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What’s on this week: 13-19 November
The Fine Arts Museum of Belgium has put loads of cool activities online. The virtual exhibitions are not just a walk around the museum but put you up close and personal with artworks, honing in on details and telling you what they're all about. See what dozens of Bruegel’s normally tiny characters are actually up to and hear about mysteries curators have yet to figure out. All of the virtual exhibitions are in English; accompanying video explainers have English subtitles. A separate selection of videos introduces visitors to other pieces in the collection, and there are also exhibitions and activities just for kids.
Under the title Cinematek@Home Belgium’s film archive is offering 10 movies that it has restored for viewing at streaming sites Sooner and Lumière. Belgian (co-)productions, they range from 1960’s Déja s’envole la fleur maigre (From the Branches Drops the Withered Blossom) – a fascinating documentary commissioned to promote the education of immigrant children in Borinage and morphing into something else entirely – to 2015’s The Event, a Belgian-Russian co-production about the failed coup in Moscow in 1991. Speaking of Cinematek, they also have a web shop if you’re looking to get in a little early Christmas shopping. They have a whole lot of DVDs, of course, of Belgian cinema, all the way back to the silent era, but they also have memorabilia and film-related books in multiple languages.
Flanders’ Science Day has to go digital this year, but the Muntpunt library in the centre of Brussels is offering up a real-life activity box. Completely free and good for anyone aged six and up, it has several scientific experiments to try, such as extracting DNA from a tomato and growing your own bacteria. You can pick up the box between 16 and 21 November, but be aware that written instructions will be in Dutch. Muntpunt is also lending books – in both Dutch and English – digitally via an app. There are about 1,000 English-language titles. Place de la Monnaie 6
The big Diwali Brussels festival is forced to go digital this year, but it is offering up some great entertainment, including dance, music and lots of info on traditional Indian culture. Diwali, known as the festival of lights, has been celebrated in India and the diaspora for more than 5,000 years. The organisers of this local event, which will stream live on Facebook, will let you know what it’s all about and even put some local mayors, ministers and ambassadors on the podium. 14 November from 16.00
Several organisations, including Ancienne Belgique and the Horst Festival, are co-hosting the talk Decolonising Music and Nightlife Culture. The free online event, held in English, centres around the black protest origins of techno and how it has been appropriated as “the smiley-face music of Berlin, Manchester and Belgium”. The evening begins with a keynote by New York writer and curator DeForrest Brown Jr (pictured) of the Make Techno Black Again campaign, which is followed by a panel discussion. 16 November 20.00
Brussels’ Alt X Festival, which offers an alternative look at sex and gender, is going online. Topics of the many discussions, performances and workshops include gender fluidity, having good sex and ‘My Naughty Quarantine’. This festival can be very frank, so be ready. (In French) 13-15 November
©Maja Ajmia Yde Zellama
Several Brussels organisations are coming together to present Female Gaze, a screening of several short films followed by a discussion on the titular concept among the directors. The term ‘female gaze’ was coined as a response to the concept of the ‘the male gaze’, made famous by film theorist Laura Mulvey in the 1970s. It refers to how women are depicted in cinema by an all-male team of filmmakers, extending to how men in films view female characters. The films can also be viewed in advance on Vimeo. (In French) 14 November 20.00-22.22