Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Place Beyond Belief.....

Nathan Coley, 'A Place Beyond Belief ', Burg, Brugge Triennale 2015
Following our philosophy lunchtime reading class based around the text, 'On the uses and disadvantages of history for life' from the second 'Untimely Meditation', have been musing on what Nietsche describes as three types of history ( monumental, antiquarian and critical)  in relation to the Triannale which has just opened in Bruges, with the intention of using contemporary art and architecture in this historic city to, in the words of the curators, 'pose questions about the future and the potential of the city, about urbanisation, citizenship, lifestyle, community, economics, energy, space, sound and the values that guide us'

........; every man, and every nation requires, in accordance with its goals, energies and needs, a certain kind of knowledge of the past, now in the form of monumental, now antiquarian, now of critical history.  

Monumental history is the masquerade costume in which their hatred of the great and powerful of their own age is disguised as satiated admiration for the great and powerful of past ages .......

 .... any art which, because contemporary, is not yet monumental, seems to them unnecessary, unattractive and lacking in authority conferred by history.

 and of antiquarian history

 History thus belongs in the second place to him who reveres it - to him who looks back to whence he has came into being, with love and loyalty............
 and yet

  .....Antiquarian history itself degenerates from the moment it is no longer animated and inspired by the fresh life of the present

 and of critical history,

If  he is to live  man must possess and from time to time employ the strength to break up and dissolve a part of the past , he does this by bringing it before the tribunal, scrupulously examining it and finally condemning it;.........


If  we condemn these aberrations and regards ourselves as free of them, this does not alter the fact the we originate in them.......

 Romy Achituv, Cataract Gorge 
"Romy Archituv creates an artificial storm on the otherwise placid waters of Bruges. Floating on the turbulent waters is a structure in the form of the a Gothic crow- stepped gable house. The work refers both to the city's economic heyday hundreds of years ago and to the current stagnation of a city that seems to exist solely for the purposes of entertaining tourists. Strict regulations intended to preserve the city's heritage act as brakes to evolution and a dynamic future. " 

In the Arentshuis 'The Visionary City' an exhibition based on German architect Oswald Mathias Ungers book of 1982 'Morphologie, City Metaphors' and the Cooper-Hewitt Meseum exhibition recreates his visionary juxtaposition of associated images and words that create a kind of poetic laboratory for urban imaginings. The second part of this exhibtion is dedicated to the Belgian architect Huib Hoste's and Paul Michel Aumery's largely unrealised progressive urbanisation plan for Bruges in the 20th century.

                                From Ungers' forward to Morphologie, City metaphors

Of the various installations questioning the nature of contemporary experience in witty and ironic ways some the following have already caught my eye including the rotating chocolate bourse that challenges our 'sweet addiction' to consumer capitalism with a very Belgian and Bruges specific reference....... 

 Rainer Ganahl: Uber Capitalism 
........and in the city of globalised mass tourism during a summer of economic, social and political migrations the question of what constitutes the rights and responsibilities of European and global citizenship in the 21st century seems to be on many people's minds and this is well focused by Daniel Dewaels  'The Passage Room' just outside the station.

 DaniĆ«l Dewaele  The Passage Room 

My personal favorite installation of those I have seen so far both for its site specific location and dreamlike quality is Tadashi Kawamata's Tree Huts in the Beguinage that adds a poetic contemplative twist to this quiet Benedictine monastic enclave in the heart of Bruges' tourist maelstrom. Nesting in the upper branches of the tall trees surrounded by leaves rustling in the breeze these imaginary dwellings speak to our deepest instincts as do the small houses cloistered around the church in a community of ordered routines in peaceful retreat centred on the cultivation of silence and the interior life 

Tadashi Kawamata's Tree Huts 

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