As previously mentioned, last Christmas I got F a book about the craziest places of Belgium, liberally scattered around the kingdom, and not that many of them within easy reach. I did find one not too far away: the Post-Industrial Pagodas.
These 36 towers were built in 1999, from industrial cable spools, by singer, actor and artist Julos Beaucarne, to channel positive energy into the new millennium. They embodied a poem he had written in the early 1990s, for his album Tours, Temples & Pagodes Post-Industriels:
|Le constructeur de pagodes veut toucher le ciel|
Planter des antennes immenses pour capter les messages
Qui viennent du fin fond de la nuit et du bout du jour
Il veut que le voyageur s’arrête et regarde soudain se déplier tous les plis de son âme
|The pagoda builder wants to touch the sky|
Plant huge antennas to capture messages
Which come from the depths of the night and the end of the day
He wants the traveler to stop and suddenly watch all the creases of his soul unfold
|Il veut pénétrer la matière même de l’univers|
Il veut faire signe à toutes les planètes, à toutes les galaxies
Il veut lancer des messages, jeter des ponts entre tous les êtres, entre tout le vivant
Le constructeur de pagodes, de temples et de tours médite sur la verticalité
|He wants to penetrate the very matter of the universe|
He wants to signal to all the planets, to all the galaxies
He wants to send messages, build bridges between all beings, between all living things
The builder of pagodas, temples and towers meditates on verticality
|Il récupère les matériaux usés dont plus personne ne veut|
Il les empile à la manière des enfants
Petit Poucet, il sème sur son passage des repères géants
Et ce faisant, il signe éperdument le paysage post-industriel
|He recovers used materials that no one wants anymore|
He stacks them like children do
Like Hop-o’-My-Thumb, he sows giant landmarks along his path
And in doing so, he indelibly marks the post-industrial landscape
As the years wore on, the pagodas became increasingly dilapidated, as was always the artist’s intention.
It’s not too far off my route to and from the girls in Tienen, so I went to look for it last weekend, and was astonished to discover that the Post-Industrial Pagodas had simply vanished.
It turned out that there was a simple explanation. In January 2021, eight months before Beaucarne’s death, he agreed with the landowner and the municipality that they would simply burn down the pagodas, leaving only a patch of scorched grass. One mysterious capsule and one surviving spool mark the scene.
But apart from that, the Post-Industrial Pagodas are marked by their absence. Consider yourselves duly informed.