Moments before the apocalypse

I had some mighty fine time again, residing at ZSenne Artlab for two weeks. Next to presenting The Archive of Untold Stories and The Extinction Survival Archive, I worked on a new film within the framework of the latter project: “Moments before the apocalypse”. I started shooting footage during a summer escape in Portugal and swiftly, the idea rose to do something meaningfull with it. But it wasn’t untill the world’s environmental problems caught up on us at our little sanctuary, that the right counterpoint for the storyline popped up. The Austrian world summit was going on and frankly, the news coming from there only made things more grimm and doomy, while I was having a great time enjoying nature and all it’s creatures. Greta Thunberg’s speech was a kick in the gut again, so I fiddled about with al the ‘acting’ metaphores it contained. Animals don’t act, but people do.

I got to finish a first draft of the movie and presented it, mainly to get some feedback from the visitors. At the moment the film is not ready. Running 45 minutes, it’s quite long and now I’m hesitating to go either for timestretching slow cinema or to focus on the story and drasticly ‘kill some darlings’. I will present it here after a second session of editing and mixing. Watch this space.

During those weeks I had some nice encounters. One was with a family from Glasgow on holiday in Brussels, who were curious so I presented some stories from the archive while the kids were having a blast with the children’s section of the Extinction Survival Archive. They were working in the arts too so we quickly found common ground. I forgot their names already of course, I hope they keep in touch.

On the last day, an ukrainien man came round, who only knew a few words of dutch (Museum? ja!), so it was quite difficult to interact about the archives. But he hung around for a while, checking out things. He asked for some water, I gave him a beer (Pivo?! santé!). And then some tobacco. After smoking outside, he came in and layed himself down on the cold floor, to listen to the film that was playing. The smoke must have hit him a bit too hard, he was nauseous. A little later, he asked for some paper, I only had an old covid-test certificate that had a blank back. (I recycle scrutinously.) He sat down, took his four colour bic pen and started drawing. He went looking for leaves and took some tobacco, mixed with beer, to color it in.

He drew my portrait. It’s the small things that make us happy at the archives…