The Lamp and The Mirror
Trundled through a but-scape, re-gifted the sight-line of childhood without its attendant innocence, my eyes met those of an infant, who smiled back mischievously at my reflected image. Vandewalle’s Peri-sphere is a towering circuit of mirrors in which, lying down, one is wheeled around the boutique shopping street of Galerie St. Hubert. A pair of builder’s muffs bury sound, delivering the ocular total supremacy. What is left of the audio comes in through the back of the scull: rolling wheels, wood moving against wood as a mirrored plate is shifted and one is suddenly no longer below, but gazing down from far above the shuffling crowds. Now the narrative is third-person, you swing over a group of tourists gathered around a guide toward whom all heads are angled, you swoop elliptically along their outer edge. One turns, taps another’s shoulder, and the crowd peel back. You watch them from above looking at your own prostrate body, you look down on them looking down on you. They stoop curiously trying to peer below the curtain cast across your shoulders, to the left, to the right, then up: they’ve spotted you. They wave smilingly up at you, you feel your own hand, somewhere down there, gesturing back, then you glide away, further down the hall.
The mirror flips again and you are watching the shop windows no longer moving towards, but trailing away from you. Everything is retrospect. Another flip and you’re left with your own handsome face, light playing across it, bracketed by the wooden joists of the machine; everything is still and yet the sensation of movement remains. Then – woosh – you leave yourself again and are vaulted up, gazing at the ornate ceiling, clouds patterning across the glass. The people are gone and the eves part above you. Click. Click. The shutter is closed, you sit up, stand out of the machine, hand over the earmuffs and let the sound flood in again. Someone else is already inside, Vandewalle pushing them around. You stumble off along the shopping hall, disoriented, not knowing yourself for a while.
Anthony for DRAFF
Performatik 17 runs in various venues across Brussels until the 1st April. Images: Anthony Colclough
Posted: 30th March 2017