#8: Lost in the city

Thus began our meeting in Valencia. On our way to meet the double, a kind of ‘parallel’ Frans Van Lent in a jazz and chess club in the old town and… we got lost strolling through the city.

Sunday, September 18th 2016
We met at 11:00, opening hour at the IVAM (Valencian Institute of Modern Art). Frans, Nico, Pepe, Joana and me. TheParallel Show#8 had begun and from this moment, a story begins, a detective story, a story of the explorers of museums.

At the moment we crossed the museum frontdoor, none of us knew each other. We had to investigate and follow the trace of the artworks, building relationships and dialogues through a coded language between space, works of art, visitors and museum staff. At first, I went through a phase that consisted of me identifying with the environment, an attempt to achieve mimesis through empathy. For a moment, one ceases to be one self to be an other. The first feeling was invisibility. By the time I stopped being visible, I started to become audible: every certain interval of time I dropped my notebook.

The first contact with the museum occurred through the light room. Light and darkness that created paths of absence and presence.
In this room everything is calm, nothing moves and the light remains.
Still, unmoved.

It was in the hall of memory I began to dispel. An ethereal installation where one becomes volatile. A dance between fabrics that weave a reverie. Disappearance. And a figure emerges from the fabrics. We exchanged gazes and turned our backs to each other. We started walking in opposite directions, surrounding the maze. As we crossed paths, my notebook fumbled from my hands.

Points of departure and arrival (departure / Arrivé) that lead into a silent, cold and lonely labyrinth. A presence guards the entrance, so no one gets lost in between the walls’ stares. Absolute visibility.

A change of scenery is perceived when crossing the hall. The coldness thaws, it reaches the hall of matter and figures, of lights and deep shadows. From the profound silence, one can perceive life, sound and motion.

Later, I begin to wander through the museum and suddenly I emerge in a city inside a city within a city. Contemplation and identification with the space inside space within space.
Walks inside walks within walks.
Readings that initialize or end a path of the reverse.  A trajectory that continues both around the building and it’s underground.
Crossing the museum’s boundaries, we found the room of the wall, where order and linearity acquire a resounding presence. The room of order transforms into the room of rhythm and sequence.

It´s 14:00 h. We meet, and in my notebook the following phrases can be found:

Making contact with the space.
Observing, exploring, living, enjoying, experimenting.
Throwback to childhood. Play, fun.
It’s like visiting the museum for the first time.
In search of an event, a happening.
The museum as a jungle.
The museum as a space of play.
Boundaries breached. Choreography of art.
Art, artists, visitors.
Being part of the exhibition space.
Re-defining it. Re-living it. Perverting it.

We sat down and started brainstorming. Together we created a whole. A new language of relationships between space, time and bodies. Producers of meaning finally turned into word hunters.
LINE (Joana)
WET (Nico)
TURN (Frans)

LINE: In the room of light everything endures. Stillness, silence. Mysteriously, the light begins to spin. The rubbing of skin glows in elliptical shapes. The room comes to life. Let there be light, and there was light.
FAREWELL: In the labyrinth of memory, figures appear and disappear, come and go. They cloak themselves. Movements generated by the intertwining of streets that hide behind volatile silhouettes.
WET: The hall of matter and figures sounds like life itself, transforming into melody and movement. The room’s inhabitants produce footprints and footsteps, while a truncated voice is mellowed with sugar. Notebooks that lose their balance and shoe instruments make up an orchestra.
INTERFAXION: The wall hall has a linear rhythm. It is a sequence of works. And movements. It’s the dance hall in which new dancers join the repetition of pictorial contemplation.
TURN: The parallel show turned into a fun experience and a practice of freedom…a journey into childhood, to observe with new eyes and bring forth new issues. The parallel show doesn’t answer. It asks.
It is a language in which the body acquires importance in the exhibition space, where the event and serendipity itself shine and dance between the gaps of art.

And like all detective stories, a ludic promenade took place, in which the pursuers probably became the pursued.

A walk carried out by the detectives of museums, seekers of adventure, sliding under the attentive watch of the guards. A dance that was immortalized from the virtual. A drawing that seems to manifest that our actions took place in a parallel museum.


Photo’s: ET, FVL

#8: jokgkgdd ggggjjshh akjsa ajs ajjask

I’m on the terrace of the museum. It’s morning.
Blood is dripping in my underwear; it just came today, at 5:40, five minutes after my friend told me she is having her period.
I is late 40 minutes, I forgot my sunglasses, it makes me squeeze my eyes.
I take an Ibuprofen and a cup of tea. Then I visit the exhibitions on my own.


