On Ienke Kastelein’s “Sporen van URSULA”

Natsumi Sakai
6th October 2022

On a rainy day, I participated in Kastelein’s ‘walk’. It took place in the courtyard of Casco Institute, a small gravel field surrounded by greenery, amidst the city of bricks. Accessed through a short alley, and otherwise hidden by walls, the location had a secluded feel.

This participatory performance was divided into three parts. In the first part, we silently and slowly wander the courtyard. In the second part, we are shown an image of saint Ursula, and have her in our minds while we wander again. Then, we come into Kastelein’s studio just behind the courtyard and write, then discuss shortly.

In the second part, when children came running into the courtyard, I thought Ursula smiled.

“Protection”. Saint Ursula was introduced to us as the convent's protector, which the Casco institute building used to be. What came to my mind was how Ursula is a device which modulates human behavior. This device does not necessarily need to have a clear image such as the female saint; it can probably still function in the form of trees surrounding the courtyard.

Where does “Ursula” reside in this?

I was reminded of a phrase I read somewhere in the past: “metaphors came first.” Before any scientific analysis, the personification of nature was the beginning of humans linking themselves to their surroundings. The story of “Ursula” is one example of overcoming the divisions of categories and seeing a web instead.

I enjoyed this way of encounter with strangers and the town I just moved into. Within the envelope the artist created, I could meet while protecting my solitude.

Ienke Kastelein “Sporen van URSULA” (Traces of URSULA)
11, 16, 18, 23, 25,30 Sept. & 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 23, 30 Oct.
Friday 17.30 – 19.00
Sunday 11.00 – 12.30

Casco Art Institute / Abraham Dolehof
Lange Nieuwstraat 7, 3512 PA Utrecht