The Space

The Green Corridor

Tique asks five questions to art spaces, galleries, residencies or any other imaginable type of art organization that exhibits, promotes or facilitates art about their practice, vision and activities. This week: The Green Corridor.

The Host The Green Corridor Brussels
Location 102 Rue du Bosnie -1060 Saint-Gilles, Brussels, Belgium

What is the history of The Green Corridor and with what motivation did you start?

The Green Corridor Brussels is a place for active thinking, where practitioners can create possibilities for exploration, experimentation, and community creation through situated practices, growing out of production constraints. The physical space of The Green Corridor is relatively young in Brussels, however it has been quite active for almost two years. Though, the idea of (self-funded) hosting and enabling a place for knowledge generation in creative practices that supports it is older. It comes from diverse personal experiences, affects and intentionalities of both of us, co-founders Sam De Vocht (Belgian) and Juan Duque (Colombian), with backgrounds in spatial disciplines, performance and visual arts, applied both in academics and independently.

After living in Brussels for almost ten years, we encountered how difficult it is to get opportunities and access to cultural spaces where practitioners can open their practices and have a direct exchange with diverse publics and by doing so, nurturing and creating knowledge in collectivity. We encounter that the concern for opening creative practices that engage diverse audiences (practice-based research in the arts outside of academics or the very niche) is a relatively young attitude in the cultural sector in Brussels. Besides, the polarisation between the big cultural institutions, the international residency formats they provide, and the commercial gallery circuit tend to push creative practices into production and the international art market. In addition, the strong fragmentation due to the linguistic division that separates communities of cultural knowledge creates infrastructures and apparatuses for tedious and lengthy procedures based on open calls, which can easily get frozen and cannot situate creative and more spontaneous ideas. Another strong condition for us is the cutting of funding and shutting down of non-academic places in the creative sector that allow for experimenting and learning-by-doing in commonality. All of the above strongly motivates us to facilitate, nurture and hold a place in Brussels for peer-to-peer dialogue and collective-knowing-by-doing.

How do you define and develop your artistic program?

Our activities focus on collaborative, process-driven approaches and practices for knowledge generation. We aim to challenge what art, design and spatial practices can be and, more importantly, can do as knowledge for various audiences, including researchers, artists, architects, design thinkers, and social activists. Instead of thematising topics of contemporary interest, we understand cultural programming as the crossing and friction of diverse creative and knowledge conditions, enabling spaces for collective imagination to emerge. In this spirit, a monthly residency format is organised to overlap knowledge and practices. We strongly believe in the curatorial as a research tool for knowledge generation in the creative sector; therefore, while residents are in the space, we host other formats to engage diverse audiences, such as screenings, workshops, and book presentations, which are led by The Green Corridor Books section. In 2022, we hosted an active reading group on decolonial praxis; at the moment, we started hosting a research group on practices of collective score creation in performance and architecture; shortly, we would like to begin a non-academic group for critical thinking through the curatorial.

Can you describe your relationship with your artists? How do you get in touch, how do you work with them?

The first contact happens spontaneously through informal conversations during studio visits or the sharing of individual intentions/invitations via email or through social media. We choose to channel the energy and infrastructure typically invested in open calls towards an ecology of exchange and direct feedback. Most first contacts happen at Open Doors moments through direct and in-situ conversations. We strongly encourage the practitioners to spend at least one afternoon in the space, sensing what the place could bring before presenting any interest. Then, with a slow temporality and together with the practitioner, we find the time in the calendar between one week and one month to develop their ideas through a residency format; it is a one-on-one, embodied approach to practice-based research through creative practices where the seasonal as a temporality for programming is welcomed. We tend to nurture a long-term engagement with the practitioners, giving time for their practices to breathe. Therefore, we encourage a practice of returning and giving back to the space, which means that the practitioner, after the residency period, comes back to either continue or expand on their explorations; this attitude towards ‘production’ contributes to practices of maintenance, caring and support between the place, the practitioners and the diverse communities that gather in The Green Corridor Brussels.

How do you set up and design exhibitions in the space?

The practice of exhibiting and displaying comes through conversations during the residency period between the practitioners and both of us (Juan & Sam). During this active exchange of ideas, we encounter the format and curatorial gesture/temporality to let audiences explore and enter into the creative process, during what we call Open Doors moments. This practice concerns the curatorial, more as a way of research than merely the curating techniques in the sense of hanging or exposing objects and situations in dialogue. We create situations where people, objects, materials and discourses converge, including public discussions and screenings, exhibitions and performances; active reading groups and publication launches happen through the Green Corridor Books platform.

What advice would you give (emerging) artists?

Find and foster spaces for conversing with diverse practitioners with different ideas and opinions, not just with the same group of friends. Being alone in the studio without the spontaneous exchange and audience feedback completely detaches a practice from the intricate, interconnected and complex realities we face now.

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