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G o i n g i n t o H i s t o r y
At the Maria School, attached to the monastery with sisters from the South, carnival was actively celebrated with a real parade. I was dressed as a peanut Chinese (1962), a shoebox with peanuts in front of my belly, my pyjamas on, a long braid on my back and a cone-shaped hat of cardboard. I had never seen them walk like this and felt a bit ridiculous, but in the meantime I could of course have a peanut every now and then and it was a lot more interesting than peasant girl with an older sister's wide skirt tied around my waist, a diaper around my shoulders and a crepe paper cap from the year before. My mother was quite inventive to get all her children (14) to participate by simple means. From Phons Bakx's book I understood that the first Chinese, who came to conquer the world, really started this way, at stations shouting loudly peanut, peanut, lekka, lekka. It was only much later that everywhere the Chinese restaurants, laundries and sewing studio’s came about.
In the Middle Ages there were the crusaders, pilgrims and bandits, all connected to religion in one way or another. One went on a pilgrimage out of devotion, but also as penance for one's sins. In Catholicism, the thought of a sin was almost equal to sin itself, coming very close to desire, which was also very wrong. And who didn't need that, the comfort of desire? Escape in fantasy and of course later on suffer from regret and guilt? A pilgrimage was a kind of life insurance for a good afterlife. Earning an indulgence, a step closer to God. And you could do that also for someone else. For example, there were the professional pilgrims, who let themselves be paid by people who could not or would not go themselves, in order to ask a more favour to God in a vicarious way. A matter of investment. And with investments you never know in advance whether actual profit will be achieved. It's always been that way. If you had enough money you could take that risk and let someone else go for you instead, securing a piece of Divine attention never hurts. There were also always pilgrims who undertook such a journey purely out of curiosity and an appetite for adventure. Today it is not different. But society is much more individualistic, people prefer to think for themselves rather than surrender to the certainty of all restrictive religious rules and laws. Though most contemporary pilgrims are also looking for a kind of religious awareness, spirituality and especially for meaning, but not necessarily within this tradition. Their most common age category is around fifty to sixty years old. The moment of reflection, when all kinds of things in your life are already quite fixed; marriage, children, career. Usually there is still enough vitality to give life a new turn, a kind of last chance moment. Choices to consider. A now or never feeling. Time is running out. Many possibilities have already been closed. To have to say goodbye to this is sad as a kind of preparation for the ever closer end, the approaching death. The pragmatic Western man no longer sees death as a new beginning. This awareness of your own finiteness is more likely to worry about. Moreover, the welfare state now largely fulfils the role of charity. Fortunately, hospitality in remote areas still exists, but the population density determines the degree. The present-day tourist, who wanders around for a while only to quickly return to his comfortable home and income, buys himself illusions, which has nothing to do with the nomadic life of vagrants of only a century ago. It is more of a sporty, relatively cheap holiday. And actually I am not much different and I am happy to be able to go out well equipped with water- and windproof clothing and good mountain shoes and that only stray dogs can still be a real danger. In addition, I always have a helpline with my phone. Yet despite these certainties, every time I go on a multi-day hike, I get very nervous before leaving and super proud after returning home. The risks are so much less, but the desires and fears are still the same, just because we are no longer used going into nothingness.
When you walk, you would expect the world to become bigger. After all, you are an explorer. But in another sense it becomes clearer and therefore smaller. Only the body counts. Don't I get blisters? Do the legs keep working? Can I still handle the backpack? Where can I spend the night, where can I buy food? The primary needs. Then the immediate environment, which can mean both danger and pleasure. The weather plays an important role in this. Again with regard to that vulnerable body. Can I keep myself dry and warm? Do I not get overheating? Where are the limits of my being? What requirements does a landscape place on me? Not just a matter of survival, but also experience. What changes in me when the landscape changes? Are new nerve connections being made in the head along the way? Will the road pattern change there too? Walking on the road demands a lot from my body. To what extent can my thinking break away from that biological being? Today's pilgrim is often an explorer in search of himself.
- shred at destination and give upwind
- to tie to a tree and leave it to chance
- to bury and decay slowly
- ritually burn it
The rates for carrying and destroying are a minimum of one day of sleeping and eating, which amounts to approximately 50 euros. Please contact me at email@example.com
Now that corona makes it impossible for me to really travel, I am making images about being a pilgrim, about memories and the meaning of things. Things that have already had a life of their own, have experienced a lot. Some shoes have even known a second life after their walking existence, under plaster as a studio aid or handy shoe, or used in a stable with a strong scent of animals. It would be nice if one could find out exactly what the shoes have been through by odor analysis and also where those shoes have walked and thus compile an odour atlas following their traces. There are shoes that are completely worn out, with the footprint still in it after the 2400 km of the GR 5. Shoes that are almost falling apart and have just made the trip from Gouda to Rome with strings, tape and other aids. Where the African clay of Kilimanjaro still sticks to. Have been on an adventure in the swamps of Bali, where the leeches squeezed in through the lace holes. A Zeeland birdwatcher in Senegal, Gambia, Turkey and Eastern Greece scoring species for his personal spot collection. Soldier boots of a man, who at the age of 83 still walked the four days of Nijmegen of 40 km a day. Shoes received from relatives, cherished for years as a memory of a shared journey. Or shoes that still look like new, barely made progress because the owner could no longer walk due to health problems. The incredibly small children's mountain shoes of the first mountain hike of the now large, heavy man. Happiness and sadness that you carry with you or leave behind. Everything can be read from them. This too is becoming a special journey with the hiking shoe collection.