Bruegel Revisited, exhibition catalogue, edited by Prof. Dr Hilde Van Gelder & others,
Stichting Kunstbœk bvba, Oostkamp, 2006
1st 6 words (of 1,000 or so afterwards!), of ‘Deluxe Penal Festive Ordeal’, intervention (cover to cover, ticker-tape running-frieze, cutting through all pages), 'Bruegel Revisited', group exhibition catalog, edited by Prof. Dr Hilde Van Gelder and others, Stichting Kunstbœk bvba, Oostkamp, 2006
'Bruegel Revisited', (part of 'Bruegel 06' program), group exhibtion, curated by Prof. Dr Hilde Van Gelder and others, organised by Lieven Gevært Research Centre for Photography and Visual Studies (KuLeuven), Kasteel van Bouchout / Nationale Plantentuin van Belgie, Meise, near Brussels, 2006
Deluxe Penal Festive Ordeal
Overdue and missing the 11th hour watershed deadline, remaindered dinosaur eggs and carnivorous orchid bulbs and buds (disqualified as ineligible for acceptance onto Noah’s Ark) harvest, panic-buy, beg, borrow and steal whatever is readily available for them to lay their hands (or rather, paws, talons, pincers, feelers, tendrils and tentacles) upon. Making up for lost-time, they cobble, weave and cooper supreme ultimate champion all-time record-breaking feat of clinker-built, truggery-basket and barrel-keg coach-work, eventually coming up with a hollow thatched nest for them all to reside in. This heavily mixed-pack of seemingly ill-matched and otherwise irreconcilable bedfellows pitch marquee tent (mostly veils and drapery) over their shared punchbowl crater cauldron valley, supplying bedding and provisions.
Entire inconclusively self-reshuffling deck shelters underneath domed and prismatic birdcage umbrella parachute. Accomplishing a veritable wonder, marvel and masterpiece of the highest grandeur and finery; awesome miracle, embodied incarnate in skeletal barbed-wire rib scaffolding and thorny cobweb weeping-willow filigree armature; embellished mainly with exquisite lace trimmings, some gilded braid and tasselled fringes, even equally distanced floral rosettes and silken ribbon bow butterflies, strung up along the fairy-lights and emergency-flares. See-through mirrored crystal lens porthole windows are gathered, aimed, thrown and stuck to each empty gap on this flies’-eye cupola to wallpaper over any cracks, leave behind glazed over facets and fill up vacant sockets, until bonnet hood is no longer a sieve anymore, but hermetically sealed-off and declared watertight. Once safely all aboard, they firmly screw down the lid, welding it shut, before throwing away the key (on grounds of being just so much excess-baggage, surplus to requirements and not wanted on voyage).
Mountain peak rooftop grows maypole, providing mast for rigging with windmill and nautical sails, waving semaphore flags, as chimney funnels blow out smokestack and exhaust-fumes which jet-propel and drive everything onwards. At forefront, flame-throwing dragon vulture figurehead mascot bust, appointed to serve as lookout, captain, tour-guide and navigator finds way ahead; while aft, arrow-headed scorpion and sting-ray tail beats frantically, below which, open and waving peacock-feathered bustle and fan, both rudders steering hulk forth. Lower fuselage, saucer-hulled keel, both port and starboard sides and galley run on caterpillar-tracks, animal and aviation wings, propeller-blades, screws, fins, paddle-wheels, skis, galleon-oars and jet-turbines –not forgetting having cloven-hoofed and iron-shod elephant-legs and claws with webbing and spurs for feet. This bulldozing juggernaut lays down anchor to moor (fly-pitching and double-parked) wherever is up for grabs.
During transit and propagation, this cargo and crew make a pact that they’ll never hatch or blossom out as most customarily expected; instead, electing to pool resources, transfer attributes and interbreed as one and the same with their dwelling; sworn oath and solemn vow, kept and followed down to the very last detail, adhered to and expanded upon from then on.
By the time of arrival, they’re all well on the way to advanced stages of graduation into becoming armour-plated beetle mollusc sea-anemone snail crustacean shellfish turtles. Hardly any of these foul meat and sickly confectionery invertebrates is perceivable or ever ventures much outside hiding, apart from their punctured flat blown tyre slug underbellies, which graze, shave, plough, mow, iron smooth, even out and recarpet ground passed over, vacuum hoovering up any wastage and special finds come across, while more than mere truffles and grubs are hunted for and rooted out. Reason being, main bodily bulk wears and occupies bullet-proof façade overcoat hollow shield; standardised uniform as fitted (pressed tightly and compact, though secure and comfortable) by arsenal-store. Only one masterstroke is still missing, but desperately needed, before matters be deemed properly complete.
Wardrobe-department conducts personalised consultation and sympathetic makeover, issuing especially commissioned protective reinforcement outer casing custom decoration, so novice cadets and seasoned veterans alike attain and enhance character, identity, individualism, development and creative expression; boosting self and group worth and pride, for when contributing maximum input towards common and greater effort and cause. Favoured options include: shuttered-villa, taxi-cab, tug-boat, midget-submarine, alarm-clock, steam-locomotive, treasure-trunk, carriage-lantern, matching-luggage, piggy-bank, pin-cushion, perfume-spray, gaming-dice, church-bell, food-jar and medicine-phial etc. Whichever form gets taken and accepted for usage is styled on that of inviting and welcome tactile and friendly toys, pleasant and agreeable buxom and well-rounded learning-aids, always sensible and no-nonsense in appearance, without off-putting sharpness or undue complexity to upset and ruin things before they even start.
Actually, targeted coffins, betraying their top-secret data would be far more honest than this toxic jail-bait set-up –which turns out to be some great, big, highly convenient labour-saving-device and exercise really –literally, only cosmetic improvements at best, whitewashing cover-up for counterproductive, treacherous and deceitful, vested-interest, purpose-serving and ultimately lethal stabs-in-the-back and sabotage, inflicted by stealth. Gift-horse stable (accepted unchecked, without substantial inspection, dentally or elsewhere) at once grants outsiders –and (even worse still) enemies easy identification of any specific member and aided distinguishing of one from another; double-agents know exactly where they are, what there is and how things lie, in event of counterfeiting and impersonation as infiltrators; plus furthering gradation, rift, inequality and conflict through extant rank, status and hierarchy amongst their own number; one way or another, potential threat –or even harm, poised to undermine everything.
Despite this difficulty, setback –and downright security-risk, nearly jeopardising safety and wellbeing, considerable progress and advancement somehow gets achieved, even turning this severe disadvantage to their favour. Crack-battalion fleet Trojan cavalry herd encircle around centralised hub, where after only a few get distracted off-guard, then falter, slow down, halt and stop dead in their tracks, that the rest stumble, lose balance and fall over, tripping up everybody else; all left unable to stand upright properly again for some time yet; ending up heaped into a restless soft pyramid straight mound sprawling rockery; they clamber upon each other; until managing to dismantle, get back up and find balance again, exit and move on. Lost-bearings regained, disorientation overcome, casualties recover, surviving. Anatomical fixture component exchange, redistribution and substituting evolve into a totemic multi-storey high-rise chest-of-drawers shelving-cabinet, which organic and animate ornaments and trophies shoulder responsibilities for and enjoy full-run of.
©, Copyright, Douglas Park, 2006