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Pondering/Theremin. Nostalgia and the art of traces

The past never completely disappears. Somewhere it still dwells, as a deeper stratum in the present. A barrage can evoke the image of a flowing river; a fertile field can flower on a mass grave.

Artists can unearth that past. The research of Lennert De Vroey is about precisely such artistic work that deals with what lies in the past, and thus conserves some of the things which have been lost. More specifically it concerns work which relates itself to specific places and that goes into dialogue with the memory of those places. By tracing the tracks of what once was, histories are laid bare and the (absent) past surfaces in the present.

De Vroey approximates these trailing practices by an exchange between analysis (from among others the works of writer W.G. Sebald and anthropologist Anna Tsing) and creation. Thus, he experiments with different forms of text, with the relation to a place and its memory being the central issue.

As a touch stone, De Vroey turns to the concept of nostalgia, a desire towards something that is not here anymore or never was. Which role does nostalgia play when searching for traces? How can nostalgia and an art of traces contribute to the dynamic and critical relation to the past, on the individual and collective level? This pilot project provides De Vroey with the opportunity to explore, deepen and delineate the topic. The goal is to draw up a methodology with regard to follow-up research.

Promotor: Peter Kolpa