The exhibition ALL THAT WE HAVE HERE IS ALL THAT WE’VE ALWAYS HAD symbolically mirrors invisible and long-term dynamics within the urban landscape, through the work of Py & Verde, Sarah Smolders and Anna Witt. It is based on the premise that collective memory enables citizens to identify with history, as well as with the tangible and intangible heritage of their city.
The exhibition will grow from the 28th of October until the 25th of November, presenting the outcome of participatory projects and site-specific performances in the neighbourhood by Corpo Máquina Society, Dina Rončević, Davide Tidoni and Zorka Wollny & Tevin Mulumba.
The exhibition is the starting point of a guided walk in Kessel-Lo with architect Koen Stuyven, who grew up in the neighbourhood.
The BUCKWHEAT TOWN by Py & Verde is made from bundles of buckwheat noodles colonised by drugstore beetles. The insects’ larvae dig galleries in the noodle bundles, while also consolidating the material with their droppings and saliva. It is an ecosystem in a closed environment, where once the resources are finished, it becomes a fossil. It is the story of a tiny world, inhabited by voracious and insatiable creatures. In a way, it is a vanity, a memento mori. The shape recalls the ruined facades, retained during the restoration of buildings by props and steel beams. The serie is currently composed of four architectures: The Last Facade of Buckwheat Town (2013), The Theater (2016), The Court (2017) and The Aqueduct (2023). As other remains are discovered, the archaeological site of the Buckwheat Town expands.
TIME, SET IN STONE (2022-2023) by Sarah Smolders is a playful experiment, a question on labour, a poetic gesture of mapping time and a visual dialogue with the Hydraulic Research Labs of Flanders. In the time frame of one year, Sarah Smolders and her team took care of a sculpture that was at the same time the sculptor of a Noire de Mazy marble. What remains is a stone as a document of one year’s activity. Time, Set in Stone tries to grasp and translate the dedicated time given to a specific site and share this with an audience. By observing the working process with a focus on touch, care, rhythm and movement, the film unravels the heavy labour into precise gestures of creation, their impact on the body and how material transforms through time. Today, the Noire de Mazy marble is permanently installed in the gardens of the Hydraulic Research Labs of Antwerp. The site-specific action, the stone and the two pictures are part of an art integration commissioned by the Flemish Government.
BEAT HOUSE DONAUSTADT (2019) by Anna Witt is a collective sound performance realised within Kagran and Kaisermühlen areas in Vienna’s 22nd district that concentrate a piece of the city’s history. Formerly a working-class neighbourhood and stronghold of council housing, it was one of the last bastions of the Socialist Party in its fight against Austro-fascism. What interested Anna Witt most about this history is the vibrant utopia, the belief in the collective and in solidarity. For Beat House Donaustadt Witt used an ultrasound scanner to record the heartbeats of the residents of a “council housing”. At the start of the Wiener Festwochen in 2019, the residents opened their windows, letting their individual rhythms drift out and join to form a collective sound performance.
The video-documentation of participatory projects and site-specific performances in the neighbourhood included later in the exhibition:
For the performance IT TAKES A CHILD TO RAISE A VILLAGE, Corpo Máquina Society organises workshops for children between 7 and 12 years old. In several sessions, overlaps between Freestyle Football and Choreography are explored in a playful way. Each day, on 2nd, 3rd and 4th November, the workshop ends with an open moment for the public to come witness their ongoing creation.
Davide Tidoni’s ATTACK-DECAY and EACH TOUCH IS A MARK are performed in the area surrounding the Koning Albertbuilding in Kessel-Lo. Attack-Decay performed on October 28th, explores the acoustic qualities of the area by means of an impulse-generator device. Developed in the form of a durational performance interspersed with long silences, the work aims to witness the presence of an acoustics that will disappear together with the demolition of the Koning Albertbuilding. Each Touch Is a Mark performed on November 25th, starts with a performer walking in a space holding a snare-drum in front of their face. A collaborator positions themselves opposite to the performer and sets off a number of fireworks aimed at hitting the snare-drum. Developed as a slow walk punctuated with bangs of varying intensity, the action aims to explore the sense of uncertainty one feels when faced with sudden changes.
The workshop NEIGHBOURS’ JOURNAL is led by noise music composer Zorka Wollny and rapper Tevin Mulumba. During several days, participants create a spontaneous orchestra, learn to use their voice in an unusual way and create and perform lyrics based on their experiences, questions and opinions. The result is presented in a form of a video diary, in which participants perform their songs together with Zorka and Tevin on various found stages in public space in Kessel-Lo.