the closeness of refuse

In Finland, junk, as everything, is carefully defined and sorted in its own location in society. If one disrupts this, there will be a grunt of disapproval, at the least. Helsinki, a city that seems like an illustration of Focaultian themes of control and order.

Here in Belgium these little boxes overlap or dissolve. A new development and a house abandoned for years stand side by side on amicable terms, and when someone tires of a dog-basket, they put it out on the sidewalk for the garbage collectors to eventually dispose of it.

The sidewalk trash disposal is a peculiarity borne from the fact that the jumbled Antwerpian architecture hasn’t allowed for open inner courtyards. Indeed, the spacious inner courtyards of Helsinki seem much of an exception, borne from the tradition of housing blocks planned for hundreds of families in big bursts of systematic development.


I had to use Google Earth to see what exactly fills the “insides” of the apartment blocks here – only to find that it is a jumbled assortment of randomly layered houses and small private courtyards that eventually grow together, filling the space that the houses create behind them with a dense patchwork. On the backyard in the picture resided a heard, but unseen rooster.

I’m writing about junk, because that somehow became a different theme for the Borderlines workshop that took up most of this week. Found objects are useful starting points for art to grow, and the availability of objects unmarked by clear definitions of ownership, frees them for use in new configurations.


The workshop took place in Sint Lucas’ Campus Congres, an interesting space with open studios, that is characterized by an overreaching broken window -effect. The structure of the place is such, that everything seems available for improvised use, and indeed, the artists working there stake out their personal work spaces by creating islands of order.


It is filled with an odd assortment of things brought there for some undeterminable art purposes.


Interestingly, it was possible to go up to the attic, which was filled with junk like plastic tubing and auto-repair-shop equipment. I also went out on the roof, where some work-guy caught me, only to remind me to “close the door when I’m finished”.








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Starting from a game of  bringing all yellow objects to the studio space, the beginning of the workshop meant the creation of several compositions of sorts. The interesting thing about these was that they, while being mostly play, still somehow referred to art practices, like sketches or comments on existing artworks. These were all made with found things and foodstuff combined in novel ways. The cheese on the nail was eventually the only one of these things to remain on the wall for the opening.



Anouk and some balanced things.



Berten the interventioner primes an orange.







Wesley, Berten and the now fallen orange.




Someone was apparently making a project on caltrops. Some of the other found things also turned out to be other people’s artwork.


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