I discover this picture of Russell Lee: once a year the women in Spanish-American families re-plastered the adobe houses, 1940.
I’m still thinking about the ParallelShow-project and the methodology that Frans just explained to us. Maybe the ParallellShow does the same as the women on this photo: put another layer on the experiences of the museum, using collaborative technics. Enough ‘invisble’ to remain unnoticed for most people but enough ‘visible’ for some people to discover that there is something strange…

Then it is lunch time. There is nothing vegetarian. “That is fish, I don’t want anything with eyes”.
“We will make something, something specially for you”. That’s chicken in my soup!

After the brainstorm lunch we start in the Boltanski exhibition, we enter a dark room full off pendent lights. The lamps are at different distances from the floor. I walk around, touching them softly. I try to make them all move slowly as long as possible. Suddenly she appears, she has black straight hair, the security woman, she folds her arms (two books drop from Elia’s hands). She approaches from the other side. She passes just behind me (pens are falling). She  walks around with her arms crossed. I moved the lights with my head, my back, my ear. She stops them. She is watching me, but she is not sure that i’m involved. I walk around in the room and she is following me.
I notice her feet under the textile when I am trying to avoid her. We were playing around.
Like a tangled line, the choreography of movements starts with Pepe and Elia and finishes with the security woman.


Then I pass the Boltansky installation with boxes. At the last part I sit down on the floor. I touch it and I feel how cold it is. My back against the Boltansky piece, thinking about the pictures of Gabriel Cualladó I saw earlier this morning  (series of Arco 94′). There it appears: seated figures, leaning against a wall. give my back a small rest, with my arms on my knees. The room is dark, no one saw me.

We arrive at the next exhibition, Lost in the city. Everything is really white in here, clean. At one end of the room Frans is standing close to a building, changing the perception of the scale between the object and his body.
At the other end I focus on photographs of houses by Bernd and Hilla Becher. I look at them and try to understand them, I translate the visual rhythm of the structures and make stretching movements.
I stretch for 8 minutes reading the photography as a musical score. Arms in the air.


People are looking at me. One to them is again the security woman. I feel the movements of the security staff when we pass the doors. We start with sound actions: noises of shoes on the floor, hard coughs and falling books. We try to return to spaces we were before, walk in the wrong direction.
I pretend a severe cough attack at the moment I am thinking we could be exposed. The room is a big space, we have to make a lot of noise. Many coughs: jokgkgdd ggggjjshh akjsa ajs ajjask.
The woman comes really close and asks me if I need something. She brings me water, another security woman offers me a sweet.
(the recording of Nico Parlevliet).

We do many more actions around the museum. No doubt, this was the most wonderful experience visiting an exhibition. The cooperation between us was growing really fast. The spaces continuously determined our actions.
A really pleasure to collaborate in a project like the Parallel Show.

Photo’s: JM, NP, FVL

#8: From performers to conspirators

It was a strange feeling.
A long time ago it was my profession to explain the museum’s programmed exhibitions, I was managing the so called Dynamic Lectures and I studied the content and the installation of each one.
Now the whole museum, including visitors and staff, were part of our strategies.

That’s how it all begun: Frans, Nico, Elia, Joana and I met at the museum early in the morning. Frans explained the project. First of all, we were going to visit the spaces, all exhibitions, and later, at lunch time, we had to put forward our ideas of how to participate and which actions we wanted to carry out regarding the contents, the objects and the exhibition room itinerary. Of course anonymity was required. We had to perform our actions unnoticed, to try to remain invisible.

As soon as I started walking through the galleries, my mood changed and I felt an intense concentration… Suddenly I was performing. In one room I was walking like a penguin, slowly with short steps. Another time I moved like a billiard ball, in straight lines, changed directions as soon as I bumped into a wall or an installed object.
I looked like a strange visitor, an old man with an eccentric walk and an extravagant outfit.
Anyway, I tried to be invisible to everybody

I noticed a woman standing next to me, and I spontaneously started to walk like her, making the same movements and building an unusual choreography…

It was a strange feeling. I already changed my behaviour, the museum was a magic cage where everything had a soul to dance with.  People, spaces, and objects, composed a beautiful scene in which I ran around excitedly. It was intense.
I imagined all of us walking together or watching the exhibition with same movements.

