Tom Vansant (1974, Geel) is creating a project in FLACC based on the archives kept by the Reverend Jozef Moors (1908-1980). Moors, a devoted priest and teacher, was Vansant's great-uncle. His personal collection of photos, 8mm films, audiotapes and documents dates from the late twenties to the early seventies. In this collection Tom Vansant finds strong motivation for implementing the archives in his artistic practice.
The artist's approach is intense, compulsive and impossible to sum up in one phrase. In the past Vansant worked with continually changing media and strategies, which resulted in videos, sculptures, interventions, workshops, publications and performances. The artist is an iconoclast of his own visual language and describes his practice as 'rediscovering in derived movements and contradictions'.
Vansant calls this artistic trajectory an 'analogon', a parallel or similar frame of mind. In the present project he explores, reworks and records the archives and also reveals the additions and interventions that were made. The constantly changing conditions of the unfinished inventory give rise to interventions, (re)productions, communication, opened and closed public moments.
'Un fleuve gelé dans la toundra' will appear to be a sitcom. The characters, diverse as they are, react in different ways to the concurrence of daily events, the historical and autobiographical character of archived documents, the engagement and the operational environment of FLACC, the artist's ambitions and desires, the spokespersons' (mis)understandings and idiom¹. Their faithful habits are transferred into the accidental and peculiar present and recorded. You may be invited as a live audience.
In J. Moors's archives Tom Vansant has found:
‘technical equipment for recording and projecting images and sound; extensive and amply illustrated holiday diaries which were exchanged and distributed amongst fellow travellers and relatives; photos and slides of landscapes, excursions and processions, other priests, friends, relatives, village churches and cathedrals, pictures of bygone times, home and abroad, portraits, etc.; Adaptations of stories and plays for children written under the pseudonym of M. Joors; faith and tradition as the foundations of Mr. Headmaster's calling as a priest and a teacher; history and slow motion of the archives within the mother's side of the family, a legacy and a chronicle; the discovery of 'un fleuve gelé dans la toundra'; the multifaceted and ambiguous relationship between Tom Vansant, Mr. Headmaster and Paul, an uncle who, with a cinematographic twist, added a stop motion film to Mr. Headmaster's legacy; a tardy generation conspiracy coinciding with Tom Vansant's motivation; archetypal Flemish ‘things’; nostalgic voices talking of engagement, heaven's name, idealism, community and time; the absoluteness of the Roman Catholic faith, embedded in our subconsciousness; biographical material and allusions to interpretations of the ‘Mr. Headmaster’ character; a comedy about the significance of faith for future generations, in many images and stories shared by a twentieth century tribe; a picture of an era of longings and idealism in words and images; a scenario as thy will be done...'
¹ Spokespersons: Tom Vansant, Joris Vermeulen, Tineke Jager and FLACC