Compressed journal

When you don’t have or take the time to write it gets compressed. This should mostly be an useful thing, since it kills off some verbosity. Not that I would be verbose, ever. Never happened. Unheard of. So, what’s happened since the last regular journal update? David Byrne was an quick aside; but the week before that included some excursions. On thursday (5.4) I went to Gent for a museum night event.

The concept was that  young artists “take over” the museum of fine arts. Consensus was that this really didn’t play out as intended. The problem with that sort of concept is that it is very hard to overpower the old artworks, and just dragging your painting to the museum won’t mostly do. Also, the regulations of such an institution prevent anything like a takeover form happening. The effect of bands playing at different spots in the museum was amusing form time to time, though.

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Some artworks were also fine, nevertheless; these were invariably things that interacted with or subverted the museum environment instead of trying to show themselves off. Incidentally, some of my favourite works were by two friends from the Borderlines workshop:

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“Framing tragedy as a rear window” and…

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“Cutting a rough opening for a doorway in an interior wall” by Egon van Herreweghe. Surprisingly, Wesley Meuris, the coordinator of the workshop, happened to walk into the picture I was taking of Egon’s work.

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Berten Jaekers had made the museum spill it’s guts with the intervention “Belly Out”. There were quite a few of these weird viscous tubes around the museum; I realized it was his artwork after seeing maybe the fourth one.

There were some other worhtwile things too. The work “Demonteerbaare tekening” by one Johan Gelper worked as an incongruous element among the classical paintings, as can be gleaned from the intrigued expressions gracing the faces of the spectators.

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Then there were some, well, interesting, things too…

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The above performance was a shambolic affair, which included random noisemaking with violins and MacBook, and a girl walking around waving a smelt (FactCorner! A smelt is a herring-like fish with a pronounced smell of cucumber. Nederlans – spiering; svenska – nors; suomi – kuore) in the face of the onlookers. The whole thing was somewhat akin to what you might see in a film where the storyline includes a ludicrous “art performance”.

Since the trains in Belgium ridiculously stop running at 24.00, I was happy for the hospitality of Berten and Sofie (who also had some nice artwork at the show, but I sadly got no pictures of it). The following morning we then did some sightseeing in Gent.

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“Don’t do it!”

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Immo Da Vinci. Note that the square is “amended” with a pointed roof. One wonders…

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There was a nice little flea market going on, with the usual selection of odds and ends. 090306_0270

Some excellent enders of varmint. I bought one of the small traps, just for the mouse picture.

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Final view of Gent.

* * *

The weekend after the Gent excursion a small gang was supposed to go to another museum night event, the “Museum night fever” in Brussels. The small gang shrunk and was eventually only me, Caroline, who I know from the workshop, and Carolines friend Leen. The event as such turned out to be a tad disappointing. There was one nice piece of generative video art in the architecture museum, a former freemason’s loge, and a fine tree on a cube of turf in the Bozar.

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It turned out that the tree had nothing to do with the museum night. Most of the time was wasted either waiting for the shuttle bus between the museums, or in said bus.

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However, we managed to visit what might be a contender for  the honor of being perhaps the worst museum in Belgium. The museum of Fantastic Art. It is in essence a fake cabinet of curiosities; with several moronic and poorly created creepy exhibits. The impression is of a curious crossbreed of things you find in a (badly made) house of horrors at an amusement park and Outsider Art / Art Brut / ITE. As I missed the Körperwelten, this may stand as some substitute.

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The epic inanity of the exhibit was delightful in a way. But be warned – at the same time it is a horrible tourist trap.

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Interlude: some street views from Antwerpen. Either the electric wheelchair was abandoned; or then it’s owner (driver?) was in shopping for shoes. Either way, bizarre enough. The following day the very same chair was on the same street a hundred meters onward, by another shoe shop. So apparently, an obsessively shoe-shopping cripple. Go figure. Also note fashion-conscious japanese guy. A recurring element of Antwerpian streetlife.

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Christmas lights can indeed be useful for many things, including marking out building sites.

* * *

The week in between was, save for David Byrne, most work. Last saturday was again a night out, this time under the flag of Kakbek – shitmouth in dutch.

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I leafed through the yellow pages a few days back, and saw that there was a whole load of monster SUV’s for sale. No doubt the recession has made people reconsider their priorities; but I jusr wonder how you get rid of that sort of ride now. The stretch Hummer was parked on the road to Scheld’Apen… maybe it was waiting to be loaded in a container to be sent to some cocaine cartel lord in Colombia.

The musical theme was trashy electropop with an experimental edge.

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Kania Tieffer (B)

My favourite was perhaps Teddie Drum, a band sounding slightly like my old favourite, the masters of annoying french silly electro DAT politics, and scoring some extra style points for dressing up the electronic drum kit as… well… a teddie drum.

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There was also some Gabber-like sounds by a fellow from Sint Lucas that goes under the moniker Miruki Tusko; this almost got the crowd fighting with joy, as it should be. The videos of the singing turtles added their little extra to the mood of the evening.

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* * *

And, if someone wonders if I’m also working on something, rest assured; I am indeed. Surprisingly, I this week found myself learning first Processing, but then actually transferring to Java. I have a small simple application thrown together, but it remains to be seen where this learning process leads. Programming Java really makes you appreciate the simplicity of Python, though.

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