We'll Find Ways
The setting is the beguinage of Hasselt. This triangular walled garden in the city holds a unique oasis, forming a stark contrast with the industrious Hasselt. While the beguinage has been a well kept public secret, this does not need to be so. This non-commercial hangout would become a subtle communication tool and orientation point for the people of Hasselt.
Therefor Constructlab proposed a structural idea called “DISplay”. Organised with the House For Contemporary Art Z33, it forms a hybrid communication platform, where social and cultural relationships are reinforced.
Over the summer, We’ll Find Ways utilised the beguinage as a HQ: a starting point for various expeditions and processions. A crossroads for a multitude of roads and trails. A starting point, not an end stop. Whether these paths intersect only temporarily, the encounters in the garden carry a promise with them.
Lines are everywhere. This holds true for a city as well. They form connections, bridge two points, show the trace of actions, or imagine invisible relationships. They link the built reality of the city with the invisible forces forming its foundation. Timelines, as well as diagrams, also employ lines to make information digestible. In reality, countless lines criss cross our surroundings: streets, rivers, alleys, borders… They represent signs of life, traces of activity. They’re not always clear or visible. Markers, signposts, display signs and beacons help us navigate the bigger picture, and at the same time accentuate the hidden lines.
With We’ll Find Ways, we use this concept of signs and markers to expose the underlying relationships and activities in Hasselt, and ultimately reinforce them. We map out the lines that cross our path, and the connections we can evoke ourselves.
Advertising columns, billboards, blimps, neon signs, … They broadcast their message in the public space. In 1854, the German printer Ernst Litfass designed the advertising column to centralize the chaotic spread of information in Berlin. Using these columns, and their counterpart the billboard, the city could express itself through text and images, and tell a visual story about its countless activities.
By playing with typography, graphics and color, a type of street art was created that aesthetically showcased the city’s culture. They formed a blueprint of what lived in the city, the cultural indicators that defined the identity and mythology of a city. In those days, the advertising column was free and democratic, which improved the civilian participation. Nowadays, they’re mostly used for commercial purposes, as advertising real estate. This has reduced the communication of activities in the city on the streets, with flyers and social media to pop up as bland alternatives.
Hasselt boasts a lot of social-cultural initiatives. Whether they operate in their own network, in public space, or with limited visibility, they all cooperate and coexist. With this project, we want to activate the city from the inside out. We’ll Find Ways strives towards creating a dynamic where everyone gets a chance for their proposal to get the authentic attention it deserves.
We proposed an active communication in the beguinage. A pillar will be constructed to display. From postering to using it to host events: people present in the garden will actively interact with the construction. For example, an announcement could result in a collective action and spontaneous experiment. This spontaneity and unpredictability causes a visit to the garden to feel like both an event and a non-event, where the visitor does not know in what link of the action chain they’re joining. A quiet informative visit, an interactive musical saw concert, a party. The setting of each visit will not always be expected or foreseen. By being so playful, the display column creates a reason to visit often, at the same time motivating the visitors to explore the activities and events it showcases.
The structure wants to be open to experimentation and impulsiveness. Everyone can visit with their own interpretation, which may cause the column to transform in a kiosk, a DJ booth, a stage, a house, a surprise.
We’ll Find Ways forms a flirtation between the advertisement and the actual content.
Until: September 19, 2019
Image Credits: Léonard Contramestre, Michiel De Cleene, Gion Von Albertini, ConstructLab