dinsdag 28 augustus 2018

Parallax P/rops /position



We got there just in time. When we entered the Nucleo in Ghent we saw that there was a performance by Karin Vyncke beginning at three... so we rushed the doors and were admitted just in the nick of time. It was a silent chamber-piece, well, literal reading of objects and their changes, presented by the artist in a pair of dust-sleeves... in a library full of empty shelves. Table, chair, and written attributes on folded card. Still life, from fruity cornucopia to hunting scene to memento mori, vanitas, and back to tea-time... all whipped from a signatory folder with a certain theatrical flair, steps just short of dance, flowing though, so that the visual narrative was easy to follow. We were like children awaiting the next line in an exciting tale going nowhere... small comic notes, lots of room for interpretation and imagery in one’s own mind’s eye... but still her story: we had to follow, no matter how absurd or surreal, and in the end, it is she the dog squashed, we the pineapple turned pheasant... pool of water becoming blood.
























(the performer as a young dog- in fact, I couldn’t help thinking of a possible mute version of ‘Evelyn, the modified dog...’ (Hark! She said...)




Very good. Very glad we were able to be there. Special moment and just right in between the usual fare – neither here nor there, just skirting and leaning back before becoming one thing or the other, as mentioned not quite theatre, dance perf of tableau-vivante, panto and Bhutto, storyboard charades... very nice balancing act.

We could hear the calls though the door. We didn’t know what it was, but once outside the library we could see the two women balancing on their heels on their chairs and calling into the high ceiling... controlled howls. Stepping down they (Maria Degrève and Lieve D’hondt) would continue their own ways. A side room gave clues but no more... a version I had not yet encountered – the version I knew was the office version. This one more of an oracle, more mystery, more fitting to the venue...

You’d think they would go unnoticed but no: I knew them too well to pretend not to see them and walk past... especially since I came specially... ah to what purpose, that is the question. Ieke Trinks was doing nothing. She wasn’t participating, she wasn’t even really there, sort of absent-minded it seemed, in another world, sitting reading something completely unrelated... she even said she was doing nothing... I had asked “what have you been doing of late”, or currently or when’s the next whatever... noting... neither here nor there... But I was intrigued, having been on art-strike for a while now (... the second call by Stewart Home... too young for the first one by Metzger you know) and a virulent supporter of non-art... even though I have a feeble character and no self-discipline whatsoever... that’s why I find myself visiting these sorts of artistic venues... so I wanted to know... to find a kindred spirit, a good reason for being as I am... but alas, nothing, nope, nix – I called her refusenik, nihilist... but she didn’t mind... it didn’t seem to faze her at all to be excommunicated from the hallowed halls of corporate & corporeal art-doo... she just shook her head.

Frans van Lent on the other hand, was a man with a mission... what mission I still don’t know, but he’s very good at it: in this instance he packaged his nonconformist stance in a very conformist format: the book presentation. (the day before, by way of contribution, he had made a double/two video, showing himself and his other, being a video by some selected volunteer, so than now there were two videos unrelated but correlated, showing himself as being followed by a videàste, another of his own making, and exchanging between the takes cameras and such to have two closely unrelated videos, presenting side by side (in their respective adapters) two diverging videos made in separated tandem as it were... hmm – anything but parallel I would say, interweaving timeframe and direction of travel as to have double takes coinciding where in reality no interaction should take place. 



(Ieke T. refusing to have her portrait taken by shaking her head vigorously while Fransiscus v.L. just plain looks away... the ominous silhouette of the photographer apparent, while a dark cloud hangs over the scene)



In the same space as were the two umbrellas (brollies- I think that’s the plural – by Kimvi) serving as reference to Magritte’s rain-men dancing down from the clouds, or rather bowlers, since in fact René didn’t use that many brollies – but they do have that sewing machine connotation that can hazard anyone’s guess at that. I must admit I didn’t see them go up or down... so will have to use my imagination.













(FvL on his way to aid two visitors watching the two videos in the room with the two umbrellas...)



Sabine, who uses the seventies penchant for general minuscule writing of names oosterlynck (org) had a sale, or rather sale after sale, in which one has to re-price all the items in the store every time... in this case a flurry of stickers on one item: the artist herself... or serially sticking stickers prices-stickers that is, those little buggers that are conceived specially to not be removed by delinquent children or penny-pinching grandmothers... the one’s they like to slap on your priceless antique just on the very spot the varnish is at it’s most fragile, or the image on the cover of your vintage book most interesting... since they made it mechanical people can’t get enough of them... whatever happened to the good old price tag, one that would dangle freely, and could be snipped off in a jiffy...

