*every end is a beginning* / by fariba mosleh

Les grandes vacances, summer holidays of schools had started, the city is calmed down, many people are left for holidays, all larger art and culture institutions slowed down their program, but still every day there popped up diverse events, concerts, performances, interventions, exhibitions, discoursive programs in a multitude of smaller culture producers in Bruxelles. BXL’s cultural life didn’t stop being super exciting … Still, after a year it has been time to come to an end with this project. An experiment of coming into a new city and trying to dive deep into the fields of my professional interest and passion - the local art and culture production.

thebrusselsARTproject has been part of the incredible experience of being FFffamily* in Residence, based on the personal wish of not only getting to know the life and living in another country but also of becoming more European. This is the last blog entry of that project I would love to seize the chance to share a short summary of who, why and what with you…

ÉUgality - FFffamily‘s journey of becoming more European

We are FFffamily and have decided to move from Vienna to Brussels, the informal capital of Europe, for one year. Our decision is based on claiming freedom that is only possible in a united Europe. Despite all the difficulties, such as country-specific bureaucracy, a European-wide shift to right and Brexit, FFffamily lives their ideal of ÉUgality. Fariba - a cultural manager -, Florian - a visual artist - and their 9 and 6 year old daughters Flora and Fauna aren‘t connected to the European Quarter or to an EU-institution but are living and working in Saint Gilles, Ixelles, Molenbeek, Anderlecht and Brussels Center. Flora and Fauna attend local french-speaking schools, learning local languages. This inter-generational experiment of moving to another city for one year is a privilege and should be accessible for all European citizens in the process of creating a European identity. We came to Brussels in order to become more European, challenging the question of personal security in favour of freedom. This experiment aims to spread and share those encounters and feelings. It‘s about overcoming the invisibility of the European Union in people‘s everyday matter of fact.

We are integrating culture actions into our daily lives. From September 2018 we have been building up a Studio-Apartment in our self-created exile opening up our house as a trans-national think-tank for discourse and artistic events, sharing these activities on the future of Europe with guests from all over. After settling, catching up with language gaps, creating a basis and proclaiming the European Republic within the European Balcony Project we let ÉUgality culminate around the European Parliamentary elections in a series of actions in our Studio-Apartment, at cultural hubs and in the public in Brussels. As the term ÉUgality already implicates, the whole experiment is about embracing the richness of culture and ways of living in Europe through putting a European perspective based on citizen sovereignty onto an artistic level underlining the importance of democratic values for our future generations. We create public as well as private spaces to host and meet persons. It is a process-oriented experiment involving diverse agents that is about raising awareness concerning fundamental values and putting a counter statement to current pan-European neo-nationalism and rightwing movements on the local level with transnational outreach.

Since the very beginning Fariba had been installing this blog. Writing about her diverse research and participation in the cultural life in Brussels she opened up a discourse and exchange platform via spreading it through social media. thebrusselsARTproject shall be published in a booklet in winter 2019/20.

- Vienna calling -

So many things have happened in this year. Beside their mother tongue German our daughters Flora & Fauna are meanwhile fluent in French and understand some Flemish, English and Italian as well - we adults won‘t ever reach the same level, but we try.

Various artistic activities have been happening. Florian Nitsch had an Artist residency at KNUST Festival Brussels with a collaboration, performance and exhibition reflecting upon ÉUgality, Fariba has been working with local artists and for a festival, we hosted an EUbarbecue at our Studio Apartment on the 26/05/2019, a lot of open house events with guests from all over the world, artists and non-artists, Flora played theatre at kunstenfestivaldesarts at Federico León‘s piece Yo escribo, vos dibujas and Fauna‘s drawing has been part of the group exhibition Hush-Hush at L‘ Atelier Bonamin.

Meanwhile politically no stone remained on the other in Austria. For a long time it felt really negative to leave Brussels and go back to Austria. But the crash of the extreme right government and the new elections at 29th of September give us at least hope, not only for Austria, but all of Europe. It now even feels obligatory to go and give back at least a few of the wonderful inspirations, perspectives and encounters the informal capital of Europe has offered us.

Bruxelles & Bruxellois - thank you so much for everything & see you again***

Yours, FFffamily*

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.