dinsdag 3 april 2018

End East End

Though I had full understanding for the decision by our head Pistologist to discontinue our annual gathering at Ostend, my biological calendar needed more time to adjust... so I found myself on the train to the queen of Bathing beauties on Easter Monday anyhow... geared up for some art-action, whatever...

This time we had time, no promises to keep no specific venues, no pressure to perform, but to take in a few works by other artists participating in the “raft” of artsy activities around the place, including the just opened “Beaufort”... Highlight of which is the wonderful tong in cheeky monument to Jacky, the heroic dog... it’s really the cat’s whiskers, because it speaks to everyone: the art-lovers, the dog-lovers, lovers, bums and passers-by, all take a second glance, stop and sometimes close in to read the plaque... it’s one of Guillaume Bijl’s better ones recently... in fact, I seem to remember he did a maquette or prototype for the show “Chien Vierkant/ Hond Carré” at Factor 44 years ago... (1998, and, after an altercation proceeded to destroy his own work, to then re-position the pieces... from which point on we called it “chiens casseés”...)

dogs too, are very interested

We say the plastic-bottleboat in the Poverello-church, the video with the pink version somewhere in the Mediterranean I presume, the sagging gates at the Peperbusse and the video in the big post office, 

but we came for sun, sea & sand so we headed for the creamery and had a good coffee while watching the day-trippers slide up & down the croisette... we joined them towards the station, and had a short homage session on the small beach (the one we first frequented back in the 90’s) where I dislodged myself from a recent alter-ego used for a perf-paff in Munich... K. Lagerhalle...

So, a perfectly pleasant day without the ret of the crowd, - a pity though when it’s time to quit it’s time to quit – and we were on an early train for once, which was also good...
I had written a small something about our meetings, hoping to include it in the next “Emergency Index”, but alas, far too late, the deadline being months ago...

Here it is anyway...

Demise de L’air...

Little did we know at the time that the 23rd annual easter monday performance meeting at Ostend would be the last... But then, it fit in well with the spontaneous nature of the whole project, which began with a small performance presentation at the behest of Marc Hioco (Institut de Pistologie) featuring organizers Dialogist-Kantor, and participants Andrew Webb, Titania Altezze and Heinrich Obst back in 1994... then billed as a “Laboratoire Patacycliste number “LP6, Les Grandes Brulés”.
From then on it grew naturally into one of the most agreeable performance meetings in Belgium, attracting participants from Antwerp, Brussels, Charleroi, Ghent and Liège occasionally on co-production with artist-run spaces such as EVA Malibran, Bureau du Port, Factor 44, Buireau Gruzemayer, and in recent years Buktapaktop... At the turn of the millenium one could count 30-odd performers and a participating crowd hovering around 100. In the nineties it was part of a series ‘Laboratoires Patacyclistes’ (LP) in which performers would gather at different venues, with a penchant towards semi-public spaces, and perform at will... aside from a theme/title there were no guidelines, and participation was open... registration and line-up discussed at venue. From 2000 it became somewhat more structured, with a hosting venue and catering by the Institut de Pistologie, based in Ostend.
One of the permanent features was performing on the beach- even if we had space in which to gather and perform- there was always a visit to the ocean’s edge, and regardless of weather conditions a number of performances presented there... after which we would warm ourselves in one of a few haunts we frequented, enjoying the selection of Belgian beers and the Ostend jazz scene...
The last meeting, called “Del Air” began at the gathering venue, a former post office become cultural centre, and proceeded through the city, attached by string, to the seafront at the casino, and proceeded to execute the performances on the beach, weather being dry, sunny and windy but still cold... Heinrich Obst did an “‘air piece” in which he cut his hair, using a living mirrored sculpture by Pjotr Os... to the strains of the 1968 musical “Hair” sung in heavy French & Flemish accents... We ended up, as we often did, warming ourselves to the strains of Marvin Gaye at the Lafayette, café he frequented when living in Ostend...

The news of the demise of this very agreeable performance tradition came as a surprise, but given its impromptu origins it’s perhaps time for something new... Dialogist-Kantor has already published one edition (Pistologie 2010-2014) of an archival series concerning this special venue, and thus it will still be present in people’s minds long after its gone. 

Image: live artist Pjotr Os on the beach, April 17th, 2017– while being photographed by filmmaker Boris Lehman as well as other participants...

