Circumambulation

installation for a hotel room
2015

In the work ‘Circumambulation’ past and present time are unravelled and re-woven inside a hotel room. An outline of a historical narrative serves as a guide, turning our gaze towards a shifting plane of semiotic facets. By a process of translation and interpretation – from paper to celluloid, from outline to perforation, a script1 is multiplied into two mechanisms: a film projection and 6 folding shutters within the space. In this site-specific installation these mechanisms are parallelled by the dream cycle, where linear threads are assembled and reassembled into different shapes of time. Here the day-night cycle and the biorhythm of the human body become integral to a greater procession. From an interplay between various timespans a slow composition can unfurl.

1 In 1356 the Ommegang of Brussels was inaugurated; a religious cortège that passed around the city’s centre, organised by the Crossbow Guild of the city. Over almost seven centuries the procession had been conceived in many guises, reflecting the shifting lines of political and religious narrative and cultural biases of the time. As a precursor to the moving image that emerged half a millennia later, spectacle and narrative – culture was passed before a captive audience as the past was synthesised.
Nearly 600 years after its beginnings, historian Albert Marinus created a proposal for the Ommegang of 1930. In a single 24 hour period inspired by the Ommegang of 1549 depicted by Denijs van Alsloot and recorded by Calvete de Estrella, he sketched his vision upon several reams of paper that once joined totalled 15 meters. The script, a schematic draft of rapidly sketched symbols and text, represented his choreography for the Ommegang. Marinus’ intention was to present a psychological model in which the historical and fantastical merged, including civil and folkloric characters next to traditional Catholic ones. The differences between the folkloric, religious and political characters cast the procession into an anachronistic assemblage of archetypes.