Alienation induced by the policies behind the projects that transformed Brussels will be the subject of a critical development and a discussion with Ludovic Lamant, alongside the screenings of two documentaries. In his book Bruxelles chantiers, Une critique architecturale de l'Europe (2018) Lamant analyses the architectural calamity of the European Quarter and reveals the failures which led a hopeful political project to become a bureaucratic machine. In light of the dispossession and alienation caused by modern architectural and urban planning projects, it is to be asked: what action can be taken now regarding these political programmes that have wiped out neighbourhoods and living spaces?
Screening of Charlie De Pauw: promoteur, a documentary by Charles Lebrun, 1983, 21min
This documentary portrays Charlie De Pauw (1920-1984), a real estate developer, builder of the much-discredited World Trade Center in Brussels. "You mustn't kill the rich or the poor will die" stated the businessman. Charlie de Pauw is linked to the phenomenon of the Brusselization, and was the driving force behind the Manhattan plan, which transformed the North Quarter from a working-class neighbourhood into a high-rise area.
Screening of Waarover men niet spreekt 2 : Alice in Wonderland, a film by Jef Cornelis, 1968, 34min
This documentary was part of the television series Waarover men niet spreekt (What is left unspoken) for the BRT (Belgian radio and television broadcast network), and belongs to Cornelis’ early films on architecture. Based on a scenario by Geert Bekaert, the movie is an attack on the alienation induced by town planning. In the monotonous suburbs, life dies away and boredom rules. The city centres are depopulated and dead. The community spirit is not stressed and the individual does not find expression. Modern town planning has not yet been able to give an answer to the problem of our dying cities.
Jef Cornelis’(1941-2018) practice is primarily a dissection of television itself, the very medium in which he worked. In 1963, after studying set design and film direction at the Netherlands’ Film Academy in Amsterdam, Jef Cornelis began his career as a director for the Arts Division of BRT Television in Flanders, which would later become VRT broadcasting. Cornelis’ extensive body of work interweaves varying focal points, principles and techniques on the relationship between visual art and television, including films on modern art, architecture and the Flemish landscape. His documentaries look beyond the historical information and the nostalgic anecdote in order to present effective essentials.
Ludovic Lamant (°1983) is a french journalist who worked for Reuters and Cahiers du Cinéma before joining Mediapart, a french digital and independent media, where he specialises on international economic issues such as the subprime crisis, the European Union, and the development of countries in the Southern Hemisphere. He is the author of Squatter le pouvoir, Les mairies rebelles d'Espagne (Lux, 2016), and Bruxelles chantiers, Une critique architecturale de l'Europe (Lux, 2018).