Dynamic Object

It shows a drawing process in a liquid medium. On closer inspection it is a sculptural process using tiny particles of a granular material that accumulate temporarily to form clusters and lines. But just moments before shapes become evident, they are overwritten or fall ­apart and disappear. They vaporize. And although Maelstrom is very material, it travels between two realms: between what is there and what is not there.

How do we perceive and shape the world in our minds? How does our imagination transform it? How does that feed-back on the world around us? What is the relation between matter and imagination and how are they entangled with each other? And why do things – and for them also materials – become increasingly malleable and fluid?

After a considerable contribution to epistemology, Gaston Bachelard, a french philosopher, shifted his interest from science to the psychology of imagination. He contrasted rational thought with the imaginary. Thereby he did not discuss so much how the structures of poetic images look like but rather pointed out that these images can move and transform. They are liquid. And they are attached to matter – the four elements in his case. In Bachelard’s description of the most important travel of human beings, namely the one between the real and the imaginary, he states that when art takes us to this travel, it is not about the stay in one of the two realms. But instead the journey, the movement, the border crossing and the mutual exchange is what we should pay attention to. The dark line in Maelstrom is the vehicle of this travel and the border at the same time. It doesn’t show us one of the two realms. It shows us the process of trying to make sense, its materiality, its movement, its buildup, decay, turbulences, and fluidity.

Sound: Els Viaene

Materials: Magnetite powder, Water, Glycerine, Magnet



A book (german, english, french and dutch) about the work was published in 2012.

Maelstrom, the installation, was inspired by Edgar Allen Poes short story „A descent into the Maelstrom“.


Funded by: Communauté française de Belgique Arts Numérique and Österreichisches Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur
Mostly developed in residency at lab[au].