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De Boom, Hugo

Author of Steps, Paces, Looking [Stappen, Passen, Kijken], the second preface to the En Passant catalogue (1991):

(fragments of a myth)

I.

Urbanisation leads to a neutralised, homgenised space, and each activity within its reification -the city- is through the usage of specific codes assigned a particular time-space.

In time as much as in space, ghetto's get built - mutatis mutandis. The city is nothing but a concatenation of  islets (living space, workfloor, playground, cemetary), whoever enters an isle is assigned a function. (Crossing the shop threshold turns one into a customer).

 

II.

The ghetto of the shop windows: concentrated in space and perimetered by parallel streets where the only colour comes from window shutters and wall cancer.

A remarkable updraught of shopping centers, all but alien to man and still suggesting the differentiating signs and symbols. Demonstrating lifestyle. Ornament and concealment.

 

III.

The city itself, according to Baudrillard, is no longer a production unit but a wildly complex conglomerate of  code systems, complementary, contradictory and mutually interacting. 

A polygon of sigsn, media, codes. A muddle, a mess, a clutter. 

Solely on such a constellation -when real production in the city is replaced by media leading to the assimilation of signs- a project like 'En Passant' is possible and meaningful.

The same goes for a previous project where posters where distributed round the city.  (Copy Art Project)

A specific space (and Croxhapox doesn't have one) for art is not necessary, the street can take the role of museum. Ephemere, but no less conspicuous. 

Walter Benjamin already saw that through the levelling influence of the city its aura gets lost. I.e. the authentic communication between the subject of the gaze and the object looked at doesn't exist anymore. 

Art still has the connotation to promote this interrelation; to blow away the fumes and to lay bare the essence of things (le parti pris des choses), without paper constructs.

Fortunately, 'En Passant' isn't so presumptious.