Some coincidences. Thanks to endless postponements, just before traveling to Belgium to act in ‘Marcel’, became the only timeslot for me to finally act a Columbo-type personage in the film 'Columbo Eats Columbo', by Tony Gross, media artist and co-director (with Jen Wu) of Temporarycontemporay (who included me in their Metropolis Rise: New Art from London, survey exhibition and book, CQL Design Center, Shanghai, then Dashanzi 798 Art District, Beijing, 2006). Amongst other intentions, 'Columbo Eats Columbo' addresses issues of the passing of analogue technology and culture, despite fact much from that "golden-age" and "bygone-era" somehow stays (or gets kept and sustained) much more memorable, effective and influential than most of all whatevers been and gone since then. 'Marcel', questions and attacks romance, nostalgia and fetishism over the past (2 other "Marcels" are also referenced as well as Marcel Marien: Marcel Broodthærs and Marcel Duchamp). Temporarycontemporary showed 'Columbo Eats Columbo' in Art Brussels Art Fair –attracting much interest from people around me -who recognised "Columbo". The next year, in 2010, history repeated itself, when I acted this same Columbo-type personage again in Tony Gross's 'Kane's Revolution' (about "urban renewal" etc), just before traveling out to Brussels for another film project with Komplot -by my serial collaborative partner-in-crime, Michelle Naismith -who had contributed 'Puis Je Carresser L' Espoir' (for which I wrote 'Contr'acte Apreslude', in La Valise untitled broadsheet newspaper, 2004 -before and without then seeing the work until later) to Temporarycontemporary's 2005 Biennale! (where and when I 1st watched it, whilst manning the well-attended show).
Also, myself and others originally expected I’d be available to perform in person at Richard Crow and Lucia Farinati’s A Demised Premise. A Demised Premise was a pre-eviction “last rites” or “wake”, held to both celebrate and mourn what and where had once been Richard Crow’s 1990’s secretive, mysterious, private and hidden North London Institution of Rot performance “club” (and also living and working space, since the early 1980’s). Only, A Demised Premise had to be rescheduled to happen earlier than Richard Crow and Lucia Farinati 1st planned –clashing with when I’d be acting in ‘Marcel’. To solve that problem, myself and Richard Crow made advance audio recordings and footage of me; “stand-ins”, serving to represent me, whilst “in absentia”. Some can be seen on youtube.
Despite A Demised Premise being something I was involved with, at a place I’d been and known, I had to rely and depend only on other’s accounts, what documentary material there is, my own guesswork and imagination –then surrender and accept defeat to being none the wiser. I almost remember or dream A Demised Premise. In some ways, I was present and correct “there” and “then”. From what I heard and saw later, it seems the proceedings of A Demised Premise went well, attendance was good and it worked as an event and experience. Take heed and be warned, phœnixes can and shalt arise up from out of the remaindered, surviving, leftover and dormant ashes of Richard Crow’s Institution of Rot.
I caught the Eurostar® train in London, joined by Jean-Philippe Convert (who’d scriptwritten and screenplayed ‘Marcel’), cameraman Frederico D’Ambrozio, sound recording engineer Eric Tatepo Kembo, and 1 of my co-stars, the actress, Maaike Neuville (“Young Bored Girl”). They'd filmed at the 7 Stars in central London, where theres still a Marcel Marien work in the window (a cowskull -not some cyclops –wearing a 1 lensed SPECTACLE -like a larger version of his between-the-wars 'introuvable' surrealist-object), which the 7 Stars accepted from Marcel Marien en lieu of part or all of an unsettled drinks tab. We sat next to each other on the train and talked, I introduced myself to those still strangers to me, asking after how things had gone so far, discussing expectations etc of what would happen next and how that might be etc.
