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Culture beat - October 11

16:55 11/10/2013
Photography galore, stand-up comedy, a celebration of architecture and contemporary classical music

Over two years, Belgian photographer, journalist and mother Lieve Blancquaert travelled to 14 countries to witness the arrival of new human life for her project Birth Day. Convinced that the birth process holds up a mirror to the society in which it takes place, she talked to families about their experience and took some 50,000 photos in countries as diverse as Morocco, Kuwait, Greenland, the Congo and Belgium. From this personal testimony she has selected 400 works for an exhibition staged at ING’s cultural space. They are a highly personal snapshot of the intimate moment of birth, but by widening her scope from the delivery room to the family circle, she reveals the varied journey that is beginning for each of these children. The photos provoke emotion and social debate. Highly colourful images of West Bengali women in an Indian hospital contrast with seemingly isolated mothers in a sterile ward in Belgium. Large-format portraits of swaddled new-borns from all corners of the globe cannot fail to evoke empathy. Blancquaert’s cultural exploration is also a multimedia project. Her texts and photos appear in a newly-published book in Dutch, French and English, accompanied by a nine-episode television series on Flemish channel Een (VRT) which starts in November.

English-language stand-up comedy nights are more and more frequent in Brussels, a sign not just of the popularity of shows such as Live At The Apollo on Flemish television, but also of the quality – or, at least, diversity - of the acts  on the bill at Stand Up Brussels. This Saturday gives us the chance to discover Stephen Carlin, Colin Cole and Alfie Brown (pictured), whose humour  has been described by the Guardian as being “in a different class”.  

The images of photographer Dave Walsh offer a unique perspective on the Arctic, a magnificent region that is vanishing before our eyes. With the disappearance of the pack ice, sea water absorbs more and more heat, resulting in an increase of the Earth’s temperature by several degrees. The Arctic is not a mythical place but a region under threat, capable of impacting our way of life. To close the Arctic: Another World? exhibition, Walsh will discuss his photos and his journeys on board the Arctic Sunrise, and will be joined by Philippe Huybrechts, member of the UN’s climate panel, and Neil Hamilton, senior political advisor at Greenpeace International. This Arctic Nocturne takes place at Laeken library on Thursday October 17, from 18.00 until 21.00, and is organised in support of Greenpeace’s Arctic 30 campaign.

Unlike other arts, architecture meets its public every day without anyone thinking too much about it. The inaugural edition of this Week of Architecture, conceived by Brussels’ ministry of urban planning and co-ordinated with the Flemish Day of Architecture, celebrates the contemporary spaces we take for granted and collectively imagines future spaces. Fifty Brussels buildings open their doors to the public to explore architecture’s finished product. A.Week also offers a behind-the-scaffolding look at how a blueprint becomes bricks-and-mortar via visits to architects’ offices and building site tours. There are also exhibitions and conferences aplenty. Events are spread across the capital, but headquarters is the A.Week Pavilion at Bozar. October 13-20, across Brussels

The Festival van Vlaanderen rolls into Flemish Brabant with a contemporary classical performance in the stately Palace of the Colonies. Revue Blancheis a Flemish chamber ensemble comprised of four young musicians: singer Lore Binon, flautist Caroline Peeters, violist Kris Hellemans and harpist Anouk Sturtewagen. For this occasion, the quartet is augmented by percussion, clarinet and cello. The group have selected an international programme, featuring pieces by several important European composers from the last century, among them Spain’s Manuel de Falla and Italy’s Luciano Berio. Indeed, Berio’s 1964 suite Folk Songs gives the programme its name. Revue Blanche also tips its hat to a peer, the young Flemish composer Frederik Neyrinck, who wrote a piece just for them. October 16 at 20.30, Koloniënpaleis, Tervuren.


Written by Sarah Crew, PM Doutreligne and Georgio Valentino