FUNDAMENTAL ACTS advocates for architecture and space dedicated to the fundamental rituals which allow us to find meaning collectively and individually; to live, learn, celebrate, love and mourn together.
LIFE, EDUCATION, CEREMONY, LOVE and DEATH are the fundamental acts that define our societies, their present and future. Inspired by Italian radical architects Superstudio’s proposal from the early seventies to centre stage the great themes of life in architecture, FUNDAMENTAL ACTS is an invitation to revalue, honor, transform and accommodate the founding rituals of society, and to redefine generous spaces in which they can flourish. Spaces to inhabit, that enable forms of life and allow us to co-exist. Spaces to learn, and to transmit and exchange different knowledge practices. Spaces for shared rituals and celebration. For care and solidarity. For mourning and memory. Spaces that bring us together, and that allow us to live and grow together despite our differences.
Can we use this particular moment to test other forms of shaping and inhabiting space, in which we are not trying to go back to ‘normal’ - to processes, schedules and spatial arrangements that are optimized for individual gain and productivity - but in which we instead prioritize these fundamental rituals? Architecture forms the background of our social activities and in turn shapes them. The need for spaces to gather, share and be in proximity with one another - whether with loved ones, neighbours or fellow residents - have become even more urgent over the last year. After a period of lockdown and social distancing, how can we reappropriate our public spaces with new collective rituals and forms of expression?
The square at the centre of Brussels is a royal collage of monumental arts and culture institutions, statues and gardens willed by King Leopold II at the end of the 19th century. The square doesn’t have a singular function. It is used and crossed by very diverse crowds thus allowing people a certain kind of freedom to use the space according to their needs. Every half-hour, the walls of the buildings, statues and fountains echo the sound of the carillon, introducing a new act starting on the square. The activations proposed by the curatorial team could be considered as a ‘rehearsal’. As a time to test spaces that allow for new rituals, rhythms and interactions between the diverse inhabitants of the Mont des Arts.
The curatorial team brings together three complementary profiles: Brussels-based militant faction of architecture Traumnovelle; explorative design lab humbble; and researcher and musician Katía Truijen. The trilingual team shares a strong focus on quality spaces which form the backbones of our collective modes of living. By prioritizing what brings us together in the creation and revaluing of our spaces, perhaps we can start to redefine our common priorities and reclaim a collective power to shape a generous, inclusive world, for future generations and ourselves
Traumnovelle is an architecture office founded in 2015 by three Belgian architects: Léone Drapeaud, Manuel León Fanjul and Johnny Leya. Traumnovelle uses architecture and fiction as analytical, critical and subversive tools to emphasize contemporary issues and investigate their resolutions. Traumnovelle has led critical cultural interventions, most notably the curatorship of the Belgian Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, as well as many exhibitions in Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and USA. Its built practice focuses on the quality of spaces of work and production ranging from offices and coworking spaces, to laboratories and collective spaces. The three founders frequently teach, review and lecture across Europe such as at ETH Zurich, Amsterdam Rietveld Academie and London AA School. Traumnovelle champions a multi-disciplinary approach with architecture at the crossroads, frequently constructing transversal approaches which take a stance on the cultural aspects associated with spacemaking.
Humbble was founded in Ghent in 2019 by two Belgian architects, Philippe Morel and Wim Vandendriessche. As an architecture and strategies office, they focus on communities through conceptual architecture. Humbble is rooted in the European objective of pursuing and strengthening a high-quality Baukultur. They contribute to this goal by delivering strong conceptual architectural strategies and projects that create a sense of belonging. The work aims for clarity by using basic architectural form and composition. The projects function as frameworks in which current and future lives can unfold and evoke unexpected use. Humbble engages in architectural design, creating projects of all scales: furniture, interiors, buildings, building blocks and quarters.
Katía Truijen is a researcher and musician based in Rotterdam, and works at Het Nieuwe Instituut’s research department since 2014. She was assistant curator for WORK, BODY, LEISURE, the Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018, and co-editor of Architecture of Appropriation (2019) and For the Record (2021). She holds an M.A. in New Media and Digital Cultures at the University of Amsterdam, and the Art & Research programme at the Rietveld Academie. Katía has published and lectured about digital culture, artistic research and design at i.a. the University of Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit, Design Academy Eindhoven, Sonic Acts, INC, FIBER and the Netherlands Film Academy. She runs the online magazine //\ hoekhuis with Sjaak Douma and releases music with collaborating musicians under the name Katía.