art machine

The very first
crox activity, Art Machine, March 1990, was a series of small installation-like
interventions done by Hans van Heirseele and Guido De Bruyn; the project had 7

1 - art machine (March 1990). At the end of
February 1990 de first floor of number 7 at Beverhoutplein (a square at
Sint-Jacobs, Gent) is vacant, after Chris Maes has made it uninhabitable in his
typical idiosyncratic and ingenious way.

Hans van Heirseele lives on the second
floor. He and Frank Van den Eeckhout who runs an antiques shop at the ground
floor, they often play billiards together, had been discussing the Ghent art
scene for some time - it rather smelled like a rotten cheese. Hans surveys the
empty room at the first floor. 15 naked bicycle wheels are left in the small
square. He recycles the wheels and takes them up to the empty room.  Guido De Bruyn calls at the door, he has been working
on a documentary of a recent theatre piece by Dirk Tanghe. Thus croxhapox takes
off. Hans and Guido start messing about, that goes without saying. Off goes Guido again,
professionally. When Guido calls again, just before midnight, Hans has been
tinkering all evening. In the bare
room there are a number of items one could call the seeds of mini
installations. One of the most striking objects created that night is an egg on
a plinth. On top of the bald eggshell he fixes a of those folding barber’s
knives, his granddads, still razor sharp and with a worn handle. Bruyn and van
Heirseele continue till deep into the night. Everything is of use: small pieces
of wood (Guido uses them to construct a sculpture on the window sill), an
electric drill, an old mirror (reflecting the dangling bicycle wheels) or a
dice that ends up in a flower pot with black earth. Meanwhile the gentlemen
debate about (a) a title for the resulting spectacle and, (b) a name for the entire
happening. They can’t agree on either. Hans posits croxhapox, a >neologism that turned up in former >correspondence.
Guido thinks this is too ridiculous for words. Hans proposes art machine as a
title. Guido grabs the drillgun and threatens. It is late and they have to find a compromise. Hans has painted the text
for a banana I can be easily seduced on one of the walls and Guido finally
admitted croxhapox wasn’t such a bad idea. He is still in doubts about art
machine. Croxhapox opens its doors the next morning. Nothing much happens in Ghent at the time and that is reflected in the
number of visitors: 7 interested connoisseurs visit the event. van Heirseele decides
the time is ripe to continue. 7 visitors for a scene that is only known by
insiders, that’s not bad at all. In this way art machine wins the prize for the
lowest >number of visitors ever. 1 month later (Carels, crox 3) there are a