Freddy K had a nice little (or rather large) pup tent going, one you could crawl into and participate in the goings-on in there... which I refrained from doing, but sort of liked the idea of being a mental voyeur considering all the things that might be going on behind the blankets suspended from walls and ceiling... straps and stuff... ooh, even clothes pegs if you know what I mean... and tied in exotic knots and things...

13 years of Hysteria was a bit of fun if it wasn’t your own lot: here you could give it a go in a distance fight: mechanical dolls manipulated by you and your partner so as to avoid real injury... quite an elaborate surrogate activity (the mechanics alone!) but quite effective... Stephanie Van de Velde (whom I haven’t seen for ages) and Joost Pauwaert did it, and they did it good... even though ‘her’ head came loose a bit too easy... but also easily knocked back with the help of an iron rod.















(surrogate punch-up as alternative to domestic violence... good idea and less of a burden on local policing)




Talk about shoe fetish! Johanna Van Overmeir seems to have it good, traveling all the way to Minsk (or was it St.Petersberg?) to saunter through the local flea market in search of the right pair of shoes to envelop in plastic and pour some gooey waxy stuff in them and exhibit them in a suitcase by the door... pilgrims progress arrested, belief suspended, family voyage interrupted.

Tone down the edge of an itchy stone was the title of a performance by Liesje van den berk which we missed but could see the remnants of sandpaper and brick/stone dust on the floor, writing as far as i could make out nowhere... and in the room right at back a chair and three snaps of a drooling mouth performance by Natalie Fyfe, who has already gone... but I must admit I was intrigued by the remnants of ‘nit by mouth’.

But back to Van Lent: rounding up proceedings somewhat with the aforementioned classic format of book presentation he explained and read aloud from the book i question, a compilation of reports from the ‘Parallel show’ series of interventions in museums all over... unnoticed or hardly noticed interventions which had caught my attention while trying to disappear during one of the unnoticed festivals (in Nijmegen, noticeably) – and, though I did not participate per sé, did follow on the website and even managed to show up for a few minutes during the grande finale (see earlier blog)... so here in book form – asking myself why would I want to burden my overloaded library with yet another tome containing text I had already read... why enlighten further my meagre wallet for an edition with no pictures to look at (well, an insert for the hard-up eye-candy-canes) Why would I want to repeat myself and exercise my right to superfluous behaviour and material hoarding...  usually I am very frugal and avoid unnecessary displacements and the acquisition of excess ballast... but this was just one of those things I wanted to have...




Gotta havvit!
A bit like a shopping nun who had been locked up in the cloisters for years on end and now finally was able to tear loose with the credit card of her bishop and landed in the sparkly world of Prada and Chanel... after all those years of sticky ointment! Just 19,99 at an outlet near you!

(talk about stereotyping! Could also consider as the bishop himself on a spree of beatific hysteria - bit strange that illustration, but perhaps brought about by the venue- a former catholic school where who knows what went on,....  and the long beard worn by the artist reminding rather of a trappist monk or missionary out in the African boonies saving souls... who nose?)

maandag 2 juli 2018

Parallel Visitation

I had been following the goings-on of the parallel show for a while, on & off, with some interest and bemusement, as a slice of life citytrip kind of enactment – life with that live twist and intentional shift of occurrence... manipulation perhaps, modification, deliberate disengagement...  various things spring to mind and each of the participants has different points of view, making for an interesting kaleidoscopic image of the place in question... ten in all of which I most enjoyed Delphi and the Cloisters... 
(read all about it www.theparalellshow.com...)



Now a double parallel finale was offered with the possible participation of ‘the public’, to what had until then been a closed circuit only viewable from the outside as it were... In this case two venues were connected wit a live feed (resembling the old closed circuit television, security camera players & ‘the house’ voyeur programs..) A white cube space in Groningen (MP3) and a disheveled former cloister chapel at Greylight Projects in Brussels. I could manage a visit to the Brussels venue... a wonderful deco-haunt in full refurbishment... 
There I came across three performers (Ieke, Yolanda and iwbdjdyatmvezdmnekzawvb) known to me from other activities, among which the unnoticed festival... (here I must think of the three graces, which I used as mascot/muses for my own ‘european theatre of operations’, (see seal) ... sitting together in the strange chapel setting, just gearing up for a meeting... ah, my luck... I could directly participate in one of my favorite passtimes: meetings... 
What are we doing here, who are we and what should we do next... 

