17. Aug 2012 - 24. Aug 2012
Type: Summer School
This year's ELASA Annual Meeting will take place in Belgium. The meeting will take place from Friday the 17th of August until Friday the 24th of August. The meeting will start in Ghent, and take us to the cities Ypres, Ostend, Antwerp and will finally end in Brussels. The theme of the annual meeting – fitting to our somewhat bizar country – was decided in the summer of 2011 to be ‘Surrealistic Landscapes’. We’ll be able to pick up on some art festivals taking place this summer likeTrack and Beaufort04, of which you might already have seen fragments passing on sites as Inhabitat and Designboom.
In search of a topic for the annual meeting 2012 in Belgium, surrealism quickly seemed the most appropriate theme to cover the different activities and workshops that are being prepared. Belgium is surrealistic in so many ways: Historically: When the surrealist Art movement developed during the beginning of the 20th century, Brussels and Belgium was a true hotspot of talent. Most notably René Magritte as one of the better know representatives of this Art movement (some of his works, you’ll find attached to this mail). Politically: The current political difficulties are extremely surreal, and are the subject of international laughter. After the elections of June 2010, there was little hope for a new government to form any time soon. In the end, it took 541 days, which meant Belgium broke Iraq’s world record of 249 days of no government. This even resulted in a massive national feast to celebrate this rather bizar record. Having three official languages (Dutch, French and German) complicates governing a rather small country even more… Landscape: The diversity of the Belgium landscape is surprising. Especially taking into account it’s only 30,528 km², with the longest distance one can drive being 270km north-south). Only three quarters the size of for instance of Switzerland, but with 3.000.000 more inhabitants the pressure on the landscape from urbanisation can be felt when travelling around. Public spaces are therefor of high importance for the cities. Besides the many interesting cityscapes, the landscapes themselves range from lower mountains (650m) to hilly regions, more flat and open areas like the typical ‘polders’ that are common in both the Netherlands and Belgium. And last but not least the coastal area. Many of these landscapes (urban or more natural) have a certain surrealistic aspect to them. Just as an example, the area around the city of Ypres was one of the main strategic battle sites during the First World War (1914-1918), resulting eventually in complete devastation of this area near the end of the war. Mud, debris and some trunks were all that remained. The city was completely rebuild in the historic style, and what seems at first glance to be a very charming and well preserved old city, bears a heavy loaded history (500.000 deaths in this area alone) that can still be visited in parts, making it a unique area for World War One commemoration.
Location: Ghent, Ypres, Ostend, Antwerp, Brussels