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Research class: The Bear and the Smooth Snake

The Bear and the Smooth Snake
Research class by Bart Van Dijck

Rituals and art are bracketed, set off from real or ordinary life.
A stage of some kind - a circle, a demarcated area, a museum, a platform - set off the holy from the profane, the performers from the audience, the extraordinary from the everyday. And both rituals and arts make conspicuous use of symbols: things have hidden or arcane meanings, reverberations beyond their apparent surface significance. 

Ellen Dissanayake.

In late October, summer may still be lingering but the days are getting shorter and we are heading towards the darkest time of the year. The bears are preparing for hibernation and we commemorate our ancestors.
The academic year has really started now and sometimes we are overwhelmed by all sorts of tasks, activities and commitments, both online and offline.

During the research week, 'The Bear and the Smooth Serpent' invites you to step into a moment of stillness, slowing down and introspection. We explore together how to create a ritual time and space, and how it can contribute to personal growth as well as a deeper connection with the world around us. There is a script that can be adapted to the moment and the group's input. Using found and natural materials, we make objects that are charged with meaning so that they can help us gain insights.
During a silence walk on the Kalmthoutse Heide, we become a Smooth Snake leaving its old skin behind so that it can grow.
In the 'Dying Bear Meditation', we prepare for hibernation, which evokes the symbolic and temporary death of nature.

'The Bear and the Smooth Snake' is part of the research project 'ÎNTERZONE (architecture of ritual space)'. In this doctoral project, artist Bart Van Dijck investigates how we can create a ritual time and space and what role artistic processes can play in it.

Some of the activities will take place on the move and outside academy hours, please keep Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings free.

Bart Van Dijck
Bart Van Dijck sees ritual gatherings as moments when communities express their identity and as moments when the individual and the group merge. Transitional rituals and shamanism have long fascinated him and have a profound influence on his current way of working. In his recent interactions, he questions traditional, ways of presenting art. His focus is not so much on creating artistic artefacts, but on exploring the possibilities of appreciating the intangible results of his work, often putting the experience of the participants at the centre.  Collaboration, participation and ritualisation are the strategies he employs to this end. Van Dijck explores the potential of art as a tool for personal transformation through collective interaction.

>> This research class is part of the Research Week during the annual research festival ARTICULATE.