A sign has been put down at the Gerald the Devil castle - an important historical building from the 13th century in the centre of Ghent - announcing that certain historical elements would be demolished. Stones were seen lying on the inner courtyard.
The Gothic building, one of the first stone houses in Ghent and former State Archives, has seen numerous renovations since the Middle Ages. Today it has become difficult to even recognize its original structure. Precisely these renovations were beiing "revoked" according to the announcement, removing the "Disneyfied" non-original elements to reveal the core of the original structure.
Passers-by and tourists needn't to worry. The announcement looked very similar to a building permit announcement, but was actually part of my latest art project. The stones thrown down from the rooftop were not coming from castle's structure.
Criticism on urban planning
The symbolic demolition was the result of an investigation I've done regarding the history of the Devil's castle. It has seen many forms and functions but also has been made more attractive for tourists to look at over the years. This is exemplary for a wider Disneyfication of the historical city of Ghent. There is for example an ever-ongoing "restoration" of the Counts Castle (after 20 years of restoration it is more fiction than fact), ubiquitous facade architecture where the actual buildings are being demolished but the facades are left alone, and the ongoing redevelopment of the city as an open-air pedestrian shopping mall.
1.6 tons of bricks
Between 16/01 and 15/02 I carried 1000 bricks (1.6 tonnes) to the roof and threw them down in the - private and enclosed - courtyard. Every week I'd put up a new announcement board, each with a new reason for the symbolic demolition, threatening to remove the embattlements, rebuild the Castle in a contemporary style, or to convert it into an artist's asylum.
This action aimed to dispers disinformation, which today has become increasingly difficult to distinguish from actual information. The pile of stones in the garden formed a temporary sculpture. The one-month performance was titled "Deconstruction I".
In July 2017 an exhibition about this and 5 other performances at the castle will take place in it's medieval basements.
More information on the project and its organisation: Yart