The Battle of Lice
October 2018 till October 2019
'The Battle of Lice' was the title of a research period in the Brugse Poort in Ghent and an assignment by de Koer. This exploration during my residency provided the input for 'The Placing' that was organized on 5 and 6 October 2019. With this sound work we brought an ode to the multilingualism of this neighborhood.
'De Koer' decribes itself as a hotspot in full development located in the middle of the Brugse Poort in Ghent. Read their full statement here.
My research at 'de Koer' listened to the title: 'The Battle of Lice' (translated from: 'Het Luizengevecht'). This was a 19th-century housing area for laborer's in the Brugse Poort. People lived there in great poverty and poor hygiene. The people of Ghent also called these poor living conditions mockingly 'Het Luizengevecht' because so many lice would have lived there that they had to fight for a proper place.
[park view Het Luizengevecht offered by the city of Ghent]
Today this name delivers the title for a park that is part of the urban renewal plan 'Oxygen for the Brugse Poort'. For me this research title refers metaphorically to a marginal and unnoticed battle.
Where art is often used by cities as a tool for gentrification I would like to turn this role around.
My research organized itself around the possibility of using art as an instrument from the perspective of the inhabitants of this neighborhood. Where art is often instrumentalized by cities as a tool for their urban renewal I would like to turn this around. In my opinion art has the capacity to visualize alternative perspectives for the Brugse Poort.
[view on rooftop and bus stop at Malpertuus offered by Vlaamse Maatschappij voor Sociaal Wonen/Stad Gent]
To start my research I contacted people and initiatives that could show me their examples from the urgence of their own environment. By doing so I tried to get an idea. My next step was to formulate an actual question that could be visualized and count on local support in its realization. The development of 'The Placing'.
I focused first on the potential (lice) to be able to come to a visualization (the battle). 'Zonevreemd' (foreign to this zone) was a nice word within this context, because I wanted to make the means available for alternatives that were foreign to this zone. With 'The Placing' I interrupted the daily (meaningful) situation temporary by adding the sound of different birds and created an unknown situation that allowed us to rethink the daily circumstances.
The presentation of art should play an essential role in (re)shaping and (re)thinking the environments where we live. Unfortunately this is often not the case in today's society and resources to do so are missing. With this project I followed the concept behind #theorganisation and made knowledge and resources available for society as a whole.
Publicity about this project: 'Jegens & Tevens'
The Battle of Lice (Het Luizengevecht) was made possible by: 'de Koer'
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images | video | de koer
Best regards, Edwin Stolk.
The images on this page come partly from internet and refer to their source others are taken by Edwin Stolk.