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What’s on (your computer) this week
One of the biggest cultural tragedies brought about by the measures to limit infections of Covid-19 is the closure of Jan Van Eyck: An Optical Revolution. Not only Belgium’s most significant exhibition of the year, it was a highlight in all of Europe and the cornerstone of Ghent’s big Van Eyck Year. But here’s the good news: The Flemish Masters programme is putting up live tours every Wednesday evening on its Facebook page. The first premiered last night and was, naturally, the Van Eyck exhibition. The tour, in English, is still available to view on Facebook or the Flemish Masters website. Next Wednesday, a tour of Bruegel works in Brussels will be live streamed. All live events are followed by a Q&A with a museum director or curator. People can sign up to ask a question.
Kaaitheater has a great many videos and essays on its website to view for free. The videos feature talks and debates that have taken place on its stage in the recent past. You can find, for instance, the British scholar Sara Ahmed talking about university staff who have taken on a hard and painful process to change working conditions in so-called progressive environments. Since Kaaitheater is super international, almost all of the talks are in English. The essays, also written by visiting artists, are translated, so come in two or three languages. Just click your language preference at the top of the screen.
Good news for fans of good film: Cinematek has joined the streaming party. The film archive is putting one movie a week from its spring programme on Lumière’s Cinema at Home site. Film distributor Lumière developed the site at the beginning of the quarantine to offer movies to the public that should be in cinemas now. Cinematek specialises in classics, underground and art house fare, and its first offering on the site is the ground-breaking Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (pictured) by the great Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman. Tomorrow, it will add Anyway the Wind Blows on the site, a delightfully quirky film, the first and only ever made by dEUS frontman Tom Barman. While most of the films on Cinema at Home are €8, Cinematek films are only €5.
Loads of museums in Belgium have gone virtual, and Leuven’s M Museum now joins them. On the website, you can visit the permanent exhibitions, watch videos about current and past temporary exhibitions, listen to the museum’s first podcasts (in English, French or Dutch) or page through the first issue of its new online magazine.
A lot of us are asking for reading suggestions at the moment, so Bozar@Home has worked up a list of suggested titles. They are all pertinent to pandemics, recovery or the art of being alone, and they can certainly provide perspective as well as be relatable. One suggestion, for example, is the 1794 novel A Journey Around My Room (or Voyage Around My Room, depending on the translation). Written by Xavier de Maistre when under house arrest following a duel, it follows one man’s fanciful trip to each of his belongings. Bozar@Home has several other entries to recommend it, such as talks, tours and downloadable kids’ activities around the Keith Haring exhibition, concerts and movies. All for free.
While nothing beats a trip to the ruins of the Mariemont estate in rural Hainut province, the modern museum on the site has put its eclectic collection on its various social media platforms, as well as made its audio guides to the museum available on the izi Travel app.
Photos, from top: “The Annunciation” by Jan Van Eyck (cropped), c1434-1436, ©National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, Andrew W Mellon Collection, courtesy MSK Gent; Jeanne Dielman courtesy Film School Rejects