tails

On a summery morning of June, back in 2003 in Brussels, with the back window open, looking to a concrete terrace of some kind of underrated school and further at a distance to the train station Midi/Zuid, I saw a bird coming towards me. It flew right over my head and into the room/studio to the big double room with the arch, our living room. The bird decided to stay with us; both Koert and I were so happy to have this little friend around. It was climbing from our shoulders to our heads, chirping and making happy little gestures. We were feeding her as a baby, because a baby she was. It lasted three days. The morning that I found her dead I cried so much as if I was crying for all the cats I had buried in my life and all the people that I would never meet again.

Getting older, looking back, one expects to contemplate on past phases, places, houses; whatever sticks to memory. It is very common to use the word memory and memory content – personal or public – for producing art. However, the word itself has taken other connotations be it from technology, be it from cheap entertainment. Besides, you can now buy memory, literally, since you can put in there things you have documented and you want to keep. That is memory in fact; what you want to keep, because all the rest goes to other places and is recalled only under special circumstances. Then, linking memory with the passing of time as a theme is a fatal risk; unless you are called Proust or Shakespeare, who by the way burnt the image of a skull for everyone following. Maybe only philosophy can save the theme from slipping to kitschy works. But then kitsch can also be happily admired, however this artistic vision has also passed to memory already. To my understanding everything depicts the passing of time, because we, the spectators, are the carriers of time. When time stops either we are in love either dead (in both cases little we care about art).

Luckily, the dead don’t care about memory, neither for the passing of time; none of the two concerns them. But, what about the tail? The tail is a privilege of the ones closer to their dead phase. Like experience, it adds up, or like a collection of lived behaviours, at some point it is complete.  Our personal tail is complete when we are added as a knot to someone else’s tail; after a friend, a father, a cat, a bird, all those who have passed that person’s life and are now dead. Whether we like it or not, we are all connected through our tails. In fact, we form a huge net in space offered by our dead. At the idea of this drape, I smile.

In memory of Annie the cat

 

light experiment 1 from the series "the passing", 2000, 140x120cm

 

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