Before the meeting could really get underway I was texted from the counter-pane out in Groningen... it was FvL himself, having seen me on the sreed, who immediately proceeded to propose instructions... (Regieanweisung aus Groningen – in the old fluxdays if would have been a piece of paper or score, now instant messaging, wow)
I had moved away from the meeting (sorry I have to take this call) towards the open window, and saw, on the same level across the street, a bearded man jerking off at his open window... before I could switch my telephone from text to camera-mode he had receded into the gloom of his room... I was curious if he was just enjoying a morning wank or if he was masturbating in function of the three graces discussing the pro’s and con’s of  performative live art across the street... I attempted to linger at another window and get a shot, but it was not too clear at this point what he was doing... He was wearing a shirt but no pants, or they were about his knees... but an interesting off-off intervention nonetheless... 
Returning to the meeting, I had in the meantime been given an interventive instruction by FVL... so instead of informing the gathering of my discovery, which I had been intending, I proceeded to execute the intervention by asking Ieke to
“stand up and take her place brutally”

She looked at me rather quizzically but proceeded to stand and demand the seat that iwbdjdyatmvezdmnekzawvb was occupying, who then switched with Yolanda, leaving me no choice to complain that that should have been my seat and now all was perturbed (...which was no doubt, the intention of FvL in the first place...) In an attempt to continue the meeting we considered the situation: the performers unsure what this ‘final’ had to do with the other ten in the series... I for one found it interesting as an outside viewer to now have the opportunity to partake ‘live’ in the series, even if ‘hors serie’... it was now the performers who became to objects of observation, say, a madonna with no hands – in an environment which could be considered equally fake as ‘The Cloisters’: this neo-gothic flapper Byzantine decor was plasterboard and painted marble, itself by now a cultural curiosity, and we camera-players at the behest of an invisible Oz somewhere in Groningen... Another of my instructions was to ‘turn / turn away from the camera’ for a photograph to be sent... And, on top of participating in the meeting, the long-distance choreography I also could execute my own activities at will, being a sort of investigative dance of the space with a piece of wood, plasterboard and MDF respectively, enjoying the acoustics of the place (from what I gather they had already been playing around with that before I got there) and participating fragmentarily in some conversation about the situation aside from the recorded official record being written down by iwbdjdyatmvezdmnekzawvb.


More people arrived, new configurations were created, the video was blocked visually from various sides, both in Brussels and Groningen – family portrait sans portrait, so to speak... I had to take my leave, having participated for perhaps half an hour... On the way out grabbed some brochures about an earlier show ‘Parallel Placings (Koek/Malherbe) in which chance page also saw comments on white cube versus kinky chapel... but seems more of a chance dispalcement... and so I too displaced myself: to weave my way from the Botanique area towards the south station Midi, while a bit to look at the copper cauldrons at Wiels, then on towards the province of Hainaut, to various other presentations, like at Hornu: Jef Geys, last work, Jean Glibert & Ann Veronica Janssens...
More on that later. (see other gruzeblog)



dinsdag 8 mei 2018

double take too

The LLS Palace

After the long march from the original LLS to the new haunt LLSPaleis we all needed a breather and there was not much activity to e seen from the outside, while, of course inside the busy gnomes were arranging and organizing... in order to launch the place with a first manifestation by Joëlle Tuerlinckx, “FOR”



Or rather FOOR/ROOF if you will, since the whole thing is multi-faceted and double-taken... but that might be too Nederlands... and I prefer to consider the double O as just a double take: look again (also two O’s too) anyway, as the description says: ‘il commence par un changement de direction: la porte d’entrée s’ouvre à gauche’ Changement de direction can also refer to the new management. It is all about the space, it’s recent history, position and new adventure into the arts... Elements found, modified, pulled into focus with both associative and subjective aspects: the Duchamp urinoirs and perchance double stickers, double this double that, twin twofold, his & hers kind of game (we were offered willy-nilly pink and blue paper forage caps as used in diners where they flip burgers and fry fries...) around potato(e) sacks, belgian french fries, a roof garden (yes here we are again, and yes the association is valid) with various varieties but in identical pots, A, B etc... hopefully a beautiful garden in the future for all (neighbors and art-zoo’s) to enjoy. Kitchen becomes laboratory, edition of potential- one can choose a page, one can contribute, double again, by submitting two identical papers – it’s archivism, it’s administration, it’s a reflection of what it is, what we do with it, how we approach it and use it. 


