A picnic at Klankenbos

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day as I prepared for the picnic in the afternoon.  I started the day by walking into Neerpelt the closest town.  Interestingly it turns out this area was also an ex-mining community. I have learnt some more about the social political situation of Flanders, we are on the border with Holland and an interesting boundary space.

I bought some foods based on different food groups and then walked back to the forest.  In the afternoon I spent a wonderful hour sitting in the radio room in the forest sketching a blue sky idea for a kinetic sculpture influenced by the classic film ‘The Way Things Go’ by Fischli and Weiss and the architecture of the space.

We concluded the afternoon viewing one of the students work based on colour synesthesia and the picnic.  Starting with energy monitoring imagining their bodies as a battery with 10 bars of power (influenced by the battery on the sensor breaking) we wandered round the forest to the central hill and then up the hill. I asked them to sit in a circle and laid the picnic out and asked them questions about energy, climate and the location.  I also asked them to map and sketch their measurements, to create data maps.  It was filmed and photographed.  The calculated what power they thought each type of food item would give them and then the energy change by the end of the picnic and compared the total ‘power up’ of the food as an average with their body battery levels.  We discussed whether this was a good way of measuring or not.

During the picnic I asked several questions as topics of debate:
1.  How would you define energy?
2. How would you define climate?
3. How do you think energy is transforming and manifested in the forest around us?
4. How do you think energy in this location affects the climate and vise versa?

We talked a little about entropy

After the picnic we had dinner and then two amazing talks by Caroline about her work and the Singing Pools that will look like stunning pools reflecting the lily pads in the beautiful oasis where she is installing. The work with be interactive and trigger the sound of motors that in turn create vibrations on the pools floating in the pond.

Then we had a mind blowing talk by Peter Bosch who made with his partner Simone Simons the vibrating boxes.  He talked about energy and resonant frequencies and showed us their amazing body of work:  www.boschsimons.com  We’ve had the opportunity to have some good conversations with him about his work (that compliments Caroline’s so well with similar themes but very different aesthetics) and also working practices.

After the talks we sneaked back into the pitch black forest for two presentations by the students,  a performance in the transparent cube and an amazing installation of a mattress hanging from a tree, lit by candles.  We then went to the pub in the town with Paul the Director and despite our exhaustion and the long day (and the low energy levels recorded throughout the picnic) we stayed drinking and talking until 1.30am!

Today the students will present all their work and then we return to the UK. It has been an interesting process, a priveledge to have thinking time and experimenting in such an inspiring place and hopefully useful to the students to have me about wandering around in the background as they create their work.


Posted: April 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: News | ↑ Back to top