How about we first explain the cyanotype technique. “It is an easy process compared to the other photographic techniques” says former board member Miroslaw Faes. “In essence, it is basic chemistry. You spray a mixture of ferric ammonium citrate and Prussian red on paper. When that dries, the parts that come into contact with UV light turn blue. The trick is to prevent certain parts from being exposed to sunlight. After exposing it for about fifteen minutes, depending on the UV index, you rinse the mixture from the paper with water to stop the process. After that -and after drying it- you can look at the blueprint for years.
Secretary Levi Baruch tells us that the organization of Dekate Mousa's anniversary was less easy than the simple technique. “The stuff you need in order to make such a big cyanotype simply doesn’t exist. For the paper, we purchased a 275-meter by 1.2-meter roll of industrial packing paper. It weighs 30 kilos. For that, we made a 'film roll,’ probably the biggest in the world as well. We also had to craft a developing tray from slats and tarpaulin.
The most difficult thing to come up with was the drying method. “An idea from a friend of mine was this laundry rack,” Faes points out in the Studio of Dekate Mousa in Luna. Here, 275 meters are to be hung in parts. Wetting the piece, drying the piece, rolling it up, and wetting the next piece. The first thirty meters took us three hours on Tuesday. Now it is becoming more efficient. To speed up the drying process, we’re renting a dehumidifier from a hardware store.
The cyanotype will include a collection of ideas from the other student associations. “We invited all the associations to participate, which is somewhere between eighty and ninety” says Baruch, who was the chair of the TU/e’s oldest cultural association. In 1961, Dekate broke away from their parent association Eindhoven Student Corps and on October 18, it became an independent association. It’s a lot of fun to go through the entire history through this event.
Fifteen associations have decided to help with the world's biggest cyanotype. They receive ten meters of space for their own creations. “There will be more to be seen than just logos’ Baruch assures. “Neosis, for example, is going to put down silhouettes of chess pieces and Concorde has already cut out cardboard horses. Many cultural associations are participating, and soccer association Pusphaira and study association GEWIS, Japie, and Thor are also there.
Dekate Mousa wants to break the record of a Greek artist, who had made a 275 m2 blueprint in 2017. The idea of having it officially recorded in the Guinness World Records was quickly sidestepped by the association. The amount the organization charges for the mediation was absurdly high to the student association. “Whether we could transfer 12.500 pound. We don’t have that budget”, says Baruch, “but we don’t necessarily want to be the record holder. It remains a fun idea”.
There is no place on campus where the 250-meter paper strip can lie undisturbed by shadow. Hence, the fifteen associations take turns to line a ten-meter section of the lawn in front of Luna with cardboard silhouettes. After half an hour, the roll is twisted onto the spool so the next club can start. This happens on Friday, October 8. At 10:30h, 12:30h, and 15:30h, Dekate Mousa will explain to the people who are interested how a cyanotype can be made at home.
Dekate Mousa would prefer to hang the final product, a 250-meter-wide photo, on October 18 in the hall in Atlas. However, there is TU/e's Artistic Heroes exhibition at that time, so an alternative is being looked for. The idea now, is to display the blueprint on the banister of the MetaForum floor 0. That’s also wonderful, then it can already be seen from the second floor where many people walk by.”