Atelier De Stad is a project initiated by Canvas (Flemish TV-station) in which creative talent is invited to work on five city projects, in Brussels, Kortrijk, Hasselt and Genk, Ghent and Ostend. The result can be seen on location and on Canvas in the course of 2014.
In June 2013, Canvas made an open call to the creative sector: arts organizations were invited to design and submit innovative projects for new creative talent. Out of those proposals, a panel of Canvas specialists and external experts selected five projects. The projects all have to do with living, working, living in a city or urban hinterland. Hence the obvious title: Atelier De Stad (Workshop the City).
For Atelier De Stad Hasselt-Genk, six young (sound) artists set out in search of the acoustic identity of Hasselt and Genk. Together or individually, they roam the cities, trying to uncover their secrets, making their structures audible. The differences between Hasselt and Genk cannot only be seen, but also heard: the picturesque shopping city of Hasselt sounds different than the multicultural industrial town of Genk. Each city has its own unique urban soundscape. Atelier De Stad Hasselt-Genk sets out in search of these typical environmental sounds that can be found, or uncovered, in the streets, neighbourhoods, buildings, people, organizations and virtual channels of the city.
In recent decades, Hasselt and Genk have grown closer together, both geographically and socio-culturally. The two biggest cities in Limburg are just a stone’s throw removed from each other and increasingly present themselves as one large metropolis. This is why Atelier De Stad Hasselt-Genk sets out in search of the various elements that connect the cities in order to create an acoustic bridge between them.
Atelier De Stad Hasselt-Genk brings together artistic creation and urban research. In a first stage, the six artists set out to perform field research: they make field recordings in public places, meet with local groups and communities, elaborate socio-musical projects, study the dialects or map out the spatial structure of the city. In a second phase, they condense their findings into an artistic synthesis that results in ‘soundwalks’, compositions, sound installations, sound maps, improvisation sessions or videos.
On 15th October 2013, with the support of Canvas, Musica (Neerpelt), Z33 (Hasselt) and C-mine (Genk), made a public appeal to young sound artists to work around the ‘sound’ of Hasselt and Genk. Out of the more than 40 entries from home and abroad, the judges (including Esther Venrooy, Gerrit Valckenaers, Paul Craenen) selected six project proposals.
The 6 different trajectories will take place at different locations within De Unie Hasselt-Genk. Between 20 September and 5 October the projects will be presented at the C-Mine Cultuurcentrum Genk.
Marieke van de Ven (°1985 – NL) studied composition and sound design at the Utrecht School of the Arts. She translates her interest in local culture and landscape into a poetic soundwalk that takes place in and around C-mine in Genk. It is not an informative audio tour, but a poetic narrative in which the listener is stimulated to look in a different way and contemplate the landscape in relation to man and city.
Koenraad Vandersyppe (°1989 – BE) has a master in media arts from KASK in Ghent. In an attempt to create an acoustic connection between Hasselt and Genk, he aims to design a common, artificial language in which sounds from both the Genk and Hasselt dialects are combined. This new sound language will be played through a sound system installed at the cable-stayed bridge, halfway between the two cities.
Tim Finoulst (°1986 – BE) studied electric guitar at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp and is active in jazz, pop and free improvisation. Tim Finoulst wants to improvise in public locations in Hasselt and Genk, literally plugging his guitar into the city. Using transducers, he uses all kinds of objects and materials to ‘amplify’ his guitar playing, such as bus shelters, trashcans, and industrial machinery. As a ‘mobile’ element, he can be deployed in any location over the course of De Unie Hasselt-Genk.
Simon Halsberghe (°1983 – BE) earned a master in media arts at KASK in Ghent. For Atelier De Stad Hasselt-Genk, he takes on the role of eye-opener: he wants people to experience the sheer materiality of the city, both visually and auditory, without infusing them with purpose or meaning. Inconspicuous, neglected and seemingly insignificant places and objects are captured on video and audio and displayed in quiet, poetic video creations.
Joris Gielen (°1984 – BE) studied sound design at the University of the Arts Utrecht. He takes to Hasselt and Genk with his recording equipment to record characteristic and hidden sounds. He sets out in search of the typical acoustic characteristics of the cities, guided by the central question: what are the differences, what are the similarities? He uses his recorded material to create musical compositions and soundscapes.
Caroline Claus (b.1980 – BE) earned a master’s degree in sociology at the University of Ghent, and in urban and environmental planning at the Erasmus College and the VUB Vrije Universiteit Brussel). She approaches the project from a geographical and cultural-historical perspective, with a particular focus on the role of sound in urban development. For Atelier De Stad Hasselt-Genk, Caroline Claus conducts a thorough investigation into the geographical structure of both cities. She then uses her input to create participatory walks and geo-acoustic maps.
Atelier De Stad Hasselt-Genk is a collaboration between Musica, Impulse Centre for Music, Z33 – house for contemporary art in the province of Limburg and C-mine Cultural Centre. The project is part of De Unie Hasselt-Genk, a project with art in the public space initiated by Z33, in cooperation with the cities of Hasselt and Genk.