It does remind us again of the closeness of art & life, reminds me of the reinte®gration series, is close to le vide without the stuff, or with too much stuff: l’état des choses, it is as it is, we are the ones to make it work. It works already, thanks to Joêlle, always very apt at making a significant gesture with very little means, effort of spectacle... slight modifications and juxtapositions enough to refurbish a whole way of thinking, forward and retrospectively at the same time...




A crux moment between the tall order of continuing the tradition of the LLS (387) and forging ahead with new perspectives at the same time... luckily the new management of the former chip-shop, as one might say is a veteran herself, and has over the years worked with LLS-original Ulli often and with great success... so i fact continuation guaranteed... now just have to wait for the spuds to sprout and we’re off!

zondag 29 april 2018

Liègoise Contemporary past

Finally got around to visit Liège again, after meaning to for a while but keeping on putting it off, which is strange, because I like the place and used to go on a regular basis... but time flows by like the Meuse and we don’t even recognize each other any more – as was the case in the first gallery I popped into ‘Les Drapiers’ – I had non-participated in a show there not so long ago – run by a former Tapisserie-Fondation tutor, but too long ago – the show by Jean-Pierre Husquinet (au bout du fil) was intriguing, but not really down my alley (anymore)
The show of archives and stuff from the Cirque Divers on the other hand was very much worth it. I was happy to have still been able to see it, since it was in fact the last day...

Remembering the Cirque Divers as a kindred place back in the eighties, where all artistic would mingle after cultural activities deep into the night, where shows by wonderful and special artists took place and where performance as a medium came into it’s own in the nether (-landish) regions of France, Germany and Belgium... Filliou was a major contributor, Ben a regular haunt as well as many others – Orlan, Carolee Schneemann, a whole section femministe of the first hour – speaking of holes: nice find, especially for the director of the Royal Navel Observatory: a suite of famous belly buttons...

























Had to remember also that I turned down Antaki’s attempt to do this kind of show in Antwerp because of the probable impossibility to find funding at that time... it would have fit the factor 44 brief, but his proposal was a complete re-building/enactment of the place, and that was perhaps a bridge too far for our operation at the time...



























Le Jardin du Paradoxe
Now though, in this sumptuous space of the Ville de Liège, a baroque church, it all came into it’s own in another way, not trying to recapture but to make it’s presence felt in a former adversarial space: scatology in church... great stuff. The archival approach also better than trying to capture the atmosphere... it’s forever gone in these neo-alt-right times... one can hardly imagine the contrast if one didn’t experience it oneself: all the more reason to keep & illustrate it for future generations now growing up under the weight of fake control... Anyway, it seems the City of Liège has acquired the archives of the Cirque Divers from the asbl d’un certain gaité, thus saving it for posterity... which is really good – often with this kind of archive it gets shunted around until it falls apart, and no-one sees it’s value until too late... here it seems to still be a coherent whole, and will be preserved. I must admit I did not buy the catalog due to lack of funds, but I sure will as I am able, since it’s certainly worth it...



I enjoyed the many exhibits spanning quite a bit of the latter twentieth: a nice and representative mix of what people were busy with – things we now take for granted, the advent of the image based communication, video, repro allsorts mail art networking in permanent creations, femenist and gender aspects, freedom of expression and where possible frontiers lie, as well as just plain nostalgic tit-bits of art-for-art next to engaged and enraged work from activists known and unknown... that strange and fragile symbiosis of university student working class steel mill... and lots of drink, obviously.
Very enjoyable and educative show free for all must-see... to my mind, and a good reality-check with our contemporary situation in mind:


