplace among certain sections of society, whereas other sections have hardened in their retrograde beliefs...
So this experiment ( what I call it for myself) is interesting to find out for myself whether my own "theatrics" may be included in this notion... Never having been inclined to stand on stage I nevertheless always have been interested in the periphery of it... From stagecraft to organisation of venues... Platforms for all manner of manifestation... And, looking back, have found myself more and more active in this amalgam called live art performance... So, this is an opportunity to investigate the own attitude rather than that reflected by a public... Hopefully.

In this case the public is integrated... Which perhaps complicates matters, since implicated without being addressed... Not sure if it's quite what I need, thinking more of a pure solo action as I did with the A to B series... Which I still have not done anything with.. Here a hint, perhaps, to link ( or re-link) them by train... (so much for a preamble)

A to U...
Ok the operation itself: train to Utrecht. Strikes had been announced in Belgium, s decided to try to get on a train before they shut the system down... Arriving at Utrecht about an hour early I had a Walkabout and bought some supplies before heading to the meeting point. Sure enough, they were all there, the unnoticed performers, obviously geared towards a camping trip... A message got through to inform us that the minivans coming to pick us up were stuck in traffic and if would take an hour or so... Ended up being quite a bit longer, but we sat outside on a monumental staircase overlooking a building site... The sun was warm and with some imagination you might consider us being a public observing life's theatre in a colosseum of sorts, with the ruins of past civilisations at our feet... 








Small talk and getting to know each other a bit, describing projects and situations, hanging about.... Was sort of thinking this might already be included in a sub-section of my intended work... And a short study in group dynamics, since one had a mix of people who had either similar experience, background, studies, interests forming small subgroups... But more on that later... The minivans arrived and after a short refresher the drivers took us down into the colosseum where we negotiated the building site with our caravan to arrive on he lot where the vans were parked, loaded up and headed towards... Well, we still weren't being told, and went guessing along until only Nijmegen and Arnhem became viable options... Unless they were transporting us to Germany! 

It was Nijmegen, or rather a camping site out in the surrounding hills, past Berg en Dal, in a field with lots of horses... Very agreeable surroundings and the weather was holding... Deciding to pitch the tents while the going was good, since the expectation was that there would be rain at some point... But up to then it went quite well. We were treated to a tasty borsht and salad and the program... 

We were to be divided into groups, sharing the initial performance but he going off in different directions to execute various proposals on the lists which each group received... Some being replicated by various groups, and then individual pieces, also done by either single or smaller sub-groupings... By the looks of it we would not be bored... So we mingled and found each other in groups proposed, discussed plans of action and our views and thoughts on each piece... 









I had originally been given my own group based on my original proposal... Which in turn was based on the supposition there would only be one group as such... So I needed to rethink... And joined a group as an "associate" member, enabling me to participate and still giving me the option of breaking away and executing my disappearance.

Here I might refer quickly to my initial project, based on a general interest in the 'submerged' and nearly invisible, but mainly on a practical guide i picked up during a show at my local museum... 

(fn. MuHKA, meeting points 7 published by Kayfa.) "How to disappear" by Haytham El-Wardany (Egyptian media-artist based in Berlin)
With 'preliminary exercises' how to disappear, how to reappear, and, for my project also 'how to join a group / how to break with a group' ... 


 absentee Mikio Saiko next to Thomas Tajo


There was also another ‘absentee presence’ in the form of Mikio Saiko (or at least his image pasted on board...)  but a bit different from my do not-/meet/me...)
But given the fact we were already in groups and individuals doing things on their own, an application of these exercises would be... Well,  entirely unnoticed. Trick is to be sufficiently unnoticed... 

Considered to disappear right off the bat: head into town with the group and make myself scarce, double back to pick up my gear and head home... (or not even, leaving the gear behind, or hanging about as an observer only, not participating and therefore not part of the proceedings. Then there was the identity option... I had from the outset debunked the fiction of Heinrich Obst so as to begin with the dual identity question: at which moment was Heinrich present or not... he had gotten us into this mess, he should get us out. Switching between Heinrich the (official, outsider) participant and myself, mere passer-by as it were, I could turn on and off my 'presence' at will, much like the Cheshire Cat and his smile... ( apt due to the fact there was another festival in the area: ."down the rabbit-hole"...  Was even considering at one stage to get on that bus and disappear into those crowds)

After a restless sleep (haven't been camping for ages...) and breakfast, we got on the first van out and found ourselves at the Kronenburgerpark in Nijmegen, waiting for the next contingent... We split into groups and reconnoitered the area, I went up the hill on my own, yelled at by the jackdaws (see on site report for more) and by the time the others had arrived we had done our framework planning.

