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Soon: Building Friendship Fair, 11-12.11.2017, 2pm-8pm at Friendship Building, Rijnkaai 37, 2000 Antwerp

Eros Errata

Installation based on two ‘naked’ characters relating to each other through the use of objects and their environment.

Eros Errata (film and installation) 
Film — Duration: 8 min 15 sec / Format: standard video / Year: 2008
Installation (prints and objects) — Dimensions: various / Materials: various / Year: 2008
(images above: Eros Errata, film stills )


I would like to describe a picture to you. It is a picture of a man and a woman. It was taken in a ‘head in the hole’ photo booth of the kind you find on piers and in amusement parks. When you put your head in a hole, it completes the painted image on the front of the board.

The man in the picture fills the hole on the left. It’s probably not the first time that the princess in the pink dress with the pearl necklace turns out to have a beard. The well-rounded chin of the woman rests on the lower edge of the hole on top of the muscular body of a handsome knight. They do not look into the camera. He looks at the floor. She looks away from him with tears in her eyes. A few moments before, the operator of the booth interrupted them during an argument. Surprised, he lured them to the booth. On the front of the board the princess and the knight are holding hands.

 It would have been a fantastic picture if it had not been just a figment of my imagination. Without any doubt I would have added it to the series of posters which I showed in the exhibition Eros Errata. The posters showed enlarged prints of pictures that had originally appeared in the Belgian weekly Le Patriote Illustré, the kind of pictures you would find in the human interest section. Most of the people in these pictures are posing, usually while engaging with objects.

Eros Errata, exhibition views Croxhapox, Ghent / 2008

You might wonder what preceded the shots, and how necessary conditions were met in order to capture the extraordinary aspect of the situations. For example, I’m thinking of the two voracious youngsters, with eyes bigger than their bellies, who are aiming large portions of spaghetti at their open mouths. Let’s try to imagine how it could have happened. First, the portion they took was too small. Then it was too large. In the third shot, the boy to the right held the spaghetti too high. On the fourth, the photographer saw that the left boy’s arm was in front of his face and asked him to direct his body at the camera. The shot had to be taken again because the dish was not in the middle of the picture. And, oh, they actually didn’t look poor enough to be so hungry. That is why someone ripped the boy’s sleeve. By then, the boys had cramps in their arms, and they took a fifteen-minute break before trying again.

Eros Errata, pictures from the Belgian weekly Le Patriote Illustré

 

Or let us speculate about the picture of the balancing act. The man on the picture had probably practiced the act many times before. He had fallen many times and had broken many vases. First the vases were too large. Then he had trouble holding his neck straight. Finally, he mastered the act. But that was not enough. I don’t know if it was the man himself or the photographer who suggested that he should just look as if he was standing on the ground. So he practiced holding his arms and legs as stiff as wood. His tie was pinned to his shirt and his trousers to his socks. To make the act look even more unreal, they bought a new vase that reflected the folds of his pants in its uneven surface. And then he climbed on a pedestal. He broke two of these vases, which were much bigger than the ones he had used before.

I am thinking about all the other pictures that show people ceaselessly interacting with the world that surrounds them, chasing images, pursuing their own and other people’s desires, establishing relations, applying formulas, introducing rituals…

Eros Errata, costumes / 2008

Still, I want to return to the couple in the photo booth. What if the decor had not been a painted board, but a three-dimensional space filled with objects? Let us imagine that their clothes were not painted on a board but dyed over with nakedness. Having ended up in this room they start to move, rearrange, replace, transform, complement and imitate the objects surrounding them. I try to imagine the image they are chasing, the desire that drives them.

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Eros Errata, film excerpt / 2008