Contemporary is already past... Thinking it was a work ( and still not sure ) I entered the three-house gallery space where ‘Collection’ was taking place – a show of work collected by Catharina Helsmoortel and Jean Marie Rikkers... with quite a few artists that I knew, and so had to go look... but admittedly decided to do a hit & run since I had already been driving all day & didn’t want to stay Dieter Roth hiding under the stairs, 














the aforementioned Angeli with small but intriguing works – a wall of Francis Schmetz looking thundery dark... Monsieur’s Delmotte behind the 
counter, process works one does not catch the first time – a sympathetic collection to endear everyone, and we were well met with lashings of wine and crunchy tidbits all over the show... small but enjoyable showcase exhibition.

dinsdag 3 april 2018

End East End

Though I had full understanding for the decision by our head Pistologist to discontinue our annual gathering at Ostend, my biological calendar needed more time to adjust... so I found myself on the train to the queen of Bathing beauties on Easter Monday anyhow... geared up for some art-action, whatever...

This time we had time, no promises to keep no specific venues, no pressure to perform, but to take in a few works by other artists participating in the “raft” of artsy activities around the place, including the just opened “Beaufort”... Highlight of which is the wonderful tong in cheeky monument to Jacky, the heroic dog... it’s really the cat’s whiskers, because it speaks to everyone: the art-lovers, the dog-lovers, lovers, bums and passers-by, all take a second glance, stop and sometimes close in to read the plaque... it’s one of Guillaume Bijl’s better ones recently... in fact, I seem to remember he did a maquette or prototype for the show “Chien Vierkant/ Hond Carré” at Factor 44 years ago... (1998, and, after an altercation proceeded to destroy his own work, to then re-position the pieces... from which point on we called it “chiens casseés”...)

















dogs too, are very interested



We say the plastic-bottleboat in the Poverello-church, the video with the pink version somewhere in the Mediterranean I presume, the sagging gates at the Peperbusse and the video in the big post office, 

but we came for sun, sea & sand so we headed for the creamery and had a good coffee while watching the day-trippers slide up & down the croisette... we joined them towards the station, and had a short homage session on the small beach (the one we first frequented back in the 90’s) where I dislodged myself from a recent alter-ego used for a perf-paff in Munich... K. Lagerhalle...













So, a perfectly pleasant day without the ret of the crowd, - a pity though when it’s time to quit it’s time to quit – and we were on an early train for once, which was also good...
I had written a small something about our meetings, hoping to include it in the next “Emergency Index”, but alas, far too late, the deadline being months ago...

Here it is anyway...


Demise de L’air...

Little did we know at the time that the 23rd annual easter monday performance meeting at Ostend would be the last... But then, it fit in well with the spontaneous nature of the whole project, which began with a small performance presentation at the behest of Marc Hioco (Institut de Pistologie) featuring organizers Dialogist-Kantor, and participants Andrew Webb, Titania Altezze and Heinrich Obst back in 1994... then billed as a “Laboratoire Patacycliste number “LP6, Les Grandes Brulés”.
From then on it grew naturally into one of the most agreeable performance meetings in Belgium, attracting participants from Antwerp, Brussels, Charleroi, Ghent and Liège occasionally on co-production with artist-run spaces such as EVA Malibran, Bureau du Port, Factor 44, Buireau Gruzemayer, and in recent years Buktapaktop... At the turn of the millenium one could count 30-odd performers and a participating crowd hovering around 100. In the nineties it was part of a series ‘Laboratoires Patacyclistes’ (LP) in which performers would gather at different venues, with a penchant towards semi-public spaces, and perform at will... aside from a theme/title there were no guidelines, and participation was open... registration and line-up discussed at venue. From 2000 it became somewhat more structured, with a hosting venue and catering by the Institut de Pistologie, based in Ostend.
One of the permanent features was performing on the beach- even if we had space in which to gather and perform- there was always a visit to the ocean’s edge, and regardless of weather conditions a number of performances presented there... after which we would warm ourselves in one of a few haunts we frequented, enjoying the selection of Belgian beers and the Ostend jazz scene...
The last meeting, called “Del Air” began at the gathering venue, a former post office become cultural centre, and proceeded through the city, attached by string, to the seafront at the casino, and proceeded to execute the performances on the beach, weather being dry, sunny and windy but still cold... Heinrich Obst did an “‘air piece” in which he cut his hair, using a living mirrored sculpture by Pjotr Os... to the strains of the 1968 musical “Hair” sung in heavy French & Flemish accents... We ended up, as we often did, warming ourselves to the strains of Marvin Gaye at the Lafayette, café he frequented when living in Ostend...

