Justin Bennett - Berlaymont Dreaming
  Year :   2004
  Location :   Belgium
  Worktype :   Video and sound installation
  Materials:   DVD video with 5.1 surroundsound
  Info :   Argos festival, Brussels

  Work Details  
  The Berlaymont building, seat of the European Commission is a symbolic centre for the European quarter of Brussels as well as for Europe itself. Formally interesting is the fact that the original modernist architecture has been renovated and forseen with a new skin or rather an armour plating, changing the outward appearance while preserving the inner form. I see this as mirroring the expansion of Europe in general. In the piece, Berlaymont Dreaming, Berlaymont/Europe is pictured as a modernist utopia, where the transparency of architecture is a metaphor for democracy itself. The building is empty, but it hums softly to itself. It dreams of its future uses, its future occupants, dreaming that it might one day be open to all, but knowing that its gigantic security machine regulates the flow and access of people just as the airconditioning regulates the flow of air and heat. The sounds are of empty buildings and their machines but sometimes other sounds filter in from outside through ducts or through the windows. The images are of Berlaymont and other buildings either in use or already being demolished. The image and sound sequences are composed by a machine that chooses sounds and images which build up, overlap and then fall away again. Thus the machine constructs its dreaming - an imaginary ephemeral architecture. The two-dimensional layering of transparent architectural images on the screen are expanded into space by the surround -sound presentation.