vrijdag 2 februari 2018


We hardly ever go to formal dinners. Perhaps I should say anymore, since there was a time when it did happen, occasionally, that I would end up at a long table with all sorts of artistic types talking, eating drinking and making merry... until the bill came and everyone disappeared... one of the reasons the enthusiasm for dinners has been somewhat subdued in recent years.
But this was a one-off special occasion... a gaggle of friends celebrating one of our own after years of estrangement, loss of contact, divergent interests and all that. A mix of people who knew/had known each other at some point, sometimes came across each other, with variant backgrounds of working together or alongside each other or in some way connected to the person being celebrated without his knowing officially, initially, but who showed up then, by circumstance fashionably late... so to speak.
The frame was opulent – a restaurant some of us had visited in the past, once perhaps, to give it a try but in fact way out of our budgetary range... which made this gathering a rather unique situation. It is perhaps a cliché to say, but the framework does in fact influence one’s state of mind (as well as dress) on this sort of occasion... Elevated sense of decorum perhaps, paying a bit more attention to one’s manners than otherwise? Who is to say, but for each one of us a bit of a treat... a celebration for us all, survivors in a way of times past, with ups and downs to recount, and diverging insights concerning the world around us. But common ground in general, the kind of shared attitude that makes adherence and coherence possible over long stretches of time and reconnect when the moment arises.
Conversations ranging from current affairs, activities and situations to small jaunts down memory lane, refurbishment of information on this or that person or thing-a-majigg end so forth... perhaps not the most profound exchanges, but useful updates and additions to general knowledge as well as specific dope on such-and-so... without descending into the unsavoury effluence of gossip. Capable, pattering conversation like small streams sometimes diverging around a rock or eddy of disinterest or just plain misunderstanding – or hearing problems at that, though it must be said the whole affarir was not noisy in any way... something one might have considered becoming given the guests and their reputations in bygone times... for in fact the group was quite a swathe through the more progressive tendencies of culture in the recent past, spearheading changes and new attitudes over a couple of decades at least...
While some had become established names in certain quarters of the cultural scene, others preferred to remain less obvious and in some cases downright secretive, without however relinquishing their convictions to some circumstance or other. The people around the table were not quitters and remained active in their own specific ways and sections of artistic practice. What could be said is perhaps that some might fare well with more public exposure, since one can’t help noticing that in the field many lesser figures were attracting more attention than their fair share. But then again, as said, some abhor attention, public or otherwise, and prefer to delve deep in a sort of virtual anonymity that does, however, surface when one knows where to scratch.
The meal was sumptuous, and the wines exquisite, contentment reigned and conversations flowed languid between all protagonists that milled and mixed somewhat in the interludes, making for a comfortable evening akin to such occasions as one might find friends who had only recently seen each other gathering... without the intensity and high-jinx of a younger set. We had had enough of that and no longer needed to play-act pretending our positions of underline them with affectation and exaggeration (x-ageration) so to speak. That in itself was refreshing and added to the feeling of being at ease, just enough to not become too mellow and on towards the morose. In fact the ending was very civilized, compared with the memories that had been rekindled during the evening – another difference that is not at all bemoan-able, since we all have had our share in out & out blasts and bust-ups in our time... in fact once even a prerequisite for a fine evening out... no this was quite stayed and amicable by comparison, one might even say statesman-like.
Who Nose?

(though quite a different situation, I couldn’t help thinking of the feel &’ teneur’ of “my dinner with André”(Louis Malle 1981) 


or the Banquet years (R. Shatuck) ...

...and yes, of course, but then in feudal times, among the aristocrats: fifty-fifty!)

or the Banquet years (R. Shatuck) and yes, of course, but then in feudal times, among the aristocrats: fifty-fifty!)

zaterdag 13 januari 2018

Rottmouw & Mallemouw

(Rotterdam / Port de Soller)
Partially against principle, entirely against principle... The trip to Rotterdam was not entirely for the sleeve, meaning it was half way a family affair (to Bergen of Zoom) and on to the sleeve removal  (solo) at Rotterdam... The sleeve pulling at Porto de Soller was also part familiar, part intentional... In that sense only partially intended, but wholly against principle.

But the sleeve pulling at Soller was also in preparation to a future project, also taking place abroad, and which is also quite questionable as to the necessity of a personal presence... Though everything is geared toward it... Flight, hotel, meals... A real business trip one might say, and as such expensive for someone else... Leading us to the crux of the matter: most of these trips would not be made if not paid for by somebody (haphazard unknowing) else... Tax deductible for sure but leaving a major carbonated footprint smack in the middle of the conversation.

A return to theatrics... Whence once the scene was set to transport the viewer to far away, often mythical places, we now transport ourselves to far away and less mythical places to then offer electronic documentation at home... Reverse angle, slightly ingenuous... One might argue a return to the former system would be regression into theatre, rather than the more progressive improvisational performance experience, but well conceived and prepared activity should be able to deal with that... In any case there is a tendency to affix the concept to something less ephemeral than the performance itself, be it documentation in a form such as book brochure catalog, archive, video sound recording, flash memory tid-bit... Or even just a mention of title, time and place in a CV or historical overview.
(yes, been done, some flux pieces are only that, perhaps we should consider such a regression...)

These considerations have come up because we are nearing the end of a series... One based on a hereditary wardrobe, parts of which have seen use and modification in various venues over the years. A review is in order because there is nearly no projection left: all has been used at least once. Time to re-evaluate, research and rehash... With the question being if any of it should be retained as " object" rather than mere archeological of anthropological source material.

All of the material has come a long way, spanning not only decades but also continents and even "eras" and as such interesting again after a period of relative insignificance. It all depends on the point of view and what will happen next.