House of souls

photographic and immersive exhibition on perinatal bereavement on January 22 & 23, 2022 in Brussels.

This fundraising campaign follows a first crowdfunding campaign on Ulule: https://fr.ulule.com/house-of-souls-exposition-photographique-immersive/ Thanks to your support, this time, the exhibition can finally come true next January!

House of Souls is an intimate exploration of the journey of women and men confronted with miscarriage or death in utero.

By creating an alcove where photography serves as a door for the circulation of their words, I invite all of us to confront the reality of these events.

By moving forward in the process of photographic creation and by following their journey of mourning towards a form of resilience, we come to the need for a better collective consideration of their journeys. 

"I can feel the things going on in my stomach more because I think when you've been listening it's silly, but that kind of gurgling, things like that… I feel them more… Or movements that we can have in the uterus. These things I feel more, which can besides be felt like blows… I still touch my stomach often today, it is a house ”

Julie M.

“I wonder if we realize things when we don't go through these experiences, and how much things are going on in our body. Because I admit that, let's admit, if I had had my two daughters, I don't know if I would have listened to myself as much, if I would have asked myself so many questions about my body, as much listened ...  In fact it's like being reborn to myself, because I'm in something more authentic to myself. "

Julie D.

Preamble

Since I was very young, I have been spellbound by the bellies. This region hidden behind the navel, this central space of the body, where you start. The belly, the image of life par excellence, where life appears, sometimes miraculously, then grows or disappears. For women and also for men, the belly, the sacral, represents the vital energy. It is the place of emotions that we show, shout, reveal, keep buried. Some call it the “second brain”: a reflection of ourselves, of our past history, of our wounds. It holds the memory of the body, of this body, of our body. A mind can forget, but our body never forgets. This belly is for me like the indelible ink of our life, of our past, of our wounds, of our strength. It is a real mirror of what we are, want to be. Our soul house.

I have been thinking for several years to create a photographic project around what I call “House of Souls” - the house of souls. A few months ago, the call of these bellies came to catch up with me in a visceral way as I had a miscarriage. The primary sensation of life for the first time suddenly confronted that of death.

In one end of me, something broke.

Something that I feel intimately will follow me forever. Very quickly, questions came upset me; they are closely linked to the desire to bring this exhibition project to life.

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The device

Why are we so hit by someone that we lose when we do not know him or who is not yet 'someone'? Why is it so difficult to evoke it elsewhere than in itself? Why do we need to turn this event into something 'positive', to do something about it? How to show the life which is renewed by speaking of death?

These mixed reflections evoke something that touches us in the depths of who we are. An intimate, invisible fracture… and yet very real. The open wound of a word that is difficult to release and hear for the other, whether in the private, friendly, family circle or on a larger scale.

These first feelings made me want to learn about the stories of other parents who have faced this loss, that of a fetus or a baby inside the mother's womb. I then gathered testimonies from bereaved moms and dads, sometimes for several years. All of them have brought back to me the fact of a word that is impossible to say. Where only circles of bereaved parents, specialized therapists, seemed trained to receive this word, and to hear it, to understand it, to give it a meaning. There was therefore an obvious need to say, in a broader spectrum, without shame, nor taboo. Without judgement. To go out of oneself to challenge the collective.

Also, at the same time, I became personally aware of a real mourning to do and something to 'transform'. Whether it is in the miscarriage or in the loss of a baby in utero, everyone has relayed to me this mourning of a “someone” for whom many things had often been projected very early; memories to live and share together. And as strange as it may sound, even in an early miscarriage, this sensation was expressed in most cases. In both, the woman's body marked by a presence, even a short one, gave me the desire to create a space for this indelible mark to keep, and to show.

When I decided to end the interviews by taking a photograph of the woman's belly, I wanted, through this volume imposing itself in a tight frame to the image, to show this "trace" that we keep. in itself, which could not come out of itself, and which nevertheless remains, time passing, indelible. A form of ghostly abstraction which suddenly takes up all the space that can be observed. Of a story that opens and unfolds, of an intimate fracture that is expressed and that reveals itself to be fruitful for something else.