Komplot had the run of a building in the Bourse of Brussels, not far from the centre, housing most of the film sets, acting and shooting (bedroom, railway train carriage, prison cell, party, “television studio” etc), apart from the London episode, our big day-out seaside-special to Ostend and some other locations. I was pleasantly surprised to meet Thibaut Espiau, who I remember as a student from Nantes, then elsewhere in France, who'd moved to Brussels (Thibaut Espiau assisted Marilyne Grimmer on the backdrops). Also, it was the 1st time in Belgium I met up with the duo, Patrice Gaillard and Claude. A previous time fell through. I also know them from Nantes and elsewhere in France, I was aware of their move to Brussels and had met them earlier in 2009 (in Paris, but at some thing and where else different and separate to By Accident), but never yet their newfound city –until then. Another revelation was discussing William Blake with Jean-Philippe Convert –the 1st time I’ve ever heard somebody from mainland Europe even mention William Blake’s name.
1 episode was enacted and filmed in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek –just as the fire-alarm went off -myself not being required then for that meant I missed out on it. Some ideas ended up unused. Most regrettably (to me), was the short-term or permanent partial or entire ditching of a mass stop, search and arrest sequence, right up against a photomural of a bank's interior. Undeniably, in keeping with the incident referenced, because apparently, it dealt with a filmed event originated by or at least involving Marcel Broodthærs, using a real or mock up bank's "decor", as host to a swinging 60's "Pœtry Marathon / Olympics", for the "exchange" of pœtry -only for the cameras not to work or any footage getting lost or destroyed -leaving only maybe some memories, records, legends, mythology, uncertainty and even lies surviving –but I know of an editioned textwork by Marcel Broodthærs playing with multilingual terms for "exchange" and "pœm" (with his "M.B" signature repeated).
I spent much time conversing with Stuart “Kosten Koper” McGregor, both interpersonally and to record as audio for ‘Marcel’.
Dany Dermience, Sonia Dermience's father, very kindly drove us from Brussels for our big day-out seaside-special to Ostend (as the “Runner”). Ostend was chosen because of biographical and art links to the lives and works of 2 of the “Marcels”, Marien and Broodthærs. Once there, action-stations were on the sandy beach -whilst the sunbathers carried on as normal. Some people recognized Maaike Neuville from a T.V soap-opera series -and even wondered if I was somebody famous. The main scene was an “inaugural speech” by the “Director of Foundation Marcel”, Philip Van Den Bossche (real-life director of the James Ensor Museum, Ostend). Although we were there to work, concentrate, prepare and recover, the vast open-air, immediate environment and overall atmosphere all provided a welcome and needed break from mostly being within buildings. Before then, I'd only ever previously visited Ostend for leisure; but seafood, with Belgian beer and on the waterfront terraces proved still enjoyable, same as ever. While we sat and relaxed, Maaike Neuville got taken by surprise –by somebody’s small furry pet dog on an extended leash brushing past her.
Back at base, as soon as we finished, after a very cramped and hectic workload, as an extension of 1 of the later scenes in ‘Marcel’, all involved just had a party. Stuart “Kosten Koper” McGregor took myself and other cast-members aside for some recording, but otherwise the job was done (fait d’ accompli!). There were still several days left. When I was free, I arranged to reunite with the talented and determined, but underexposed Antwerp-based painter, Nono Pessoa. I arranged a hopefully beneficial introduction with Sonia Dermience. They’d met before, in Antwerpen, with N.G. More meetings with Kurt Ryslavy as well.
I was to briefly revisit Belgium again that year. Unconnected with Komplot, but for the event mentioned near the beginning, involving my 'Grand Complex Split Block (offshore hermitage internal affairs)' and Nico Dockx and Helena Sidiropoulos' Projet pour un livre / Projet pour un filme bookwork, Bozar, Brussels with Curious, RA 13 and Stockmans nv, Antwerp, 2009, Le Palais des Beaux Arts / Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, Brussels.
