Astronauts in the Jeruzalem Church

On the longest day of the year two astronauts land in Amsterdam West. They do a warmup jog on the square before going into the Jerusalem Church where they get fitted with their suits.

According to palaeontologists, the first objects to be venerated were meteorites, and the metal in them. Later this was extended to monoliths, which were used as burial stones or judgement stones. In time this would also include stone statues, ivory or wooden statues, and long after that all kinds of religious relics and works of art. But apparently it all started with astroliths. A mysterious meteor-like blob of clay resides on the altar. The astronauts explore the church and inspect the clay object. Next to the altar sits a solitary figure, building a cardboard model of a church. This is Joseph Merrick, the Elephantman – half-man, half-comet. A strange and at times hilarious ritual unfolds involving timekeepers and a group of people in animal costumes.

Astronauts: Johannes Sterk, Elias Tieleman. Merrick: Theun Karelse. Animal costumes by Alet Pilon. Merrick costume by Simone de Rooij. Music by Karel Christian Schultz, Tian Rotteveel.