Early 2001 Meg Stuart (Damaged Goods) proposed me to participate at a 'master test for young artists' organised by the 'Vlaamse Bouwmeester' (this is the organization that is responsible for all buildings built by the Flemish government, directed by Bob Van Reeth). In this test five young artists were asked to propose an idea or concept for an artwork in close relation to one of the architectonic projects, which were being realised for Bruges, Cultural Capital of Europe in 2002.
I chose to work in relation to a new bridge over the canal coupure. For this location Jorg Conzett and his team designed an extraordinary bridge for pedestrians and bikers. The architect's mission was to develop a bridge, able to let pass some pleasure-yachts in summer, without dramatically changing the skyline of Bruges or the intimacy of the neighborhood. So Conzett invented a new kind of bridge: four enormous (6 meters high) pillars supporting two long metal tubes (80 cm diameter). The actual bridge, made out of oak, hangs suspended by iron cables from the two tubes. To open/close the bridge, the tubes turn around their axis, shortening/lengthening the cables and thus raising/lowering the bridge.
The work I designed, coupure, consists of a wooden man cut horizontally in 19 spots, dividing him in 20 parts. Together this body discs take the image of a person, stretched out on his stomach. Each disc is attached to a system of engines and wheels by means of two metal cables. Every time a visitor passes by, the engines start to turn, so that the statue starts to dance his way up. Once all the way up, the whole is lowered to its initial position, ready to start all over again... The choreography will last for about 1min 20 sec, the time the bridge needs to open or close.
Thanks to the Flemish government (Dienst waterwegen kust), coupure has been presented to the public on November 8th 2002, accompanied by a performance inspired by coupure and the bridge.