First up was a proposal by Isaac Chong, a running race in which all participant reach the finish line together... though divided into groups, well all participated, running various times at various speeds to get as close to an communal finish as possible... I feigned a heart condition an played referee/umpire observer and handbag-watcher, since this exercise would get me into such a sweat as to have to forego any other participation... in the meantime I scribbled in my little black book.



After this initial combined effort each group went it’s separate way, and I trundled off after my adopted group coordinated by Malou Van Doormaal, a smaller group with a different composition than originally listed... anyway, we proceeded up the hill and along the way Iris van Wijk and myself, being members of a select subgroup- put sand into our pockets as execution of t proposal by Royce Allen Hobbes200 million years ago - in which 10 participant would carry soil in their pocket during the day... sand is perhaps only a component of soil, but an essential/basic one found in all soils, and here it was dry enough to use, whereas everywhere else it was wet & soggy.
(by the end of the day this would not make much difference)

First group effort would be the Tap Dining piece by Janette Joy Harris, whereby the group feigns nervous movements while waiting for their orders, more or less synchronically, counted, choreographed, timed... we opted for a dispersed set-up, sitting solo or two’s at a table of the large terrace of the Café de Buren, but it didn’t take long for a lady sitting with her husband not far from where I was to notice: she mentioned to her husband that those people over there were seemingly doing the same movements... and then, yes... over there too... look! After a bit of giggling and amusement she began to query the situation, and, after noticing that I too was doing similar things, couldn’t contain her self and came over to ask what was going on....
We had been noticed...
 insole exchange and unnoticed background group3
                                                                                                      Yvo van der Vat  and Frans van Lent


Just when realizing our abject fai'lure and getting ready to leave we were set upon by another group who apparently had the same idea to use that café, but decided to use the one on the corner, using a full-table-configuration for their attempt. With them was project instigator Frans Van Lent with the insoles that had been left in the van earlier... a proposal by Josh Schwebel, “hidden sculptures”...  to be worn inside your shoe... a pink & green one I got with knobs and things, thought: ooh, that’s going to be uncomfortable, but if fact it was okay... only later in the day did the irritation increase to such a degree as to modify my gait, and in the end one might have thought I had a bad leg, limping slightly... whether this was noticeable or not I don’t really know...

I moved off towards the old city, noticed another participant was going the same way and doubled back, turned off somewhere and got lost. This was the first disappearance as such, not that you’d notice.- as proposed... but then more members were disappearing, so the impact of a disappearance became less noticeable than unnoticed, being construed as part of the program. If it is then part pof the intended program it is no longer a disappearance but an absence – which is banal enough to go unnoticed and as such not noteworthy in this context. Un- dis- or non-appearance on the other hand is something that should be contrary to the expectation at a given moment and create a void to be filled by speculation or at least bemusement. In that sense this first attempt was not a very good one, an I even have to look at my notes to remember what I did, indicating that it was not very memorable either...

Ah yes... went to the tourist office partly for a map, partly to perhaps do a version of the proposal by Ieke Trinks to get an extensive tourist Day Program proposal at the tourist office... as detailed as possible – but when I got there I saw participants were already doing that and it would take a while – being asked by the lady at the theatre reservation counter if she could perhaps help me with anything I told her to get .... , and proceeded to the railway station, where I came across another participant and we exchanged one of the “modern greetings” (phone branding)  proposed by Paul Shortt. We had been given his instruction brochure the evening before as part of our on-site training package... I didn’t learn all the moves, so sort of improvised...

At the train station I checked out trains, lines, time-schedules and general information of how to get out of there quick, as part of a possible disappearance strategy or just bugging it before the rains hit too hard... noticed the bus-stop for down the rabbit hole and considered perhaps... but decided on a cup of coffee marked ‘drink me’ instead. I moseyed down to the old town to have a look around as a tourist, even without the instructions from the local official tourist information office and came across a rock bearing a plaque commemorating the resistance and specifically one young scout that spied on the Germans securing the bridges over the Waal, but in the end paid dear... 
(got shot, name and something ‘bout wanting to do good for once...)
Then I nearly got run over myself (always good for an adrenalin surge) down on the waterfront which is pretty well in hands of German and Swiss tourists... headed back up the hill into the area we had begun, since we decided to rendezvous at the McDonalds for an execution of Ieke’s “Slow Food” proposal. Passed through the shopping district, which is weird enough for me... Anyway, quite a number of us converged on the fast food chain to more or less block normal operations and occupying the joint with all these slow eaters... conversing mainly while munching on fries that were cooling down and becoming a sort of cardboard like consistency... it took quite a while and by the time we were back out on the street the rain had come again.

