'Lost Pet Memorials' a series of street altars 2005
The work consists of five altars spread over several locations in Ghent. They were secretly manufactured in situ during the night. The altars were not presented as an artwork, but shown anonymously. The form of the altars is based on the memorials that are made spontaneously in places where some kind of drama occurred. These memorials arise out of necessity and don't have a religious character. They are usually composed of candles, flowers and rather naive symbols of love. The personal involvement is expressed without any esthetical preoccupation.
During several years I collected posters of lost pets, which I found in the public space. The altars I made are personal memorials for the domesticated animal. The domestic pet has lost it's status of 'authentic' wild animal. Due to cohabitation with humans it has become some sort of hybrid 'human' animal. On the other hand, the domesticated animal is reduced to a consumer's product in the capitalist society.
By presenting the memorials anonymously in the public realm, the coincidental passer-by who is confronted by them becomes 'contaminated' through the uncanny character of the work. The altars are temporary and precarious. During a period of two weeks some of them were completely destroyed. Others were maintained by people who felt a personal connection to the work, lighting the candles every day and even adding some personal items.
Due to the temporary character of the altars, the work now consists of photographs.