The dune, or, Cathedrals of the Mind


May 2017


1. Car

Wet cobbles, the shuddering car creates weird noises, might want to slow down a little.

Drizzle on the windscreen

Can’t see a thing,

the rhythm of the wipers connects to the song on the radio.


A long slender mass floats above the horizon,

supported by the thickest columns

massive concrete

almost touched by the by the watery grey clouds

gray on gray

ton sur ton


In the waiting line,

cars slowly pour through the gate

3 cars



A quick handwave at a nameless employee clad in bright yellow


Bit of gas,

the parking place opens up in front of me, riddled with containers.


First gear,

more gas,

the car howls onto the ramp

wheels slithering on the wet road


The rain stops, as do the automatic windscreen wipers


I put the car between two columns

In a single image, steelworks across the canal, with its big cranes unloading a bulk carrier, in front smaller ships arriving to line up for the locks.

In the back steam collides with the low overhanging clouds, shrouding the pipes and buildings in a layer of thick wet smoke.

2. Elevator

As i release the door handle a gust of wind pulls open the door, a cold drizzle sweeps across my face.

Quickly I move across the elevated parking lot to the glass doors of the building.

I move through the sliding glass doors into the hall, two elevators rise up in front of me, “Whats the time actually?” I wonder as I hit the steel button. “Still 15 minutes till the appointment, good.”

I look around: glass, steel trusses, natural stone on the floor, this the coldest place even though you can see it costed quite a bit. The palmtree in the corner is nice, a bit silly though, must have been the janitor’s idea. I look up, as the cabin of the elevator slowly comes down. A small stripe of yellow light moving along the vertical glass strip carved out in the concrete column.

A click,

a hum,

artificial light flushes out of the two opening metal doors.

three square meters of emptiness before I see myself against the grey background.

I step into the elevator, so does my mirror image, I inspect her closely, her hair obviously wasted by the weather, smal pearls of water on the trenchcoat, she might want to redo her make-up before she goes to work…


As the doors close, she hits the button to the second floor.

3. Movement

“Sorry girls, but I have an appointment before we go to work, with the manager, yeah, it’s about my contract, yeah, okay, I should go now, bye!”

Heels tick on the polished stone floor, resonating up along the walls, the chatter slowly fades as she turns around a corner. Her silhouette is repetitively illuminated by the natural light coming from the windows and eclipsed by the particularly thick window frames.


click click click




click click click



she greets people on the move, glances at her reflection in the windows, chin up, hand through her hair. The grey daylight draws almost all the color out of the air, not that there is much color applied anyway, white walls, floor of a grey pink color, marble, grey doors.

suddenly she stops at a door, ladies room the sign says. She pushes the door and disappears inside.

4. Breathing

Diffuse light emits form a milky white window pane. Silence, except for a ventilator somewhere in the wall. The door opens, light floods the tiles, past the figure entering the room, the hallway becomes visible, then a window frame, the water, the industry, the clouds, become visible, all that’s ever visible from here.

The woman moves towards the sink stone, gets her toiletry out of her suitcase, opens the tap, water streams into the sink, she washes her hands, inspects herself more closely in the mirror, with the water still running she adjusts her hair into a pony tail. She leans on to the stark white porcelain sink, above the crane, designerishly rectangular, bit oversized. Light from around the mirror illuminates her skin has she grown older?

Have I grown older? Those wrinkles.. alright, lipstick, eyeshadow.

How do I look? Good, let’s see what the manager has to tell me today.

5. Vacuum

So this is it, new terminal building, too expensive, disappointing profits, no prolongation of the contract, in a month, no work, well timed.

Five minutes before I should get aboard, I just got my last preparations. Time for a sigarette, I badly need a sigarette.

Too bad they forgot to create a smoking room in the office area, smoking with passengers is prohibited, of course. Anyway, luckily, there are these vacuum spaces, hidden exteriors, small courtyards, secluded from view but from the adjacent offices. Hopefully it stopped raining, don’t want to get soaked again. From the corridor, I can enter one of the courtyards. It’s a sliding door, easy to keep open on warm days I guess. The courtyard is nice, surprisingly lush compared to the corridor itself. Ferns grow on one wall, large beds with plants line the facade, the roof extends a little beyond the wall creating just enough space to hide from the drizzle. Long slender columns support the roof. The area is small, smaller the the managers office. Two sides border offices. One side is just a facade separating the courtyard from the void behind. As I light my sigarette I look around, a clerk in a suit behind a computer, staring into the white light of some excel file. He doesn’t notice me, he doesn’t notice anything. The rain is still pouring down. I glance through the small slit towards the canal, the canal again. The world is devoid of any colour, even the blue of a container ship departing from the harbour looks like a worn-out pair of jeans.

I stick my head out of the cavity in the facade, I look down into the dizzying depth, to the right the ship I should be on, right now, not that it matters though I’m not needed there anymore, I might as well jump.


This short story has been written and performed by Joris Klein during the Space±Time/Narrative workshop in Delft and acts as a reflection on his design from a previous master studio.


Mark Proosten