Site specific work for Fort 5, presented during Fort Visions festival, in Edegem, Belgium, 19th May 2019
Appropriating the context of the historical site, a fortress build in the ring of Antwerp — and rendered obsolete from the moment its construction was finished — the work reflects on the performativity of warfare, inviting the audience to witness a break of expectations and surrender to a sensual encounter with the architecture.
The work involves three stages of experience, in which the visitor is guided through the space. A sober entrance, an iconic barrier and fence; followed by the encounter with a wearable structure, functioning between an exoskeleton and a crown given by the host; followed by an installation to be experienced in the horizontal position, lying on the precarious ground of the fortress.
The first stage symbolizing a portal to a new world, one that is unknown, vague, perhaps threatening. The second stage is welcoming the visitor to the ritual, receiving the gift, belonging, making kin. The third stage represents a symbolic death, which involves lying down and meditating within the walls of the fort, while contemplating the structure which hangs from the ceiling. This stage turns out to be a soothing, pleasant experience, despite its symbolism.
The work is completed by a generative soundscape composed by artist / collaborator Mike Rijnierse and a smellscape of ceder wood, appealing to the historicity of the place.
The word nhemu (from the Brazilian indigenous language Tupi) means ‘peace treaty’ or ‘agreement for peace’.