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[Nettime-nl] Invitation to The Wherehouse/Brussels
geert on Mon, 3 May 2004 17:12:57 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-nl] Invitation to The Wherehouse/Brussels

From: shuddha {AT} sarai.net

This is to invite you to an opening of our latest work, The Wherehouse, in
Brussels at the Palais de Beaux Art, and to share with you, some of the
thoughts that we have been engaging in the process of our work on this

The Wherehouse opens on the 6th of May, as part of the programme of
'Revolution/Restoration' curated by Barbara Vanderlinden and Dirk
Snauwert, and we would be very happy if you could find the time to come
and be with us for the opening, on  Thursday, the 6th of May at 18 : 00
hrs (if you are in or near Brussels)  or take time out to visit the
installation during its stay at the Palais de Beaux Arts, (7.05. 2004 >
06.06.2004 )

The address of the venue is -

rue Ravenstein 23, 1000 Bruxelles
info: 02 507.84.44

(nearest metro stop : Central Station/Gare Centrale/Centraal Station)

To see an online rescension of the project, visit, www.the-wherehouse.net

For more information on the show, see

http://www.bozar.be/fr/wherehouse.html (in French)
http://www.bozar.be/nl/wherehouse.html (in Dutch)

Below is a brief note by us about the Wherehhouse.

Looking forward to seeing you, and to hearing from you


Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula & Shuddhabrata Sengupta
The Raqs Media Collective
raqs {AT} sarai.net

Raqs Media Collective

The Wherehouse is a constellation of images, objects and annotational
possibilities designed to posit a speculative archaeology of/for the
present moment.It constitutes an assemblage of reflections on time,
memory, movement, stasis and location in a world where some people are
forced to abandon home, and others can be seen as being imprisoned by
their assumptions of stability about their present location. The
constellation intends to raise questions about our moorings in the
materiality of the world we inhabit, and our certitudes about our

The work emerges from Raqs Media Collective's ongoing concerns with forms
of legality and illegality in the contemporary world and a period of
intense engagements in the course of focused workshops between Raqs Media
Collective and the residents of detention centres for illegal aliens in
Brussels, ex illegal aliens, and recent refugees in Frankfurt am Main and
Hanau, as well as by a drive to collect material objects from the
inhabitants, and streets, of Brussels.

The first phase of the project took place in March in Frankfurt during a
Raqs residency in Frankfurt at Das TAT, at the invitation of its artistic
director Louise Neri, and involved engagements with refugees, ex aliensand
migrants as well as activists working with them, and culminated in a
'reading performance for a listening room' at the TAT in collaboration
with AndCompany&Co, a Frankfurt based association of independent theatre
practitioners, performance artists, musicians and writers.The second phase
of the project will be manifested in an installation that uses video,
photography, printed books, a web site, sound and an assemblage of
solicited/collected objects  at the Palais de Beaux Arts as part of the
'Revolution-Restoration' programme curated by Barbara Vanderlinden and
Dirk Snauwert.  The process leading up to the installation is preceded by
a 'Wherehouse' workshop at the Reception Centre for Immigrants and Asylum
Seekers at the Petit Chateau in Brussels

Refugees, exiles, asylum seekers, or any people who cross borders
illegally, (without papers) leaving behind situations of deprivation and
hardship often find themselves incarcerated in detention centres, where
they await assimilation or deportation. They have no way of knowing
whether or not their application for asylum and residence in the
countrythey have come to will be accepted. They are imprisoned by the
clock and exiled from the calendar. They have no way of knowing whether
tomorrow, or next week, or next year, they will be put on a plane that
flies them back to the war or the fear or the hunger that they sought to
escape in the first place. When they leave home, they are often compelled
to leave behind them most of what constitutes the material reality of
their lives, carrying with them only that which is most essential, urgent
or especially precious.

The cities that such people (refugees, asylum seekers, exiles, border
crossers) come to, are regarded by their legal inhabitants as stable
spaces where nothing is going to change drastically. This notion of
stability forecloses the possibility of seeing any space as vulnerable to
the seismic upheavals of contemporary history. It assumes that the
upheaval endemic to Kabul will never touch Brussels.

The engagements that we (Raqs) make with the residents of detention
centres  centre on a body of images of material objects created and
collected by us. These object-images may be suggestive, and are open to be
read as provocations for memories or thoughts of the abandoned material
universe left behind by a person who feels compelled to leave their home
and journey to a distant country.

The 'illegals'/migrants, or ex-illegals and residents of the detention
centres are requested to annotate a book of photographs made by us
containing images of quotidian objects of general use. These annotations
are registered on to the website of the project in the form of a database
of narratives linked to images. These registrations are made by us, and
can also be made by anyone who wants to inscribe thier thoughts on to the
website directly.  The annotated notebooks and web pages constitute one
node of the work.

Simultaneously, the project envisages inviting people from the city of
Brussels located between the Petit Chateau and the Palais des Beaux Arts.
These people will be individually asked to donate a single object that
they no longer use, or are willing to discard, to the project. The process
also involves collecting objects abandoned on the streets of Brussles.
These objects, which may range from furnitures to notebooks to matchboxes,
to implements , will be arrayed in a grid with tags speculating as to
their provenance (their previous custodian) as if in an archaeological
site following a dig.

The two sets of objects (and the annotations accompanying them), with
their two trajectories of provenance, will intersect in the work (A
'Warehouse' of objects that can be seen as responding to a question about
'Where' something or someone is coming from - hence a 'Wherehouse') and be
offset by projections and layers of imagery taken from the outer walls of
detention centres, more specifically, the 'Petit Chateau' in Brussels. The
outer wall of the detention centre, inscribed with layers of names of
inmates will then be transposed on to the work as if to constitute an
image of the inner wall of a city. In these ways, the Wherehouse seeks to
engender a reflection on the circumstances in which time thickens to an
eternal present, and space is folded inside out. Where the outer wall of a
detention centre is the inner wall of a city and when due to circumstances
beyond their control, those who ventured out  (crossing borders) are
cloistered and the plans that they made for the future rendered futile by
the casual and catastrophic perambulations of our times. A time for
instance, when an entity called Europe, expands it borders even as it
raises its walls,  contracts, closes in on itself.

By locating itself within Brussels, a city at the epicentre of these
upheavals, and within the discourse generating apparatus of contemporary
art  The Wherehouse, seeks to provoke an encounter between abandoned
materials and abandoned memories - with a view to the asking of questions,
to the telling of (and listening to) stories; to the sharing of histories
and to the necessary labours of memory and reflection - on realities that
are often wished away.


Concept, Process and Installation : Raqs Media Collective
Photography: Monica Narula
Print and Website Design: Mrityunjay Chatterjee
Website Coding: T. Meyarivan
Sound/Music: Sascha Sulimma (AndCompany&Co)


Barbara Vanderlinden, Dirk Snauwert, Louise Neri, AndCompany&Co, Hagen Kopp

Fedasil, Brussels
Das TAT, Frankfurt

Migrants, Refugees, Asylum Seekers and People without Papers in Frankfur,
Hanau and Brussels who participated in the project, and many of whom would
not like to be named.

The residents of Brussels

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