Lunch Stop Brussels

Trying out my new video/still camera in the main square of Brussels where I had 1 hour in between change trains on my way back to Slovakia.

Hibernation Blues

After two winters in a row I am ready for three summers in a row. This week the weather is teasing me. I responded by wearing shorts today, a bit premature as it is only early spring. It is nevertheless warm, sunny and in the sheltered courtyard very pleasant. I have dragged the work table outside. At night it cools down again, substantially. In eight weeks I will be in the Middle East, hard to imagine, yet... with this sun, I am ready!

You may have noticed some design and layout changes to my blog. I am setting up parallel blogs which are all linked from the main blog. There will be portfolio's dedicated to video's, one for my still images etc. I have posted another video 'H20' in the video portfolio, more will follow soon.

H20 intimately documents people seeking transformation of their state of well being by ritualistically washing themselves and drinking spring water.

The slow and un-focussed nature of the footage gives the video a trans-like quality as if time slowed down. Spoken words have been left untranslated to let them become part of the sound scape, which holds subtle clues of the location where this daily ritual takes place.

Marcel Baaijens, 2006. Shortened web version; TRT 4:30 minutes.
PS: The 'jump-shot look' of the footage is intentional and not the result of poor compression.

Joy 3 in video: Daar Komen Ze! (They're Coming!)

Short version of a documentary about carnival in Maastricht where a tradition provides people with the permission and opportunity to enter a state of JOY.

Music, parades, dressing up, a 'mock ruler' (Prince Carnival) and rituals, such as the firing of the Momus canon to signal the official start of carnival, are all designed to help people transition from regular life to a state of joy.

Filmed in 2007, Maastricht, Netherlands by Marcel Baaijens.

TRT 5 minutes.

Joy 2

More images are from Carnival in Maastricht. I cannot help myself and publish a series of more abstract inages. I like such images as they trigger a process of projection (imagination) in the viewer. For me the images express the vibrancy of carnival. I posted the same on the bridgeguard blog, but to make life easier for the subscribers to this blog I repeat the images here.

I have completed a 5 minute condenced documentary that will be posted and available this week if technology will be kind. Will keep you posted.

Video still: Maastricht Carnival

Video still: Maastricht Carnival

Video still: Maastricht Carnival

Video still: Maastricht Carnival

Video still: Maastricht Carnival

Video still: Maastricht Carnival

Video still: Maastricht Carnival

Joy 1

Carnival In Maastricht is long gone, but it is still alive daily here in my studio in Slovakia as I watch and edit video footage of the event. It is interesting to review what I filmed over and over again, as one does when editing. Apart from attempting to capture the symbolic archetypal role of Prince Carnival for one project, I also filmed without any specific project or approach in mind. Filming is viewing life through a lens. It is an interesting way of observing and being present with what comes on my way. As I look through the lens, I look and see differently with a different focus.

Video still: Anticipating the 'attack' with confetti, the welcoming parade for Prince Carnival, Maastricht, Netherlands.

There is something unique about carnival that grabbed from the time I was old enough to travel alone to the south of The Netherlands to celebrate it. The predominantly protestant north where I grew up does not condone such ‘sinful’ celebrations. So I had to go the catholic south where carnival is tradition. There are certain moments in the footage that captured the essence of carnival.

Video still:Under attack, the welcoming parade for Prince Carnival, Maastricht, Netherlands.

It may sound silly, but for me such moments have a spiritual quality; moments when people are One with being joyful, moments of complete surrender of ego, simple, beautiful, yet not necessarily easy. The spiritual quality is no different than moments of surrender I experienced while walking El Camino in Spain or witnessed while people passed in front of the sanctuary in Lourdes, France. It is a state of being that people attempt to attain through hours of meditation. Being spiritual can take many forms besides meditation, undertaking a pilgrimage or praying the rosary for example. Being present in the here and now is one way of putting it. That can be being present with consciousness, the bigger picture of life and all its connections, or just walking around the streets Maastricht and surrender to the joyful nature of human existence that carnival represents.

Video still:Carnival warm-up on Saturday afternoon, the welcoming parade for Prince Carnival, Maastricht, Netherlands.

Some people are able to surrender whole-heartedly. Others struggle. Perhaps they take themselves too serious, give in to self-consciousness (of ego) and potential or imagined judgement of others (which strengthens the critic’s ego). Maybe the magic of carnival is the ‘permission’ to let go of ego and surrender to just being oneself, being One with the joy of one’s Soul. Anything goes during carnival, yet not everything is appropriate. Many people do not understand the difference and take it as an excuse to ignore their grounding, let go of responsibility for self and others and go crazy.

Video still:One of the many participants who quietly act out characters to bring joy to onlookers, the main parade on Sunday, Maastricht, Netherlands.

When I returned to Maastricht after 20 years I was a bit apprehensive. Worried about coloured memories creating expectations. Carnival does not properly start till the Sunday, but I went out on the Friday night to sample the ambiance of the build-up to the event with fellow Couch Surfers. Two experiences that night neutralised my apprehension instantly.

Video still: One of the many participants who quietly act out characters to bring joy to onlookers, the main parade on Sunday, Maastricht, Netherlands.

First I experienced a strong energy radiating from one of the old churches in the city. I suspect that churches can act as resonance chambers and, like loudspeakers, amplify spiritual essence that may be present at a particular location on earth. I had just completed a 2-day training course called Quantum Touch, which was all about channelling energy for healing purposes. So maybe I was more ‘open’ than usual, but sensing the energy made me realise that Maastricht is possibly one of those special places on earth with heightened spiritual energy. That may explain why there are so many grand churches in the old city that started out as a Roman city. I would not be surprised if this energy is what keeps carnival grounded in its roots and plays a key factor in making carnival in Maastricht so unique.

Video still: Musicians getting the crowd going, Maastricht, Netherlands.

Secondly there was a brass band ‘C’est Tout’ from Nijmegen playing music outdoors. The band was subtly interacting with the crowd, playing non-carnival music in a carnival style. The leader of the band totally surrendered to the essence and the passion of the music. Expressing it, not only with his instrument, but also with his entire body as if enticing others to join, respond, be one with joy.

Video still: Musicians rising to the occasion, Maastricht, Netherlands

These moments made it easy for me to surrender and reconnected with past experiences without which life would not be the same. There would be many such moments throughout the following days making Carnival in Maastricht one of the many amazing highlights of this journey.

Video still: no holding back, Maastricht, Netherlands

I am in the process of editing a short video that I hope to post soon on the internet for all to see. To see some additional images click here to go to the Bridgeguard7 blog and look for post titled 'Week 19'.

A Nomadic Mansion

Lofty rooms
Chrystal chandeliers
Stairs to the left and to the right


What is right?
What is privilege?
What is pleasure?


Pleasure of touch
Pleasure of awareness
Pleasure of freedom


Freedom from cultural conditioning
Freedom from mortal morality
Freedom from I


I experienced a mansion
I experienced space
I experienced surrender


Surrender within
Surrender without
Surrender if


"If I were a rich man..."
I am
I am a rich man

A nomadic mansion