Computer Animation Film VFX

Anerkennung - Honorary Mentions


Anouk De Clercq (BE)


In Thing, an architect talks about a city he has built. Gradually, however, we realize that the city is imaginary and that his account is an attempt to give his ideas a fixed shape.

Anouk De Clerq: “I’m fascinated by the power of words and their influence on our imagination. With words, you can build another world, another life, another time. . . . One of my inspirations was the book The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard. In it he stated that a good writer is not necessarily someone who writes one beautiful sentence after another, but rather is someone who leaves space for readers to fill in their meaning using their imaginations.”

But Thing is not only about words and imagination. De Clercq adds it to her fascination for architecture, an influence we can also see in her other works such as Building (2003) and Oh (2010). At first sight, there seems to be a striking contrast between the temporary character of the imagination and the massive, solid character of a building.

Anouk De Clerq: “I had a talk with architect Paul Robbrecht. The way he talks about a building, about architecture and about the drawings he makes is pure poetry. I realized that imagination and architecture are not two opposites at all: the construction of a building always starts from an image and imagination. A very clear example of this is the Danteum by Giuseppe Terragni. It’s an architectural translation of Dante’s Divina Commedia: all the chapters in the book are re-created in an architectural space. The Danteum, however, was never built, and exists only in wonderful sketches. I was given a guided tour through the Danteum by professor of architecture Dirk De Meyer. In the process, I obtained a clear view of the building, even though it was a tour through drawings. . . . This perhaps was the greatest inspiration for Thing.”

Together with Scanlabprojects, she made scans of very concrete, solid buildings in order to create images with a more sketch-like character and imaginary places. Her method reminds one of forensic research, where the details are scanned in order to form the bigger picture, creating a sort of puzzle out of the details.

Anouk De Clerq: “In fact, the scanning of the buildings pulverizes them. The scanner wasn’t programmed to scan with precision, as it normally is. This is because I wanted to obtain the artifacts, faults and noise in the images that you normally don’t have. For me, it is important that it looks forensic: I want viewing it to evoke a feeling of depth. With the scans, I searched for the soul of a building. I’m intrigued by this idea of a city with a phantom limb: it gives the city an organic feeling, revealing it as something more than simply dead bricks and walls.”

The film, as well as De Clercq’s idea of imagination, can be summarized in a quote from De Clercq: “The eye does not see things, but images of things that mean other things. What we read in these accidental shapes depends on our capacity to recognize in them things or images we find stored in our minds.”


Anouk De Clercq

Anouk De Clercq (BE), born 1971, studied piano in Ghent and film at the Sint Lukas Brussels University College of Art and Design. Her films explore the audiovisual potential of computer language to create possible worlds, many of which have a strongly architectonic character. She has received several awards, including an award from the Future Imprint International Animation Competition, Taipei (2003), the International Backup Award New Media in Film, Weimar (2004), and the Illy Prize at Art Brussels (2005). Her works have been shown in the Tate Modern, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Centre Pompidou, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Transmediale, Ars Electronica and at the Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement, among others. Anouk De Clercq is affiliated to KASK School of Arts, University College Ghent, as an artistic researcher. She lives and works in Brussels.

Images: Scanlabprojects

Sound: Scanner

Editing: Fairuz

Voice: Liam Byrne

Final sound mixing: Maxence Ciekawy at Le Fresnoy studio national des arts contemporains

Dramaturgy: Marianne Van Kerkhoven

Text editing & translation: Mari Shields

Technical research: Elias Heuninck, Yves Marquillie

Title design: Michael Bussaer

Produced by: Auguste Orts

With the support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund, CERA Partners in Art, Kaaitheater, Academia Belgica (IT), Nomas (IT) & Le Fresnoy, studio national des arts contemporains (FR). This work is part of The art of ~scaping, a research project by Anouk De Clercq, funded by the Research Fund University College Ghent.