From August 2014 to August 2018, British artist Val Carman journeyed the installation Assembly throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. The installation consisted of five chairs from Passchendaele church and a large register drawn from the IFFM List of Names, with more than 174,000 names of the dead from the United Kingdom and Ireland who fell on Belgian soil during the First World War. The installation visited 23 locations and made a journey of in total more than 7600 km. At each location, the public was invited to write down the story of their relationship with the First World War next to names that they knew, or others on the opposite white page in the register.
From 24 August to 9 November 2018 Assembly can be seen in the In Flanders Fields Museum. In addition to Journey, a report of the journey that assembly made, Val Carman shows a second installation on the site of the Artist in Residence: ‘regret’, a silent , poetic space about the intimate grief of the bereaved families, the empty places (chairs) that remained in the houses, but then on a global scale. For the last time, the big book with the 174,000 names and with the many hundreds of stories that have been inscribed over the past four years, will be on display. Once again, the public will have the opportunity to add their story. Afterwards, the register will be kept in the IFFM research centre.
Assembly will have its apotheosis, called Memorial Chairs, in the final weekend of the centenary. From the United Kingdom and Ireland, the perspective then shifts to the entire world. From each of the more than 120 countries in the world where people were born who died in Belgium during the First World War, one seat makes the trip to Ypres. The chairs are donated by people worldwide who want to be part of this project. They are picked up by DHL, the international forwarding agent who have generously supported this project. The chairs are assembled at the IFFM and on 9 November they go from the inner courtyard of the Cloth Hall to the Astrid park, north of the cathedral, where they, together with lanterns that light them as in a vigil, will form the unique installation Memorial Chairs. This third installation is part of the program of the final weekend of the centenary of the Flemish Government and can be visited until November 11 at 10 pm.