The "Avant Premier" screening of 'Marcel' with sideshow actions by contributors and cast-members was at Netwerk, Aalst, in 2010. Not long beforehand, myself or somebody else (but if so, whom?) found out about a Marcel Marien collage, 'L'Alostaise' (The girl from Aalst), in the Tate Gallery collection. Both myself and others involved were worried I mightn't be able to come over to Belgium, because there'd just been a serious train-crash near Brussels, affecting all railways. In the end, it was possible for me to travel, but the Eurostar® wouldn’t go beyond Lille, where there was a bus-replacement service. The bus took myself and other passengers to Brussels o.k, albeit taking longer. I otherwise prefer the buses, because they can be more leisurely and less stressful. This time, Komplot were in another building. Ellen Cantor was there, with Simon Popper, working on projects. The next day, we got trains from Brussels to Aalst. There'd been some public festivity and maybe carnival in Aalst, possibly with more to come. Confetti, glitter, masks and even a broken public telephone handset greeted us amongst much other debris, whether growing wild, torrential rainfall downpour, both of those, other causes or whatever. Although we were already pleasantly drunk, most time before the evening's event was spent on rehearsals and schedule (we each performed while ‘Marcel’ was running) and how the pieces would be.
For mine, I chose my subtitle-commentary for another site-visit with Nico Dockx. 'Newborn Voids Cancel and Replace Solid Matter', 2008. Mostly about the empty and abandoned Galleria Dell Arte Moderna Bologna -but much of my input plays games using the suspense and expectation, kept and broken promises, possible surprise and disappointment of serialisation, in installments and stages, with intervals etc –inherent to a slide-show sequence such as that. As well as the shorter entries, after some brief preparations described, quite early on, a long-ish paragraph starts (interrupted by more-of-the-same interior pictures), describing an exploitative sex-show, whereby some nymphet gets served up on offer before a voyeuristic and predatory congregation -only for an explained halt -then more of my usual architecture / landscape / weather / force-field etc formulæ to take over for the rest of my commentary.
Had there been time, to be in keeping with Marcel Marien and ‘L’Imitation du Cinema’, I’d also have recited, ‘Lowerarchy’. Shorter than ‘Newborn Voids Cancel and Replace Solid Matter’, alongside 3 other works, ‘Lowerarchy’, 1st appeared in The Bastard / Magnetic Speech, group anthology, edited by Dr Clementine Deliss, Metronome, London, 2001. ‘Lowerarchy’ is a description and critique (partly using readymade words and phrasing, from hymns, prayers and other such material) of an earlier visual artwork by me, sharing the same name. Humble or even trivial domesticity is used to parody religious iconography, as well as identify various social and human realities with derision, whimsy, microcosm, bathos and metaphor. Like much else that I do, the reality is infinitely more simple that that.
Sharing the bill was the best (and only known?) Douglas Park impersonator. The "glitch" electronica singer-songwriter, Pete Um. Taller than me, but wearing a similar pinstriped black suit, Pete Um did much of the voiceovers for the 'Marcel' soundtrack narration (“The Voice of Marcel”), as well as performing some of his own songs. Merryl Hardt (another music-soundtrack contributor) and Eléonore Saintagnan (who was “script supervisor”) did a song and dance routine -with themselves as Oriental lantern accordion jack-in-the-box caterpillars. The young Frenchman, Benjamin Seror, with his number about a "time-machine". Also, flamboyance from Grégoire Motte.
Our audience included Ellen Cantor, Simon Popper, Vadim Vosters (who brought along some theatre, film and showbiz types), the parents of Maaike Neuville (who was in India at the time), Michelle Naismith (with whom I was to resume working with again, before the year was out), Patrice Gaillard and Claude -and Man Somerlinck of London's Fordham Projects -with his young son -Marcel. The screening of 'Marcel' and our performances all went well. Despite earlier uncertainty, it ended up possible to show Marcel Marien's original 'L'Imitation du Cinema' (parody of umpteenth-rate religious-instruction material, fleetingly pornographic, with many deadpan oneliners, very scandalous and troublemaking when new, in 1960). Somehow we managed to get back to Aalst station for a late or even last train back to Brussels. Nearly back at base, without any mishap or injury, I managed to walk into an iron bollard, but recovered better again after a few minutes. We went to a nearby bar, by which time I'd sobered-up.
