The Infiltrated and The Walls of the City are our Witnesses

With his poem The Infiltrated and signed work The Walls of the City are our Witnesses, Jihan Imago wants to show his commitment and solidarity for people who are, day in day out, victims of bullying in public space. Discrimination exists on many characteristics: fatism, misogyny, racism, transphobia, homophobia, class discrimination, and so on. The victims of all these forms of discrimination live in an oppressive and humiliating normative system that applies everywhere: at school, in the workplace and on public transport. It is a system that aims to polish the entire spectrum of identities, to erase it and to make it invisible. By creating fear and installing inaccessibility, the normative system wants to make all those identities disappear. The subway is pre-eminently a space in which such versatile repression takes place.

That is precisely why these works of art in this subway station want to visualize the variety of identities by paying tribute to these identities, to give them power and above all, to install justice. So that the works would show facts of which everyone is aware of, but that is kept silent. The goal is for women, transsexuals, people of all sizes and individuals with a variety of motor skills, to move according to their needs and desires, rather than having to protect themselves from the risks lurking around every corner.

We are not equal. Proof of this is that public spaces are only freely accessible to some people under certain conditions. That has to change.

We get up from now on.

On the streets and in public transport there is a lot of deviant behavior towards women (++). Many people don't realize that. With this work, the artists' collective OXO wants to highlight this reality and encourage travelers to open their eyes to what is happening around them, so that they become more alert during their subway ride or their moving in the streets, and so that they learn to detect the risky situations, which those women (++) experience daily.

This work is like a pause, where we put a halt to time. At random times, one of the sketches on the board suddenly starts to move, to indicate the disturbing behavior of one or more travelers towards another. It is through exaggeration in those animations that these situations show the takeover of males and their invasion of public space. What's more, they are satirized by the female characters who react in a surreal and exaggerated way.

The screen image will usually be static, but the animations will come to life at random times. In this way, the collective OXO wants passers-by to stop in front of the screens and take the time to observe the images that are offered to them, in order to discover all the situations that are displayed in the artwork. Passers-by must be paused in order to appreciate the work as a whole and to allow the committed message to penetrate.

Can you see me?

What have you taught yourself to cope with and to survive everyday street harassment?

This work probes the profound impact of violent public and private encounters that leave women with feelings of loneliness, fear, anger, disappointment, self-criticism, confusion and disorientation. In Can You See Me? the stories of especially black women and women of color are central. How do they experience oppression in public space as a result of the intersectional nature of their identity? The work mainly aims to investigate the immense inequality in the treatment of these black women and women of color. An inequality that is still very much present in the aftermath of the harassment of law enforcement officers but also in society in general. Can You See Me? explores how these women should reorient their bodies in a violent normative space.

It is beautiful.

You don't fight patriarchy by renaming street names, but you do at least contribute to the fight. It also reaffirms that history is not just about big men whose little women have worked hard to work themselves up. It is a reminder that public space is not only male.

The symbol is important. The power of that symbol says something about the conversations that are taking place, about the fights that take place in the field and perhaps even in conference rooms. What, then, can we say about a public service, and more generally about a city - which increases its budget with our taxes - and which cosmetically makes stone and buildings, and omits symbols?

Like all women, people from Brussels, whether Congolese or Belgians, need the power of symbols. Because it is not enough to polish a board and create a place between garbage containers and Uber bikes to make such repairs.

By not questioning the images we put forward or the way we grow our cities, the image of the black person without identity is being confirmed, whether we like it or not; the black person without land and without a say of colonialism.

It is Beautiful is a study that goes beyond the mere renovation of the Beursstation. It focuses on different stops of the network of the Société des Transports Inter Bruxellois (STIB / MIVB). These are the stops named after figures who actively contributed to the massacres of the Congolese during the colonization.

No nuance, no question marks, just names of illustrious men - "illustrious", as they give their names to busy metro stops - which populate our shared spaces, and more so, our collective subconsciousness.

  • Thu 15.10.2020 → Thu 11.02.2021 @ 05:00 - 00:25

Opening: Thu 08.10.2020 @ 18:00 in Qartier

The Bourse/Beurs premetro station is an underground tram station in Brussels, located in the city center under the Boulevard Anspach next to the Brussels Stock Exchange.

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