Mass and Individual Moving

1976 - 1985

In 1976, Mass and Individual Moving (MAIM) rises like a phoenix from the ashes, after the abrupt and violent end of Mass Moving. It's a metaphor they use themselves. On 22 March 1977, the city of Antwerp celebrates the 400th birthday of baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), and MAIM detonates a bomb on the vanished Flemish polder village of Lillo. The first action of the new collective, now under the slightly more explicit supervision of Raphaël Opstaele, is a series of radioactive monuments.

The energy crisis of the early 1970s and the ensuing anti-nuclear energy movement feed the debate on alternative energy. MAIM wants to be independent and, like its predecessor Mass Moving, consults natural power sources such as sun and wind. It is that ecological autonomy that prevails, and in which its members differ from the utopian do-gooders, and their desire for freedom. It's a different time. MAIM has its feet on the ground and thrives on the flow of event spectacle, making itinerant monuments and using the connecting power of poetry. Just like a circus, MAIM wants to entertain and confront the audience.

MAIM is a so-called 'vzw', or non-profit organisation, founded by Raphaël Opstaele, Barbara Hahn, Luc Schuiten, Pierre Gonay and Claire Lamy. Unlike the members of Mass Moving's wild loose collective, the people who worked on MAIM projects were paid.

In 1985, 'Mecano Art' is first mentioned, created by ORAS, acronym of Raphaël Opstaele's full name: Opstaele Raphaël August Serapfin. From then on, MAIM will continue under this name and focus on large mechanical sculptures that function like metaphors for serious problems in this world. Every project requires months or years of technical and financial preparations. Where in our technological science fiction world, everything gets smaller and smaller, ORAS makes everything bigger and bigger, treading in the footsteps of the giants from our children's books.

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