Jack Whitten participating in Mons 2015 organized by the Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Mons, Belgium.
This contemporary art exhibition, supported by the WIELS contemporary art centre in Brussels, will present a group of artists fascinated by the phenomena of circulation, exchange and transfer of artistic cultures and practices. The title alludes to the ideas of Edouard Glissant, an influential commentator on cultural hybridity, who long ago began to argue in favour of interconnected and egalitarian relations between human beings, between the community and nature, between the animate and inanimate world, and between the imaginary, the symbolic and the real.
As Mons was at one time the epicentre of the cultural and social melting-pot associated with the Borinage and the process of modernisation, this exhibition will explore the issue of plural identities.
These have taken shape since the early days of industrialisation, transcending national borders and lines of geographical or identity demarcation and following people’s paths as they migrated to a ‘better life’.
Addressing the notions of otherness and difference in response to globalisation, the exhibition will also focus on the specific character of its venue, the Manège de Sury, and the story of this ‘micro-city’ or ideal community in the former premises of riding stables and a monastery that later became a school. In 2016, this restored building complex will become a business incubator and a model city block: it will be an atopos or ‘non-location’ of a technological future.