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ØRNEN 1897

Diest (B) 09 2022

ØRNEN 1897

Eindhoven (NDL) 09 2014

Tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose,

qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

Blaise Pascal Pensées (1670)


On 11 July 1897 a remarkable expedition left Spitsbergen for the North Pole. Three men took off in a hydrogen balloon, convinced that this was the only way to overcome the polar ice. They were never seen alive again. From their logbook, which was retrieved later, it appears that the balloon was insufficiently controllable.


After just three days they became stranded at 450 km from the North Pole. Their attempt to return to the civilised world on foot also failed; after three months they died of exhaustion. Their remains were only found in 1930, frozen into the ice.


In an installation that combines visual art, music and film, tribute is paid to the dedication and drive of these explorers, to the dream they envisaged.


The focal point of this installation is a 35 metre long, 4.5 metre diameter willow-framed zeppelin: the skeleton of an airship, a ‘dream under construction’.

© Guidio De Bruyn (translation: Stephen Smith)

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