Marin KASIMIR, Brussels demonstrates in the city (2009). Brussels (Belgium)
"Not much is needed for the ground to become the ground again"
While the work created at the end of 1998, just before the remodeling of Parc Fontainas, "Rez + 3" - following a proposal of "Etablissement d'en Face" in Brussels- was mainly a portrait of a specific place, at a time of a non descript land, of a place to be; the new installation of four superimposed images on the same place, using the same support and the same means, but more than ten years on, really is this time round, a portrait of the people.
There are many reasons for this change: ten years later the regular public, to whom this piece is aimed at, the inhabitants of this neighborhood, are by now used to the presence of this orphan piece of work "Rez +3", the name of which borrowed vocabulary from urbanism and regulation. The description of the future Fontaines Park is done by means of a panoramic view of 540° taken in four different directions, four different heights and four different uses for public or private spaces, each time putting in the centre the empty soil of the place from another angle, so as to stop looking at it or even seeing it.
Moreover the physical deterioration, sadly a common occurrence in public spaces, made the Committee for Urban Art and the City ask themselves about what its future may be like.
I therefore chose not to restore the existing work, but to come up with a new proposal, keeping, for economic and ecological reasons, the metal structure already in place, as well as its proportions, which, together with its mounting, represent 2/3 of the budget. The content of the new images follows the logic of my research "aesthetics and ethics", inspired by the slogan used at the Biennale d'Architecture 2000 in Venice "more ethics, less aesthetics", and as an anticipation of the Universal Exhibition of Shanghai 2010 - "Better City, Better Life".
I mentioned above that this work was about a portrait of people, but that would just be a simplistic definition of the images in it. In fact this work is about points of view of people that demonstrate or express themselves, masses of people who are either actors or spectators, gathered around a cause, together in their joy, grief, views or anger. They have all decided to regain the city, or rather its public spaces, in order to express themselves on roads without cars, so that everyone can hear, and chose the North-South axle to demonstrate.
Just like the Biennale of Brussels 2008, since the late eighties I have been interested in this Brussels axle between the Gare du Nord and the Gare du Midi. I have therefore caught within my panoramic vision all that happened around the camera, with a multiple focus attitude, not an authoritative one, contrasting with the image focused in the central perspective which dominates the space. The moments are sometimes historical and unique on this investigation field.
Indeed there is not a time unit on this picture, made up of four panoramic photographs. The Zinneke-Parade, the image on the top dates back to summer 2003, then there is the "Marche Blanche" of October 1996, the Gay Pride of spring 2004 and the demonstration against the war in Irak of October 2002.
Things that were once news become past at an ever faster pace. But we need not just the decoration of these demonstrations; we need to keep the changing city alive in our memories, noble task carried out by these panoramic views which record the time and the space as an elegant continuity which is not fragmented, and act like an active archive.
And so, quoting the architect Patrick Bouchain, at the cultural displays in Paris at the turn of the millennium in the Champs Elysées: "not much is needed for the ground to become the ground again". And so, we need to continue expressing ourselves in every possible public space. This may be harder to do in the city, but that's exactly where it is more important to do itf!