History 2007

(<< Return to Archive 2007)

Belonging and Beyond.
Dom/Cathedral Trier

April - May 2007.
Artists: Lin Holland and Veronika Moos-Brochhagen.
Dom/Cathedral Trier, Germany.
A collaborative project by Lin Holland and Veronika Moos-Brochhagen.

Extracts from www.belonging-and-beyond.net



Belonging and Beyond ...

A collaborative project between Lin Holland, Liverpool.
and Veronika Moos-Brochhagen, Cologne.

The two artists have been working together for over five years on projects related to the twinned cities of Cologne and Liverpool, Cologne’s longest-standing twinning partnership (since 1952).

Their theme is two different human experiences: on the one hand, the experience of being involved and associated (belonging) and, on the other, the search for freedom, release, breaking free (going beyond).

Holding and releasing
Numerous stories, experiences, and memories are woven into the fabric of worn coats that have been loyal servants to their wearers for several years. The wearers often associate things with these items of clothing that go far beyond their day-to-day use.

Even when these coats are beyond repair, they are often kept for a long time. People often find it hard to part with an item of clothing such as this.

The 'Belonging & Beyond' project called on people to donate their old, worn out coats and to include in their pockets the stories associated with them. These coats, which are loaded with precious memories, were then put together with painstaking care. The coats released themselves from their original purpose and were transformed into two walk-in coat rooms, which can be entered by visitors. Inside the coat room, they can listen to the stories of the various coats and reach into the pockets to read the memories that have been put there.

Take a moment with the coats: Who wore them? Where do they come from? What things have they experienced? Where have they been? Where are their owners now?

Discover the stories that accompany these coats: brief notes and lengthy declarations of love. Some are happy, others sad; some exciting, others romantic.

The coats tell stories of links and relationships around the world: from the button that was bought in New York to the jacket that travelled all the way to Saudi Arabia. All of these stories are now linked to one another in “Belonging & Beyond”.

Perhaps yours is inside the work, too?

About the Collaboration

The collaborative partnership between Veronika Moos-Brochhagen and Lin Holland began when they met in 1999 during the Liverpool/Cologne Sister City exchange – ‘Eight Days A Week’.

Cologne and Liverpool have been sister cities since 1952 and in 1999 five artists from Cologne held an exhibition in Liverpool. During their time in the city they actively sought artists for a collaborative project for the future. Moos-Brochhagen and Holland identified similarities within their practices and over the course of the following two years they visited in each other’s homes, studios and cities, and developed their proposals for the exhibition ‘Made In Köln – Found In Liverpool’. Three works were made, each artist made a work independently and one work was made together. The titles for these were “The Same Only Different”. The exhibition was held 2002 at The Old City Hall, Cologne and View Two Gallery, Liverpool.

After completing ‘Made In Köln – Found In Liverpool’, Holland and Moos-Brochhagen wished to continue their collaborative partnership. Further discussions identified interests around the theme of ‘aspiration’ both for the work and with regard to everyday living. They recognised the need (and the joy) in being connected to the routines of daily life, whilst at the same time searching for some ‘other’ meaning to existence. In some terms this ‘other’ life could be recognised by people as a spiritual search; the need to find answers to the big questions – who am I? What is life about? What happens when life ends? Being involved in the creative arts allows exploration of these questions and this is the area Moos-Brochhagen and Holland wish to explore through the project ‘Belonging And Beyond’.

They propose to make a body of work that reflects two aspects of life:

the physical, earthbound and bodily experienced
the aspirational, searching and spiritual
The proposal requires the active involvement of an audience. The artists suggest that people visiting the Cathedrals and Churches from their two home cities would be the most appropriate, as these are places where people often face these questions. Ceremonies that mark our arrival into the world and our departure from it, significant events during our lives are celebrated in Cathedrals and Churches.

These audiences will be invited to contribute an old/unwanted item of clothing – specifically a coat, as the coat is a silhouette and shape that identifies an individual, the architecture of the body. Together with the coat, each person will be asked to record their thoughts and reflections upon the two issues stated above, or alternatively to reflect on their relationship with the Cathedral or Church.

Two sculptures will be made. The forms will reflect their associative meanings. Each structure will be covered with the contributed coats (the mark of individual identity) and the stories will be placed on the interior, inside the pockets. The scale of the works will allow the audience to enter the sculptures, interacting with the work, reading or listening to the stories once inside.

The research and collaborative element of the project will generate information that at this stage cannot be predicted. The contributions of the collaborators and the information they provide are of paramount importance and it is, therefore, vital to maintain an amount of flexibility regarding the works final resolution.

Finally, the concept of
'Belonging and Beyond' will become embodied in the work as each contributor will ‘belong’ to the work, as they give their input to it; as indeed the work will ‘belong’ to each contributor and become more than the sum of its parts. The concept will be fully realised if it creates a forum for the participating Cathedrals and Churches to begin, or sustain, a dialogue that carries beyond the differences within communities belonging to contemporary ecumenical society.

Translation: Sybina Richter

The Concept


The Coat
The coat represents a symbol of the identity of a human being. It does this by following the architecture of the body and at the same time possessing an inside and an outside, an intimate and an official appearance.
The inside is warming and protective, the outside observes the proprieties, it is also protective and keeps danger at bay. It is similar to the tents of the wandering nomads, it goes with us on our journeys and often accompanies us for a number of years.
One’s own, individual coat, made of profane material which is marked by everyday use, is a well known companion defined by an ideal sense of value, its own history and a sense of belonging, the knowledge of which is often only familiar to its owner.
The coat is an expression of individualism and is the bearer of memories. In this way it creates a bridge between what is a private life and what is an official one.

The Tower
Cathedrals are seen as the symbol of the identity of a city.
Their upwards stretching towers form a permanent part of the silhouette of a city and establish the outward appearance of such places.
They are an expression of cultural heritage. They shape the uniqueness and charisma of their location. In addition to their outward representation cathedrals also have an inward significance. They provide protection and refuge. They are a place of assembly and togetherness.
The inside of a cathedral is richly decorated. It creates the feeling of being a city in its own right in which one moves from one place to the other. The side chapels and transept are like the inside pockets and sleeves which are sewn into a coat, and at the same time they provide a place of retreat and are the teller of stories.

The Project
What kind of unwritten stories are there to be found within these fabrics? What do they tell us?
Are they strange or familiar, sad or happy, lonely or do they possess a sense of belonging?
People from Liverpool and Cologne have donated their old and well worn coats with all their individual stories and memories – unique specimens from both cities. The owners were prepared to donate these “coats full of memories” in order to give them the possibility of a new life. The shared journey of these “single pieces” has led to this art project. More than three hundred coats have been sewn together into one “skin”. Two sculptures have been created: a “walk in” coat and a “walk in” tower. Both forms are linked to a spiritual body. The coat is connected to man and his physical body, the tower of the cathedral stretching up into the air is the space within which man is encased.
These sculptures relate the inner story of the individual, and open up a communicative spatial experience which leads beyond that of the individual.

Translation: Sybina Richter, Cologne

For further information contact the artists at:

Lin Holland: lin.holl@boltblue.com

Veronika Moos-Brochhagen: veronika.moos@koeln.de

Collaborative website: www.belonging-and-beyond.net

Website Design: Tony Knox