The city does not exist. The city is an entity made up of performances that are acted out every day by roughly the same people who do – or don’t do – more or less the same things. Every performer constantly creates and recreates the city. As performers, we ascribe a meaning to this stage set known as ‘the city’. If we all decide to leave the set, then the city becomes a different physical and mental space.
In MAPping, we reveal the traces of the exceptional perfectly ordinary people of Brussels: Isabel, Pitcho, Amira, Roland, Benjamin, Omar en Didier. All of them artists from Brussels. Artists from an array of different disciplines, an array of different artistic circles, and multiple generations. With all the attendant consequences. Along with them, we discover and rediscover the connective tissue of the city. Without pretention, without sensation, but all the more with warmth and feeling. Each in his or her own way, the artists map their city; their home. We jump into their skin and stroll with them through their lives and stories in Brussels.
Benjamin Vandewalle studied at the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp and graduated at P.A.R.T.S. in Brussels in 2006. Since early on, the central theme in his work is perception. He creates movement – not only in the performer’s body but also in the spectator’s. His work is about sharing new experiences and perspectives with a large audience. For the performances Birdwatching (2009) and One/Zero (2011), he worked closely with visual artist and scenographer Erki De Vries. In 2012 he stepped out of the black box into the public space. His mobile performance Birdwatching 4x4 was a festival favourite amongst audience and critics and toured for several seasons. At this moment Benjamin is touring the intimate installation Interview (2013) as well as the sound choreography Hear (2016). For both pieces he works closely with local participants. Benjamin is also working on several new installations and performances for public space. He collaborated with the dance school Nyakaza in South Africa, launched the project Comfusao in Mozambique and accompanied a group of P.A.R.T.S. dance students during an exchange project in Senegal. Together with philosopher Jan Cnops and a group of school children from Molenbeek he made the documentaries (un)usual and Movements. Benjamin Vandewalle is Artist in Residence at Kaaitheater from 2017 to 2021.
Photo-Masks. The city is there outside of us but we all have our inner cities: an inner map of the city created by the very way we look at, move through and listen to the city. Photo-Masks is an invitation to play with this principle and to dive into the city through the eyes of the other.
Amira Daoudi, graphic designer and art director, lives and works in Brussels. It is in this tangled world of identities that she specializes in the creation of film posters. Having graduated from the Royal Academy of Visual Arts of Sint Lukas, Brussels, in 2010, she affirmed her voice with "Little Baby Jesus of Flandr" by Gust Van den Berghe. Since her artwork for the Academy Award Nominee 'Bullhead', in 2010, her portfolio continues to expand, and she now leads her international creative communication company. In 2015 Amira's first solo exhibition 'From Film To Poster' took place in the Galerie de la Reine. She released a graphic novel, Cafard, that same year. In 2016, her company began developing the brand new identity of Brussels’ Royal City Theater, KVS. Along with her design work for film and theater projects, she is currently working on the MAPping Brussels performance of KVS.
For MAPping Brussels, Amira Daoudi researched the meaning of one of Brussels’ iconic symbols, namely the angel. The archangel Michael is the protector of the city. The depiction of angels is deeply rooted in human memory. The angel both cryptic and polymorphic; as a man or as a woman, as a child or as an adult, is also a moral symbol of goodness and protector against evil. What do the angels in Brussels speak to us? What perceptible voice or sound was previously considered divine? What makes us want to portray angels for so long? Why is their innocence so attractive? In MAPping, the angel becomes a metaphor of the city. The angel was wounded, but saved and helped by mankind. This angel, who watches over us, has been transformed by Amira into a moving tableau, and a logo design translated on various media including the map of the trail.
Isabel Burr Raty
Isabel Burr Raty is a Belgian-Chilean artist based in Brussels since 2013. Isabel's research focuses on the ontological crack between the native and the engineered, between the un-licensed knowledge of the resettled, the relocated, and the official facts. Her artistic practice intertwines new media with new materials, in order to create performances and installations that play with synthetic magic and propose bio-autonomy practices.
Bio-Twirling. In MAPping, Isabel invites the audience of participants to go beyond the topographical and historical frontiers that define our own “tribalism”. To enter in to the void of our inner and outer territories, mobilizing our bodies in to a common – twirl against the clock –, in order to flirt with the mystery that makes all interspecies co-habit in this world. In a playful game and through the parcours of a visual installation, Isabel opens an intimate universe where the abject becomes a pulse between freedom and domination, mirroring the chaotic and surrealist fragility that you may find imprinted in the landscapes of Brussels.
Pitcho Womba Konga
Pitcho tries to give shape to his world, somewhere between music and literature, theatre and film. It is a world where several influences coincide, taking as its example the hip-hop culture that has been his home ground for more than two decades. Pitcho is from Kinshasa, has Belgian nationality, lives in Brussels and performs all over the planet: he’s a true man of the world.
Brussels is a big city full of flats that conceal lives, stories and perhaps intimate moments too. When we walk through the city we observe and look for silent moments from people’s lives without their permission. Is this also a way of getting to know others better? To watch them at moments when they do not have the feeling of being watched? Are they then more real?
A piece directed by Pitcho Womba Konga, with Yousra Dahry, Leila Duquaine and Caroline Dujardin; the text is from Brigitte Giraud’s book L’amour est très surestimé.
Omar is a set designer by trade. He works in theatre, film and dance, and in these fields is ready for any challenge. What he wants to do most is make artistic dreams come true so that every performance, play or film has something special, an original and singular touch unique to that creation. Omar tries to add those colours that can touch the audience without a word being spoken, with that simple magic that arises out of creativity and collaboration with performing artists and others.
Omar pays tribute to Madame Andrée, a lady whose story we hear throughout the route. Omar wanted to bring her to life again for a moment and to this end opted to use holography on a human scale. This is not a technique that he invented – it has existed for decades – but Omar combines it with other techniques such as digital art forms including video, composition and FX. His fertile cooperation with several of the performing artists in MAPping led to a song for this lady, who in the mind of a child was a racist because she never said hello to him, until the day when…
Roland Dumbi Kamanda
Roland was born in Brussels and originates from a large family that lives all over the world: so he’s a real world citizen. After his studies, Roland felt the need to move. He quickly left for the centre of London, where he spent several years hanging around with various personalities. However, a return to the source in Brussels was essential to expanding his passion for film-making, photography and everything related to the cinema. Roland has experience in short films, musical comedies, video-clips and other forms.
Roland is also paying tribute to Madame Andrée in MAPping, a lady about whom we are told throughout the route.
Didier De Neck
Didier was the founder of Théâtre de Galafronie and has been a member of it for forty years. He has been an actor, director and author in numerous collective creations for adolescents and for a broad audience (at Papyrus, Sac-à-dos, KVS, Toneelhuis, Campo, Roultabi, Galafronie, Tanneurs, Varia, Balsamine, National et al.). Didier is above all a resident of Sint-Joost in Brussels. He lives and works there with musicians, lawyers, the unemployed, actors and so on.
For the duration of MAPping Brussels, Didier will be keeping the doors of the company, which is situated between Warmoesstraat and Wijnheuvelenstraat, open for participants. His collective has prepared several intimate encounters in several parts of the living and working area (musical and confidential in nature, mini lectures, judicial experiences and other sensations of the collective: smells and tastes). They offer the public pure, heartfelt moments. Welcome, from Didier and the others (Marianne, Çigdem, Éric, Camilo, Elsa, Christine, Guy, Al, Ahmed, Alba, Marco, Isa et al.)
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