Wim Goossens

KULeuven Faculty of Architecture

720°, letter to Ludwig Vandevelde

720 ° is a letter, opening a conversation between an architect and a sculptor that has not (yet) taken place. The former is the (co-)author of ‘Circulus Maximus’ (Goossens & Hendrickx, 2014), an architectural installation in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp. The latter is the author of ‘Elément Cosmologique’ (Vandevelde, 1989), a wooden sculpture shown in that setting. The letter muses on the particular relationship between an artwork and its display, on a spatial scenography becoming a choreography of the viewer, on display as an artistic practice – or not.

In the film Martha (Fassbinder, 1974), Michael Ballhaus uses a 360-degree tracking camera shot to capture the first encounter of Helmut and Martha, the protagonists of this drama. Simultaneously, both actors move in a circular fashion themselves. By drawing the parallel between this orchestrated view of the camera and the choreography of the viewer that emanates out of the display of Elément Cosmologique at Circulus Maximus, the spatial affect in this exhibition setting will be exposed. This letter wishes to contribute to the understanding of the relationships that exist between the ‘spatial affect’, ‘looking at’ and ‘seeing with’ (Merleau-Ponty, 1964).

The presentation at the conference will consist of the reading of a first version of the letter, while associative images and impressions of Circulus Maximus are shown. The content of the letter as well as the method of letter writing as a way of knowledge production, contextualization and knowledge sharing in design based research, will be discussed.