The next one I didn’t want to miss for the world: Jonathon Keats’ reenactment of the Big Bang. We chose the inaccessible round garden, risking our lives to get there, and proceeded to arrange ourselves for a big bang under a low-hanging tree so no-one could see us... we had decided in 14:19 and then dispersed, each jettisoned into a different direction... running back across the rotund traffic did have a slight encounter with this fragment hurtling into the unknown, but other than this small side effect the operation went unnoticed. 























just before the big bang reenactment




I slipped into the tourist office and did a small fraction of the Day Planning piece (a version Alexandra Baybutt had spoken of... asking about the less attractive parts of the city) and headed down to the station, where I took the number 5 bus (again considering getting on the one going down the rabbit hole) and ended up at the Honig factory on the outskirts of town down by the river.
By now it was raining hard and the rather desolate area of former industrial, now semi cultural-recreational mix looked a bit soggy and forlorn – just what I was looking for. Sat myself in a nearly empty café and proceeded to follow instructions from that little book by Haytham El-Wardanyhow to disappear’ (with a cup of coffee in front of me) I thought perhaps that I did manage to arrange the sounds and thoughts in such a way as to become aware of the unaware, perhaps becoming somewhat translucent, but I don’t think I really disappeared, and the few people who where there weren’t taking much notice anyway, so I think I sort of convinced myself at being gone rather than actually departed... I think they thought i was meditating... so when a couple with a puppy dog came in, the pup immediately came over and sniffed at my heels, giving me the indication that I was anything than disappeared... also had to pay for my coffee, which if the process had worked, would have been unnecessary.

Headed back towards the bus stop, now raining hard and desolate, the feeling of being lost in space now apparent... but at some point the bus did come, and I found myself back in town when the evening rush hour seemed to be starting. I came off the bus and added myself to the waiting crowd in the other direction... making lines longer by Chris Wildrick... waiting next to an American couple of Indian decent and listening in on their conversation in order to execute a piece of oral transmission by Paul Money... which I did later on. I waited till everyone was on a bus, my Indo-American couple on the number 8... then headed back up the hill to see if I could find some other participants... stopping to shelter under a large protrusion of a flat building and taking time to eat a note I had jotted down as execution of the proposal eat your secret by Liam Herne, coming close to that surreptitious feeling of no-body knows or notices...

Further along I dumped the sand in my pockets, across the road from where I had gathered it, returning it as if nothing had occurred, the sand still being close to it’s original location, even after a field trip of some 50km during the day. One day added to 200 million years is pretty innocuous and I think perfectly unnoticeable.

By this time it was raining so hard that I dived into a café and had another cup of coffee just to be out of the rain... sitting there I began wondering if there were still operatives around or if they had all skedaddled, and there would be no more minivans and in fact it was the whole organization that had disappeared unnoticed while I sat in fool view of the world... so after the rain had abated slightly decided to head out again, but perhaps have a listen as to what was going on, calling main-man Frans Van Lent...  they were down by the river waiting for a van, too far for me, but just at the same time I got a call from Malou Van Doormaal, our team’s coordinator and just at that moment Inke Kastelein’s group came around the corner, and so we all proceeded to the Paraplufabriken where the others had also come for a visit (private view!) to the exhibition Conflicting Destinies curated by Youri Appelo. Interesting show and a very good way to end the day, by then having coordinated a pick-up at our point of departure, making a full circle of the operations...

It had all gone wonderfully well, and I was able to execute quite a few of the proposals I had marked, as well as doing my own research on the extraction from group and observation, though If it worked is still a matter of discussion, as is the participation as such. I deliberately undermined the identity of Heinrich so as to be able to exclude him at will, in fact one might say this participation was executed by myself and Heinrich never showed up. It is also an investigation into whether Heinrich still has a role to play in this sort of manifestation, or whether, as I alluded to in an performance-meet earlier in the month, he should return to his non-activity as an art-striker and refrain from any public comment.

In this sense the ‘Content Strike’ by Heath Schulz was helpful, taking down notes as to the execution of pieces, a first analysis as it were,- as well as Mikio Saito’s absence whereby a fictitious presence (him in cardboard, me in pseudonymity) could be construed as similar interpretations of the unnoticed... but anyway, we were treated to a sumptuous meal on our return, even the weather granted us a late afternoon sun, bathing our tired and contented bodies in gold.

Aside from the ‘content-strike debriefing’ we were treated to thank-you’s and drank, washed up an a part of the party headed out back into the noticeable world, while we lingered somewhat, drinking and making merry – though I didn’t go all the way since I had to catch my train on time to go to my next venue to rally people to read simultaneously... up early and help break up the camp, train station and Sunday commuters, in the end, I looked a lot less disheveled than some other festival-goers that I encountered on the way back...

But no-one noticed.

Gruzemayer / HO

So much for a quick subjective run-down of goings on at the 2nd unnoticed festival at Nijmegen 25/25 june 2016, there were a lot more projects and participants than mentioned here… excuses for wrong info/names if applicable…