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...