Manufactories of Caring Space-Time : Het Kleine Gebaar

MSK presents the culmination of two years of their collaboration with the 49 Nord 6 Est FRAC Lorraine in Metz and the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona. From 2015 to 2017, three artist collectives investigated the possibilities of cooperative and more sustainable art practices. Stine took part of the workshop ‘Het Kleine Gebaar’, a part of this exposition, and made a beautiful personal impression for us. Excellent reading material before going to the exhibition this Summer!

text and photos by Stine Sampers

June 22nd , 2017

Trying to leave Brussels by train I become very aware of the waves of energy that travel through this city, groups and groups of people, – whether they consider themselves highly unique individuals or not -, scenes and quartiers. I am leaving for Ghent. Looking back on the six years I’ve spent there after growing up in a tiny West Flemish village and recently having moved to the capital, I feel like this is one of the main differences. This contained-ness of Ghent. When I lived in Ghent I had less difficulty seeing individuals, locating and naming them. The city wasn’t as big and the people passing by weren’t as countless. It hasn’t changed in half the year since I left.

‘You here for the workshops?’

I find my way to MSK effortlessly because the bus line never changes and it sits there prominently on its hill next to the Citadel Park. Finding the building is easy, getting in seems to be harder. I’ve been told I need to go through the backdoor but there are many. I see a grey-haired man and repress the sudden idea that I won’t make it into the museum and that if I do, everyone will be grey-haired, but his big hands hold the right door open for me and he smiles: ‘You here for the workshops?’

I have no idea what to expect, but a kind blonde woman beckons to me and says I belong with group 1, which is an interesting mixed group of people. This group is also split in two, A for those who like to start with the more active part and B for those who prefer to look. We go into two different spaces. The blonde woman explains to us the protocol that the artists Selma and Sofiane Ouissi have left for the museum to use”; we will see a video of one person telling their life story sans audio and all we need to do is mirror her body language, her gesture, her expression. We live and move through this life story as a different way of listening to it.

A wonderful lesson in zooming in and zooming out

The groups switch and this time we are the ones watching, headphones accentuating our listening to the story. Another life story and another videographed group is moving through the story in different attempts to live and move through and grasp this other person’s life. After going through both parts of the workshop we end up in a space with chairs set out in duos, as if ready for conversation. This is where things come together, different people and different stories – our own as well as other people’s – and the will to listen, in many different ways. The woman in the chair in front of me talks and suddenly her few grey hairs, her hands, the nervous twitch in her smile and the spark in her voice speak to me too and I feel a little less deaf. A wonderful lesson in zooming in and zooming out, hearing-watching and connecting.

Manufactories of Caring Space-Time
Until 27 August at MSK, Ghent
free for members from 01 till 27 August