Because this bereavement in which parents are inevitably plunged, is often experienced very differently by very close relatives, professional entourage or friends. The baby could not be presented, seen or fully formed in everything that would make him a human being; there is a real shock between the feelings of the parents, who have nourished the arrival of this baby for more or less a long time and are confronted with emptiness, with the absence, in relation to the feelings of external people, for whom this awareness does not exist. is not made concretely and whose body has not been impacted. There is a non-event for relatives, the meeting of the dead child taking place in a very restricted circle which is not a social event. Neither his life nor his death being.

The photographic process and these reflections gave me the desire to work around this word to be received , this path of mourning to be started by the parents, to manage, despite everything, to come out with something; of this path of understanding on the part of society without erasing the event or their parenthood. All, were in a 'becoming parents', had started this process of parenting. What interests me is to put all of us face to face with their words, face this part of themselves which is in mourning, face these bellies impregnated not with something "false" or with something. lambda event and, through their work of mourning and resilience, to question ourselves on the need for evolution in our relationship to these early deaths.

This exhibition is a desire to enter into a dialogue with the visitor, to open up to the self of each and to ask the question of intimacy within the collective.

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Scenography / Staging / Exhibition

The idea is to bring the first staging of the exhibition to life in a unique place that I co-manage with my brother in Les Marolles, in the heart of Brussels. Sea of Clouds, this particular place of 180 square meters is a center of flotation.

It is divided into several distinct spaces and would give the exhibition a different, unique scenography; to allow visitors to "enter" into a sensory, visual, organic layout.

In each room, the codes change. The exhibition is meant to be alive. We will offer an experience of attention, an introspection in the heart of oneself. Here, everyone plunges into a personal journey.

Finally, since the center is specialized in flotation (we have flotation tanks, containing 1000 liters of water and 600 kg of Epsom salt, allowing the body to "float", to be in total weightlessness, whose benefits are at the same time physical, creative, meditative, relaxing), the space offers a third possibility, even more sensory and immersive, that of ending the exhibition course in a floating bubble.

The stake of the course which we undertake in this work being  reconnection to the intimate, the intimate of the belly, to the inner sensation , we find it important to make the work perceived, seen, visited resonate, in order to reconnect within oneself. Invite everyone to their own (re) connection to their sensations, to this second brain that is the belly. The floatation cocoon, by its shape and the water it contains, is reminiscent of the interior of the mother's womb. It is the time to come back to oneself, to calm, to calm down and to digest the information transmitted by the exhibition.

What will the funding be used for

If I chose to carry this project without being in a desire for financial compensation concerning me, there are nevertheless irreducible costs, both in the salaries of the people who collaborate with me and in the proper installation of the exhibition.

What has already been achieved (without budget - at my expense):

- around forty face-to-face or remote video interviews with mothers and fathers

- photographs of women's bellies: we were able to use the room which will serve as an immersive room for the exhibition (free of charge which has considerably reduced costs)

- the written transcript of all interviews

What remains to be done thanks to your support:

- retouching of photographs and their prints

- audio and video editing of the immersive room and the exhibition

Obtaining € 5,000 would allow us to have the concrete financing of the exhibition: 


- Purchase of equipment and installation: printing papers, editing costs, mounting accessories ...: € 2,875

- Rental of the silver laboratory for the prints: 250 €

- Remuneration of my collaborators on the project (photographer and transcription): 1275 €

- Counterparty costs: € 600

I would like to point out that the counterparts concerning the floatation sessions go well in the financing of the project and are in no way a means of selling sessions in a roundabout way for the center. The project has been supported by the center from the start, free of charge, both in the loan of places for interviews and photographs, and for the setting up of the exhibition.

If this level is reached, the remaining sum will allow the rest of the project to be set up ... namely, the documentary film on this same theme. 

And after? The project continues?

Opening / following up after the exhibition: House of Souls, the documentary

Along with the face-to-face process, filmed interviews and photographic work, I had the chance to be contacted by women from all over the world, who wanted to bring their testimony, their active participation in the project.

