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What’s on this week: 9-15 October

14:50 08/10/2020
Our top picks of cultural events and activities in and around Brussels

It sounds pretty niche, but the programme of the Belgian-Mexican queer video and performance festival Homografìa/Homography is bursting at the seams with interesting stuff. The nomadic festival is landing in Brussels for the second time and Is terribly ambitious for its two-day run. Film, performance, an exhibition, DJ sets and panel discussions all revolve around Mexico’s lgbtqi community. One of the themes this year is sex work and its relationship to the queer community, in Mexico and beyond. 9-10 October, Le Tri Postal, Avenue Fonsny 48 (Saint-Gilles)

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever,” starts one of the English language’s most famous poems. It is one of many featured on posters across Brussels right now, part of the Mindblowers event hosted by VUB and KVS. Mindblowers brings together scientists and artists to talk about a variety of cool subjects, this year all focused on beauty: Its subjectivity, its impact on our lives, and how it reaches us – via all of our senses, not just our eyes. Talks and performances are in English, French and Dutch. Entry is free, but it’s currently down to a waiting list. The whole thing, however, can be followed live online 13 October 18.00

Place des Martyrs in Brussels

Brussels’ art deco and art nouveau architecture are well known to both residents and tourists, which means that its neoclassic treasures can be a bit forgotten. And yet there are some marvellous examples, from the Stanhope Hotel to the striking Place des Martyrs. This second edition of the Brussels Biennale Neoclassic offers guided walking tours of many sites across town as well as tours focused on a single building, inside and out, and sometimes hidden from public view. There are also seminars, tours of art that features Neoclassic architecture and a programme for kids. 10-18 October, across Brussels

While the above event will introduce you to the design aesthetic of neoclassical architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries, the Brussels Biennale of Modern Architecture whisks visitors into the 20th century.  Tours are offered in some of the capital’s most outstanding examples of modern houses, churches and office buildings designed and built between 1918 and 1972. There are also film screenings and debates. 15-31 October, across Brussels

TEDx Vilvoorde features an all-English programme, which is beamed via livestream into your living room. The theme is the future, which many of us are having a hard time picturing right now. But these speakers have no trouble seeing it at all, from creating our future history to growth through creativity to sending artefacts to the moon. TEDx Vilvoorde also includes a concert by satirical guitar duo Crazy Nails and live highlights from the TEDx Countdown event, happening simultaneously. Should you miss it, don’t fret: It will be accessible online for a year. 10 October from 15.30

Hotel Beethoven

How cool is it that Germany’s presidency of the Council of the EU coincides with Beethoven’s 250th birthday? It wasn’t supposed to be that way: The presidency schedule got pushed up when the UK wisely decided to relinquish their turn in 2017. In any case, Bozar is celebrating both with Hotel Beethoven, an exhibition dedicated to the influence of the one of the most famous humans in the history of the world. From popular culture to conceptual art, traces of the 18th-century-born composer can be found at all levels of art and society, with the exhibition including work by Antoine Bourdelle, Andy Warhol, Christine Sun Kim and Katie Paterson, to name a few. It’s a musical journey through time that stimulates not just our ears but all of our senses. 13 October to 17 January, Rue Ravenstein 23

Tickets to the revival of Drumming, one of Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s most iconic works are selling like hotcakes. Due to limited space in the Rosas studio, there are many performances – but buy now or miss out on the production that The Guardian once called “one of the masterpieces of the late 20th century”. 9-31 October, Avenue Van Volxem 164 (Forest)

Moti, a photo by Assaf Shoshan

Home is the first retrospective of the work of photographer Assaf Shoshan. While he splits his time between Paris and Tel Aviv, he travels the world searching for notions of territory, identity and a sense of belonging. His work is dominated by themes of being uprooted and how a simple sense of humanity can hang so dangerously by a thread. Until 21 February, Jewish Museum of Belgium, Rue des Minimes 21

Inspired by our recent lockdown, Brussels Design Museum (formerly known as Adam) has brought delicate pieces of its collection out of storage so the public can take a peek. The exhibition (un)locked features pieces from the Plastic Design Collection that must be kept under special conditions in terms of light, temperature and humidity. For a few short weeks, these chairs, sculptures, light fixtures and even a PVC jacket will be set free in the museum’s vast spaces. Until 15 November, Place de Belgique

Ever been told to get off your soapbox? No doubt you ignored that friendly advice, as have the women featured in Soapbox Science. Belgium is taking part for the first time in the worldwide event that sees female scientists taking to public squares to teach us all about their research. Grasping the dangers of Covid-19 better than anyone, however, they will be preaching online rather than in person. Talks are in English, French and Dutch, and speakers will tackle real-time questions coming in from viewers. In English, you can hear Dr Ing Luiza Bonin of Ghent University talk about renewable energy and Giorgia Stasi of Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences reveal what is going on deep under the surface of the earth. 10 October 14.00-17.00

Film still from You Will Die at 20

OUTSIDE BRUSSELS

The Afrika Film Festival is offering its programme of features in the cinemas of Leuven, and its shorts online to watch in the comfort of your home. The shorts are part of a competition for young filmmakers from across the continent. The festival has selected just 33 from 2,700 entries, so quality is guaranteed, and there’s no better way to meet the great African directors of tomorrow. As for the features, a couple of highlights are You Will Die at 20 about a 19-year-old living under the shadow of a shaman’s prediction (pictured), and De Patrice À Lumumba, a documentary based on a letter the Congolese leader wrote to his wife detailing his hopes for an independent country. 9-18 October, across Leuven

Bye Bye Future! The Art of Time Travel at Hainaut’s cultural treasure, the Royal Museum of Mariemont, provides more than a little escapism. The works by past and contemporary artists is a timely interrogation of today’s world, exploring what past generations thought the future would hold. The walled domain of this royal estate, meanwhile, boasts English gardens, lake and woodland. The listed heritage site was originally created in the 16th century for Mary of Hungary, Emperor Charles V’s sister, when she was governor of the Netherlands. It underwent further renovation and landscaping by Charles’ great-great granddaughter Archduchess Maria-Elisabeth of Austria 200 years later when she occupied the same post. Until 25 October, Chaussée de Mariemont 100, Morlanwelz

Photos, from top: Courtesy Homografìa; courtesy Wikipedia; courtesy Bozar; ‘Moti’, 2018 ©Assaf Shoshan; courtesy IFFR/YouTube

Written by Lisa Bradshaw and Sarah Crew