When it was time to go, in hardly any time at all, I somehow lost my boarding pass card to join the bus replacement service back to Lille. Usually, I’m more dysfunctionally overcareful contending with such procedures and conditions. Having my tickets and passport meant they’d accept me. I sat next to some quiet young German, watching U.S screwball comedy on his laptop. On the train, some senior (but seemingly no wiser or mature) passenger argued with personnel about something so trivial, minor and non-existent to be the sort of thing making me say "if I were capable of or bothered to do that I'd find some other and better use for such ability". Otherwise, the journey passed uneventfully.
©, Copyright, Douglas Park
©, Copyright, Komplot, 2009
A docu-drama about the factual and fictive associations between three celebrated artists who gravitated around the surrealist movement in Belgium and France: Marcel Duchamp, Marcel Mariën and Marcel Broodthaers.
A rocambolesque mise en scène, hallucinatory décor and spatiotemporal collages make the reappearance of these ghosts of surrealism possible.
'Marcel' takes as its point of departure a re-interpretation of Marcel Mariën's controversial film, 'L’imitation du cinéma' (The Imitation Of Cinema) (1959), itself a satire of the book 'The Imitation of Christ' (Thomas Kemper, 1424).
Playing on the intentionally outdated aesthetics of this historic film, Marcel approaches the past in a similar way to Mariën who based his film on a book from the Middle Ages to critique surrealism and bourgeois Christian society.
|Original version||Dutch, English, French|
|Category||Shorts , Lab|
|Year of production||2010|
|World première / first public presentation||2010-02-20|
|Cast||Maaike Neuville, Anne Grandhenri, Ivo Provoost, Douglas Park, Bruno Marin, Merryl Hardt, Phillip van den Bossche, Antoine Boutte, Jennifer Beauloye, Sonia Dermience, Véronique Depiesse, Heidi Ballet, Constance Barrère Dangleterre, Jean-Philippe Convert.|
|Photography||Jean-Philippe Convert & Kosten Koper|
|Editing||Jean-Philippe Convert & Kosten Koper|
|Running time film||26'00"|
|Release format||Beta Digit|
|Sound format||Dolby Digital|
|Colour||Colour and black-white|
|Supported by||Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF)|
|Screenplay||Jean-Philippe Convert & Kosten Koper|
295 Avenue Van Volxemlaan
A film by The Collective Marcel
€5 / €4.25 ¢ (concessionary reduced tarif)
Houtkaai, B-9300 Aalst, Belgium
T: +32 53 709 773 F: +32 53 709 772
L’imitation du cinéma: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Marien
Marcel In Café: Constance Barrere Dangleterre
Young Bored Girl: Maaike Neuville
The Ghost Of Marcel Mariën: Bruno Marin
TV Presenters: Jean-Philippe Convert & Ivo Provoost
Director Of Foundation Marcel: Phillip Van Den Bossche
Independant Art Curator: Anne Grandhenry
Douglas Park: Himself
Soldier / Priest: Filip Gilissen
Performers In Bank: Meryll Hardt, Thibaut Espiau, Gérard Meurant, Laurent Anciaux, Marilyne Grimmer, Grégoire Motte, Benjamin Seror
The Police: Komplot
Production: Sonia Dermience, Constance Barrère Dangleterre
Script Supervisor: Eléonore Saintagnan
Camera: Federico D’Ambrozio
Lighting: Lou Vernin
Sound: Eric Tatepo Kembo, Kosten Koper
Decors: Marilyne Grimmer, assistant: Thibaut Espiau
Costumes: Annemie Verbeke
Make-up: Marie Brabant
Hair: Ludovic Constant
Catering: Sofie Haesaerts
Runner: Dany Dermience
Soundscore: Kosten Koper with music from Meryll Hardt, Anne Sorel, Pete Um
Editing / Post Production: Kosten Koper