In May 2020, art collective Kunst Achter Dijken in Pingjum would organize its annual art route. Due to corona this was canceled and not much later Stefan Belderbos sent out an email to work in turn, corona proof, in the large church of Pingjum on a joint work of art with the theme "isolation". I found isolation, a church and corona time an interesting combination and I felt the need to isolate myself in the church for 24 hours to allow what would happen. To find out for myself what isolation means, what believing is for me and what (the function of) a church is, especially with a view to the shrinking community of church visitors.
Unfortunately, Stefan's idea did not come at the right time for everyone. Stefan and I decided to continue the plan together. I went to church for 24 hours and Stefan would join halfway to work on projections. Together we started an investigative work process.
"24 hours church Pingjum" is a report of a trial. Actually part of the process because the process continues even after this story. It consists of many questions and only a few answers. Read along and it may also trigger you to think about things.
Rabbit markets to weddings, baptisms and funerals. Catholics, Dutch reformed and free spirits. I looked at the Gothic texts on the tombstone before 1500. There was so much history here. What would this location look like in the future? And had anyone ever slept here before?
… What is believing? What gives faith? Do you really have to believe for that or should it be obvious with "being human"? Why are fewer people attending church? Could that have been prevented? What is the function of the church? Can the church continue to fulfill this function in the future? What are the options for this building? Whose church Is it? Isn't it a shame that all ecclesiastical traditions come to an end? Where is the line between tradition and belief? Or does that go together? Do we support what we do in church? And are we doing this consciously? Do we do that together? What is together in that case? Is the church a resting place? A place of reflection? Is that active or passive? To what extent is there room for different church visions? Can they be next to each other? Is that also discussed? Is a church service necessary to continue to believe consciously? As a structurally recurring moment? What do we actually know about the history of this building? Can we get something out of that? …
I spent 24 hours in church to make art, to work together and still be alone. To create what had to arise. 24 hours was long and too short. Too short to come to real silence but long enough to pass many questions. There was time and space to pay attention to critical thoughts on faith and the church. They are not judgmental but investigative. Every question and thought could be there. It would be nice that people, without too much story from the artist, are allowed to create stories and questions for the works themselves. Maybe it will provoke conversation. I hope so. Without judgments, but for consideration.