“Nothing will come of nothing, speak again.”
Keywords:Sublime space, Fragmentary, spatial practice, Spatial design
This visual essay is a representation of a two month residency and the resulting exhibition in the Gasthuis chapel in Borgloon (Belgium). The project was a collaboration between Belgian artist Sara Bomans and Remco Roes within the context of Roes’ practice-based PhD in architecture entitled: The scenography of sublime space. This research attempts to translate the philosophical notion of the sublime into a spatial form. The large and uncanny sublime is approached through the notion of immanence – ‘the sublime is now’. By focussing on the ungraspable ‘now’, the given (physical) context of any moment becomes the material fuel for exploring the possibilities of constructing a spatial sublime. This journey continually balances between acceptance of the status quo and acting upon it. Through this alternative reading of ‘the sublime’ the concept becomes useful within Roes’ spatial practice that emphasises the fragmentary, incomplete and the everyday as opposed to the grandeur most typically associated with it.
The title of the exhibition – “Nothing will come of nothing, speak again” – reflects the attempt at a continual seeking of meaning from the ‘nothingness’ of the current moment and the given situation on site. In the case of Borgloon this local context consisted of the empty chapel and over a dozen churches in the direct vicinity, suffering from shrinking congregations and facing re-use scenarios over the coming years. We decided to visit these churches and cross-reference our experiences and impressions with the spatiality of the Gasthuis chapel.
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