Later we met again. We talked about our proposals and we performed all of them.  We performed a concert with different noises, we also performed a  bench choreography and finally we were looking for secret words: each one of us, should look for the others and steal their secret words.

As soon as I started doing it, I realised I wasn’t a performer: I walked, kept out of sight,  I avoided other’s glances,
I avoided security
guards and I behaved like a spy, I behaved like a conspirator.
The whole day we were museum’s conspirators and we all tried to be invisible.

Video: PR, photo: FVL

#8: Exchanging Words

We started with 4 collective works. In one of the works Joana asked us to very softly touch the hanging lamps in Les Tombeaux of Christian Boltanski. The installation regained a touch of life. Even though it temporarily changed Boltanski’s work, It felt beautiful and respectful.
Part of the exhibition Lost in the City was a screen showing a (looped) 12 minutes fragment of the film In the Street (1947) by Helen Levitt. After I watched the film, it started again with a text about the subject: the life in the poor quarters of the big city. This text ended with: ‘The attempt in this short film is to capture this image’.
So I watched the film again the full 12 minutes and then made a photo of that particular frame.

The same exhibition showed the work Modern Tower 8 by Julian Opie. The sculpture was placed directly on the floor without the use of a base. Presented that way, it created a very convincing illusion of size.
I decided to stand very close to the tower to influence that illusion: viewers might look at me and by doing that they would miss the sensation of size.
They could also focus at the tower. That would include me in the illusion, would turn me into a giant.


When we were spread out over the various parts of the museum, I sent around a text message.
In this message I asked everyone to choose a word and then to start looking for the other participants.
When we met someone, we should discretely exchange our personal words.

I was studying a work of Gregory Crewdson: – an old man crossing a wet street-, when I felt a person coming very close. Elia whispered a word in my ear. When I answered she quickly disappeared. I then walked out of the room and I noticed Joana. We just passed each other closely and softly spoke our words, almost at the same moment.
On another floor I saw Nico walking. I entered the space through smoked glass doors, and walked straight towards him. We both spoke out the words and I turned around and left again through the doors.
Then for a long time I was looking for Pepe. I vainly walked through all exhibition rooms and, a bit confused, I sat down on a bench in the hall. Just seconds later Pepe sat down next to me, looking a bit triumphant.
We said our words and these were the final words for both of us.

Elia and I exchanging words in front of a work by Gregory Crewdson

Photo’s: FVL, NP, ET

#8: Départ-Arrivée

There I wandered through the galleries of IVAM, the Institut Valencia d’Art Modern.
We individually visited the exhibitions and conceived our contributions to the parallelshow#8.
Later we all gathered in the museum restaurant: three artist from Valencia, Elia Torrecilla, Pepe Romero and Joana Mollà and two from the Netherlands: Frans van Lent en Nico Parlevliet.  During our collective lunch, we discussed the architecture, the exhibitions and our possibilities.
We listed some plans to be carried out by the whole group and several plans to be performed by individual artists.

We departed Dordrecht and arrived in Valencia. That happened to be the name of the installation of Christian Boltanski; Départ-Arrivée. Nice to see how cautious Pepe is performing in it.

I planned to do a sound piece in the exhibition rooms of Julio Gonzalez.
This performance was based on the sounds I noticed earlier in that same space: noises unnoticeably made by the visitors of the museum.
The participants in the performance were: Frans with a dry cough, Joana with a severe cough, Elia playing with her pen and dropping her notebook on the floor, Pepe and Nico creaking and squeaking the soles of their shoes.
Our performance attracted much attention from the attendants, who nevertheless responded very patient and helpful.

The sound was recorded on three smartphones moving around separately. Afterwards the recordings were superimposed.

In the exhibition Lost in the City we used 4 benches in consecutive galleries. Sitting on one of the benches you could only see the nearest bench in the next room. We all sat down and repeated the movements of the person on the next bench.
This way every movement travelled through the galleries. Afterwards I realised that it could have been even nicer if we had used the movements of an arbitrary visitor as a starting point.

Four benches in my notebook

Apart from our performances there were several coincidental parallel events happening in the exhibition, like this couple sitting in front of a projection of the film Just Imagine by David Butler (1930).

While departing IVAM at the end of the day,
I made a photo of my reflection on the banisters.

Photo’s: NP