For several months, I have regularly devoted time to interviews filmed via the Zoom application or in person. These exchanges, even if they are sometimes distanced, are rich, dense, and open a liberated, different, always singular speech with mothers and fathers in search of answers, of doubt, but above all, of a deep faith and knowledge. 'a real awareness, often resilient. They also connect me to the Universal in this need to offer a space of free speech, a place of listening and sharing, useful for all.

This material, both filmed and audio, whatever the medium used, offers invaluable material and made me want to go further in my research. I am currently working in parallel with the writing of the documentary. 

The project team

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Rose Denis

Rose is a Belgian actress and writer-director. Having previously settled in Paris for several years, she joined Acting International's multidisciplinary course in acting and then joined the Actors Factory. As an author and director, she studied Romance languages and literatures, scenography, the performing arts and then trained in directing. Following a first creative immersion, she shot her first short film, L'Appel du caribou. Alone and in co-writing, she subsequently wrote several scripts for short and feature films (And if the walls could speak, I can, The Doll's House ...), as well as a play Murders in Cripple Creek which receives in 2016 the Petit Molière 'Best comedy show'. At the end of 2016, she received the SACD Coup de Foudre grant for the theatrical project Give me the death that I need. Currently, she is working on various projects and in particular: in production for her first feature film Petites filles, a documentary film on perinatal bereavement, theater projects, directing (Rebirth) or as an author and actress (Fauve) .

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Nastasja Saerens

Nastasja is a director of photography, she has shot nearly twenty short films, ten documentaries, music videos, and a first feature film. The closeness that we have developed between her and me allows her to have a precise and very accurate reading. She is a valuable collaborator, fully committed from the start of the project. In this process to be as close as possible to the sensitivity that I am looking for, his discerning eye has greatly nourished my work. Without her, this project could not have been set up in the same way. She was the trigger to start this path  to be undertaken together, in pairs, but also with the women we have met.

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Charlotte cristin

Charlotte is a young director, she currently works as an assistant director and in different positions on several series and short films. It is thanks to his meticulous work of transcribing remote and video interviews that the immersive room of the exhibition will be possible.

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the association Loup

Wolf is the first name I would have liked to have given to the baby that I lost. Its name is now that of my non-profit organization, which aims to encourage unique Belgian artistic expression, the highlighting of young creators and the creation of projects that go beyond the standards and the classic framework (multi media, multi media, societal themes complex or confronting, ...) in all its forms, and to raise public awareness. It will strive to promote dialogue and synergy between different types of arts.

Supported By

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Sea of Clouds - floating center & sensory experience

The place welcomed us free of charge for filmed interviews and photographs and continues to support us by allowing us to exhibit for the first time in Brussels ... in a unique space allowing a real full immersive and sensory experience.

Thank you

A SPECIAL THANKS to all the moms and dads I have met and who trusted me by sharing their stories and experiences. To the medical teams and associations with which I started working for the documentary film.

AN ADDITIONAL THANKS TO IVAN GEORGIEV for the musical creation on the crowdfunding video.

The path begins, thanks to all of you.

Support the project

Possible rewards

Support the project by making a donation or by buying one of the proposed rewards: if you choose to buy a reward, tell me which one interests you in the order of your transfer or to this email: rosedenis.pro@gmail.com

Support us by paying by credit card via Sumup or Paypal

Or by making a transfer directly to the account of the ASBL

BE46 3632 1222 5936 - LOUP ASBL 

For 15 € - Access to the exhibition

Pre-book your place to visit the exhibition.

For 45 € - Book of the exhibition

Find the entire photographic exhibition and extracts of testimonials. Your name will appear in the acknowledgments.

Glued square back binding, 21x29.7cm format, matt lamination, uncoated classic offset paper, internal weight 90g, matt coated cover 300g film coated. (delivery in Belgium included)

For 90 € - Access to the exhibition & one hour floatation

Pre-book your place to visit the exhibition then float for one hour on the day of the exhibition (valid for 1 person) in a tailor-made sound environment.

For 140 € - Access to the exhibition & floatation for 2

Pre-book your place to visit the exhibition for 2 + float for 1 hour on the day of the exhibition (valid for 2 people in the same pool / ideally as a couple) in a sound environment tailor-made for the exhibition.