02.03.24—30.06.24
Location: argos

Herman Asselberghs: Time Wasted

exhibition
Herman Asselberghs, As If In A Dream © the artist(s)

Over the past decades, Herman Asselberghs has meticulously built an internationally shown audiovisual œuvre in which he questions the liminal areas between sound and image, world and media, poetics and politics. In this solo exhibition, the Brussels-based artist presents four new works. Time Wasted originates from the educational context of the arts college, more specifically from the film department on the Brussels Saint-Lukas campus of LUCA School of Arts where the artist has been active for over a quarter of a century.

It started with the idea of making a documentary feature on campus and resulted in a publication and three film works in installation form - made with the help of current and recently graduated students, including the cameraman, the image technician and the sound designer. The focus on similarities and differences between the movie theater and classroom gradually shifted to attention. Finding, losing, and regaining focus can not be taken for granted for neither the student nor the film spectator in these current times of divided attention. The exhibition space, with its multiple screens, simultaneous projections, and visitors moving around freely, is the ideal place to pay attention to attention.

Other people's attention reinforces your own but keep looking at the one who caught your attention and you find yourself staring, and in fact interrupting, perhaps even disturbing. Only the image recorded by the camera allows us to observe those long, stills moments that usually escape our daily lives, 'meaningless' moments that are usually cut or skipped in films because they have no narrative function. There is nothing happening or nothing to see. They are a waste of time, so to speak.

In recent years, the artist made 20 silent student portraits, Times 2, which will be simultaneously projected on two screens in the exhibition space. Without a beginning or an ending, the visitor can jump in at any point in the sequence. We do not know what goes on in the minds, the hearts, and the lives of these young people. An attentive person is completely within herself or entirely with herself, and at the same time out or outside of herself. Like attentive viewers, the students are simultaneously here and now and elsewhere. They are images of pure attention, or pure images of attention.

With Leçon d'objet / Object Lesson, the artist shifts the focus from the portrayed to the camera used to create the portraits. The setting is the school, the roles are assigned to the students.The title refers to the traditional teaching method of presenting an everyday object by naming its characteristics and properties. The close observation of a physical object can then lead to a better understanding of abstract concepts. This object lesson takes the camera as a starting point for a reflection on our handling of images, on paying attention and looking for attention, on the importance of time "wasted”. In Asselberghs’ hands, film becomes a construction revealing its foundation and its production process, with blocks and joints that remain visible and palpable in the images and the sounds.

In As If in a Dream, Asselberghs creates a portrait of the attentive viewer on site, so to speak. ‘Without’ images and entirely text-based, the projection initiates a silent dialogue with the viewer. The film and you. Viewership and film experience are affected by the tension between continuous loop of the installation and inevitable finality of a film. Is it a manifesto, a manual or a mantra? Your portrait, your decision.

This Sentence Will End sets the tone of the exhibition. A snapshot of attention. You and the booklet. You in the booklet. You with the booklet. Feel free to take one.

At the artist's request, we choose not to suggest ideal (or actual) viewing times per film. That would only get in the way of losing time.

Read the interview with Herman Asselberghs

Several public programmes will be organised in the context of this exhibition: peer to peer sessions, roundtable discussions, a curated programme of student films shown in our annex(e), a workshop dedicated to distribution dynamics. The selection of argos 📺 from March to June will echo the topics and themes of the exhibition as well. Keep an eye on our website for more information.

Time Wasted is part of the doctoral research project Film School Time, Intermedia Research Unit, LUCA School of Arts & Lieven Gevaert Centre, KU Leuven - UCLouvain. The exhibition and its public program were produced with the support of our partners.

This exhibition takes place on the first floor and is only accessible by using two stairs. Find out more about the accessibility of our building.