image: mechelen

I was filmed in IKEA in Antwerp a while ago, along with many other people. I saw the results last night in Welcome Home’, directed by Ulf Aminde. This short film consists of a series of scrolling scenes across IKEA ‘rooms’, which usually contain people (who were shopping in Antwerp’s IKEA at the time), acting. It starts and ends with sleeping, & includes stillness, conversation, panic, party, madness, illness, exercise; many small sharp snapshots of characters’ lives. I appear in one scene, asleep in a kitchen, with a glass of wine and a Dutch translation of Wordsworth in front of me (yup, I wasn’t really acting!). Most of the characters are obviously invented. The best scene was a fifteen year old girl being dressed by her mother and aunts, brilliantly unhappy with the choices made for her. In another good scene, a guy checks his physique as though he’s just woken up in someone else’s body. This film works well.

I chatted with the director for a while last night, and he threw me by being rather complementary about my “acting”. He has some other unused scenes he shot of me, and wants to use them in another project shown in Frankfurt this coming autumn. I understand the reactions I get with my poetry, because I understand how poetry works, how my poetry works, what I’ve done to try and make it work in a new way, and how listeners listen—or at least I think I do. My problem is that I don’t understand the complements this guy gave me on my acting, because I don’t understand how that art works; I did what he asked me to do, why the complements? So I reacted nonchalantly; I didn’t have a clue what to say. I’ve worked out now what I should have said, which is slightly too late! Should I do something about it? If so, what?

The film premiered at Dedonderdagen #10, a one–day festival of contemporary arts here in Antwerp. The event included a dance piece, Fade Out”, choreographed by David Weber Krebs, which consisted of four connected scenes. The initial scene had the two dancers, Carola Bärtschiger and Diego Gil, hold still in mid–stride as a well–written prose introduction was recited. This lead to an incredible second scene; the dancers bounded around the stage like over–sized schoolchildren, yet if anything their movement magnified childish sprinting windmilling, running & playing, rather than being presented as a reduced adult imitation. The woman dancer, Carola Bärtschiger, skipping and switching, challenged and stopping, was particularly impressive. The third scene, in which a couple walking slower and slower (as they aged?), went on too long; it gave too little information about the two people’s connection. The final scene, danced entirely in the dark, was interesting for the wrong reasons: there were no obvious collisions with walls, audience, or each other. It was a pity we couldn’t see the movement that caused the noise. I found out afterwards the lights shouldn’t have been that low; the audience should have least have been able to see glimmers of moving dancers. It was good to see well–performed dance after so many years, and it leaves me interested to see more (with better lighting).