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SHORT CUT LEUVEN by Stijn Van Dorpe
‘Short Cut Leuven’ follows the idea of an imaginary straight line across the city centre of the Belgian town of Leuven. A string of walkers, inhabitants of the city, move on a trajectory from
Point A (Naamse Vest) to point B (Engels Plein). The shortest way between point A and B necessarily passes through private territory. The walkers for instance enter through the front door of a house, walk through the adjacent garden and exit back outside through the house of a rear neighbor.
Like many of my works, this performance is about the desire to transform reflection that is contained within the isolation of the arts into a word outside the arts. This longing for a broadening and openness is presented almost literally by traversing the intimate environment. On the one hand dichotomies of more general concepts such as intimacy/openness and more urban concepts such as private/public are blurred, while on the other hand what is considered private or personal loses its obviousness. This mixing up of absolute values or certainties makes tangible real sensitivities that living in a city entails.
In addition to this, there is the idea of ‘the straight line’, ‘the straight track’ or ‘the shortest track’ that can be considered as a metaphor for the modernistic ideal. That this ideal is not realizable here is obvious. The trajectory is inevitably full of barriers. Both the physical constitution of these obstacles as well as the possibilities they create to make associative ways of thinking make this work what it is, a work that has as its subject the breaking open and making visible of realities and parallel realities.
The performance ‘Short Cut Leuven’ has resulted in an installation that entails a film of the performance, the entire e-mail correspondence on the project and 15 copperplates with an inscription. This inscription describes how the trajectory passes through private property. As such, the copperplates reflect the negotiations preceding the performance and symbolize the social obstacles (the houses and institutes we walked through).
We are currently developing this project for re-presentation in the UK.