openHUB: rural vs. urban

21 May - 18 Jun 2016

Stephanie Krah / Annette Krebs / Claire Stragier / JD Zazie
21 May - 18 June 2016

openHUB Europe is a project-based partnership between four cultural institutions in Belgium (Netwerk, Aalst), Germany (OSTRALE, Dresden), Italy (Associazione Equinozio, Milan) and Poland (World of Hope Association, Wroclaw), each respected in their own right for the quality of their organisation and output. These partners, united in cultural diversity, seek to contribute to the development of more interdisciplinary collaborations at the European level between fine art and the performing arts. In the broader societal context, the openHUB partners share the objective of supporting the exciting but laborious process of collective growth towards a united Europe. openHUB Europe creates opportunities for reflection on social, geographic and economic contexts in order to arrive at a better understanding of the collaborative processes at work in Europe’s cultural field. As part of the project, between May 2015 and September 2016 temporary ‘hubs’ or exchange platforms will be incorporated in the programmes of the partner organisations. These hubs will be dedicated to the exploration of various forms of collective activities involving a variety of different disciplines. This borderless cultural mobility will be explored through co-organised exhibitions, performances, residencies, workshops, professional training sessions and public discussions.

Four such activities have been added to Netwerk’s programme: a residency project with local artist Claire Stragier in collaboration with the Germany-based sound artists Stephanie Krah, Annette Krebs and JD Zazie; an exhibition with work arising from the residency; an opening event with performances; and a musical intervention by artists from Associazione Equinozio during the end-of-season party Sunny Side Up. Artist Stephanie Krah was selected by curator Andrea Hilger of the partner organisation OSTRALE. Annette Krebs and JD Zazie were recommended by Julia Eckhardt of the Q-02 workspace in Brussels. The unifying theme shared by all the activities is the complementary juxtaposition of rural and urban rhythms. Situated right on the railway line that connects the cities of Brussels and Ghent, Netwerk – a centre on the periphery – offers both the drive of the city and the calm of the fringe. These dynamics interact, like the warp and weft of woven cloth, to create fuel for artistic fires, discussions, experiments and try-outs.

The residency format and the approach to its implementation are based on the artistic practice of Claire Stragier and, more precisely, her project I Make Mistakes. This was a series of works utilising textile, sound, movement and language which the artist developed at Netwerk in the summer of 2015. During the residency, this will be related back to the long-term project In de Vaart der Volkeren (‘In the March of Civilization’), which consists of performances and interventions in the public space, specifically along the railway line between Brussels and Aalst. The resident artists will respond in a non-invasive way to the imagery of the new works, which serve as a continuous deconstruction and reinterpretation of codes with a new composition of images and actions arising from it. By bringing together four makers with diverse artistic intentions and strategies in and across the disciplines of fine art, sound art and performance, Netwerk is laying the foundation for an intensive but temporary structure for artistic improvisation. No formal presentation of artworks is expected of the residents at the end of the process. Convening, conversing, interacting and the facilitating of feedback and discussion are the most important aspects of this one-off residency concept.

This exhibition has come about in the context of the cultural project openHUB Europe with the support of the EU’s Creative Europe programme. Special thanks are due to the project coordinator Anne Müller, to Angie Clopterop for the work-specific production support, to the KRAAK crew for logistical support and to Jeniffer Vansteyvoort.