The news of the demise of this very agreeable performance tradition came as a surprise, but given its impromptu origins it’s perhaps time for something new... Dialogist-Kantor has already published one edition (Pistologie 2010-2014) of an archival series concerning this special venue, and thus it will still be present in people’s minds long after its gone. 


Image: live artist Pjotr Os on the beach, April 17th, 2017– while being photographed by filmmaker Boris Lehman as well as other participants...




vrijdag 2 februari 2018

Dinner

We hardly ever go to formal dinners. Perhaps I should say anymore, since there was a time when it did happen, occasionally, that I would end up at a long table with all sorts of artistic types talking, eating drinking and making merry... until the bill came and everyone disappeared... one of the reasons the enthusiasm for dinners has been somewhat subdued in recent years.
But this was a one-off special occasion... a gaggle of friends celebrating one of our own after years of estrangement, loss of contact, divergent interests and all that. A mix of people who knew/had known each other at some point, sometimes came across each other, with variant backgrounds of working together or alongside each other or in some way connected to the person being celebrated without his knowing officially, initially, but who showed up then, by circumstance fashionably late... so to speak.
The frame was opulent – a restaurant some of us had visited in the past, once perhaps, to give it a try but in fact way out of our budgetary range... which made this gathering a rather unique situation. It is perhaps a cliché to say, but the framework does in fact influence one’s state of mind (as well as dress) on this sort of occasion... Elevated sense of decorum perhaps, paying a bit more attention to one’s manners than otherwise? Who is to say, but for each one of us a bit of a treat... a celebration for us all, survivors in a way of times past, with ups and downs to recount, and diverging insights concerning the world around us. But common ground in general, the kind of shared attitude that makes adherence and coherence possible over long stretches of time and reconnect when the moment arises.
Conversations ranging from current affairs, activities and situations to small jaunts down memory lane, refurbishment of information on this or that person or thing-a-majigg end so forth... perhaps not the most profound exchanges, but useful updates and additions to general knowledge as well as specific dope on such-and-so... without descending into the unsavoury effluence of gossip. Capable, pattering conversation like small streams sometimes diverging around a rock or eddy of disinterest or just plain misunderstanding – or hearing problems at that, though it must be said the whole affarir was not noisy in any way... something one might have considered becoming given the guests and their reputations in bygone times... for in fact the group was quite a swathe through the more progressive tendencies of culture in the recent past, spearheading changes and new attitudes over a couple of decades at least...
While some had become established names in certain quarters of the cultural scene, others preferred to remain less obvious and in some cases downright secretive, without however relinquishing their convictions to some circumstance or other. The people around the table were not quitters and remained active in their own specific ways and sections of artistic practice. What could be said is perhaps that some might fare well with more public exposure, since one can’t help noticing that in the field many lesser figures were attracting more attention than their fair share. But then again, as said, some abhor attention, public or otherwise, and prefer to delve deep in a sort of virtual anonymity that does, however, surface when one knows where to scratch.
 
The meal was sumptuous, and the wines exquisite, contentment reigned and conversations flowed languid between all protagonists that milled and mixed somewhat in the interludes, making for a comfortable evening akin to such occasions as one might find friends who had only recently seen each other gathering... without the intensity and high-jinx of a younger set. We had had enough of that and no longer needed to play-act pretending our positions of underline them with affectation and exaggeration (x-ageration) so to speak. That in itself was refreshing and added to the feeling of being at ease, just enough to not become too mellow and on towards the morose. In fact the ending was very civilized, compared with the memories that had been rekindled during the evening – another difference that is not at all bemoan-able, since we all have had our share in out & out blasts and bust-ups in our time... in fact once even a prerequisite for a fine evening out... no this was quite stayed and amicable by comparison, one might even say statesman-like.
Who Nose?
 




 
(though quite a different situation, I couldn’t help thinking of the feel &’ teneur’ of “my dinner with André”(Louis Malle 1981) 


....

or the Banquet years (R. Shatuck) ...

...and yes, of course, but then in feudal times, among the aristocrats: fifty-fifty!)






or the Banquet years (R. Shatuck) and yes, of course, but then in feudal times, among the aristocrats: fifty-fifty!)