Ergens Hier

La Raffinerie

10, 11/05 – 19:00
12/05 – 15:00

NL / FR / ARAB / ES

45 min


Ergens Hier is the culmination of a long-term collaboration between the Kunstenfestivaldesarts, the artist Inne Goris and the Vier Winden school for primary children in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean. For several years, some of the school’s students have had an opportunity to discover what goes on behind the scenes in the art world. In 2011 they were members of the jury for the Children’s Choice Awards and in 2012 they were able to observe the creative process behind Inne Goris’s show Hoog Gras. This year, it is their turn to be the creators! In order to see their own neighbourhood in a different way, the students have taken their everyday journey to and from school as their starting point. Developed from their accounts, their impressions and their discoveries, Ergens Hier is a show somewhere between dream and reality, written and directed in collaboration with children for audiences of all ages. An established artist making a conscious choice to move what she does to a school setting – that’s quite some undertaking!

Concept
Inne Goris

By & with
Meriam Bel Mustapha, Imane Daaouag, Thibo De Bruyne, Roba Eissa, Anas El Alaoui, Zora El Jylaly, Amine El Rhifari, Wacila Lamsadja, Shawn Perlado Calacapa, Anissa Sakali, Wanis Sebbar, Jonas Soete, Yousra Zemouri


Thanks to
Dirk Letens, Joeri Zelck, Bilal Laaborchi, Ilse Van Coillie, Raquel Arrebola Da Silva, Karlien Tiebout, An Vandevelde, Samantha Van Wissen, Thomas Smetryns, Charo Calvo, Joke
Laureyns, Kaat Vrancken, Koenraad Tinel, Angelique Wilkie, Sara Van Der Zande, Luke Jessop, a.o.


Set design
Ruimtevaarders


Costumes
Lieve Meeusen


Photos
Lieven Soete



Presentation
Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Charleroi Danses / La Raffinerie


Production
Kunstenfestivaldesarts

In collaboration with
Vier Winden Basisschool, La Maison des Cultures et de la Cohésion Sociale de Molenbeek-Saint-Jean / Het Huis van Culturen en Sociale Samenhang van Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, Festival Kanal, Charleroi Danses / La Raffinerie, Ultima Vez


Supported by
Vlaamse Overheid, Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie, KBC

Back to top

Ergens hier. An attempt at meeting.

At the end of June last year, theatre maker Inne Goris stepped into the Vier Winden school to work with the final year pupils on a project about their Brussels neighbourhood: Molenbeek. Together with Inne Goris, thirteen children with thirteen backgrounds outlined a route. First through their neighbourhood, then away from it. In order to, slowly and in small steps, meet one another. Ergens hier shows what happens when the thirteen paths they covered, come together. Somewhere in a square. The Kunstenfestivaldesarts has a history with Vier Winden. Three years ago, the school was involved in the Children's Choice Awards. After that, the pupils, safely on the sidelines, could observe Inne Goris during the making of Hoog gras. For Ergens hier, they enter into the scene themselves.

Armour

"We wanted to go one step further. With one-off projects, an organization pitches up in a school only to then disappear. Something like this, however, needs time to sink in. Therefore, in June of last year we started a long-term project in Vier Winden, which also happens to be the school where I undertook my last project as an educator with the BRONKS youth theatre. Molenbeek does not have the best reputation. The children find it dirty and unsafe. If you ask them if they would like to continue living there when they grow up, then the vast majority say no. It is their neighbourhood, but they want to get out of there."

"As a maker you are searching for great sensitivity. You think that that will be easier to find with children. Not so. Some of them are now thirteen-years-old, thus adolescents. The peer pressure is immense. 'We're not going to do something stupid.' That sort of thing. Making theatre requires vulnerability. You cannot play with a suit of armour on. And that's what they are: armoured. Moreover, they have not actively chosen for this project. So you really have to win them over to your side. That was infinitely more difficult than I could have anticipated. Despite my years of experience, every day I felt like a beginner. My attempts to come closer to them has caused me to ask fundamental questions about myself as a maker, about what kind of theatre I should continue to make, about education, about religion, about our multicultural society. To lure them out of their comfort zone, I also have to leave my own."

The woman of the weird questions

"I started as I always do: by asking questions. The woman with the weird questions, as they called me. I asked them, for example, to paint a portrait of themsleves, but as a house. What kind of house did they see when they looked in the mirror? An apartment building? A castle? Taking them along to shows and explaining why you find something beautiful. Asking them not simply to reject an idea but also to say why. Yet, after several months, I needed to try a different approach. It proved much more difficult than I expected to pierce through the group dynamic and mutual deadlocks. Come December I began to outline an individual trajectory for each child. I asked thirteen artist friends if they saw fit to work with one of the children for one day. By freeing the children from peer pressure, they gradually began to open up."

The square of the sad bird

"So, off we went with Kevin in the car from Molenbeek to the farm in Vollezele, where illustrator and visual artist Koenraad Tinel lives. From the bustle of the city, you promptly arrive in a sanctuary. The meeting went smoothly. 'Ah guys', a firm handshake, and then immediately onto the tractor with Koenraad, to go and feed the animals. And in the afternoon, we were making ink drawings together. Or playing the violin and dancing, in the case of Jonas. Jonas had written a story about a boy who sits all alone in a square where it always rains. There is only one tree there, containing a lone bird who sings a sad song. Jonas worked with the composer Thomas Smetryns. Thomas let him listen to bird sounds and experiment with unorthodox ways to mimic them on the violin."

"We started with the idea of doing something about their neighbourhood and their district. Perhaps that's quite typical of 'us', the socio-cultural sector. That we want to look at them and their neighbourhood 'with fresh eyes'. Why is that? To show that it is actually okay there? To say: look at the beautiful things, it's actually not that bad here, is it? I now think: you have to get those kids out of there, put them in a different place. Give them a temporary tabula rasa. So that they can very briefly reinvent themselves. That's much more exciting."

No more words

"During recent weeks I often hear myself saying that I have no more words with which to talk about things. By 'things' I mean: the complex reality with which you are faced. There are so many taboos attached to words. I would like to have the nerve to say: 'No, I do not think your Dutch is good enough. Yes, I think it's a problem that forty-percent of young people are unemployed.' We know all that, of course. But there is a big difference between knowing something and experiencing something firsthand and from within. My husband's daughter is, how should I say it, the only 'white' person sitting in a coloured classroom in Brussels. She calls the children in her class 'square'. When I asked her what she meant, she put it like this: 'I have other things on my sandwich. I wear different clothes. On weekends we do other things. They think I'm weird and laugh at me.' The lack of familiarity with what is otherwise is something I also experienced in the class. If you want to make theatre and want to be occupied with art, curiosity is crucial. Courage to look over the wall, that is what we need."

"I just do not accept that someone can muster up curiosity for someone else. Although I obviously sense where it comes from. For the Kanal festival I also walked each of the children's routes from home to school. So I understand why Zora calls her street the 'noisy street'. At eleven years of age, some of these children have already had more problems on their plate than I have had in my entire lifetime. And even though their background is not problematic, they often live in a complex reality. They watch Twilight, singing loudly 'This girl is on fire' along with Alicia Keys. At the Arab school they learn the Quran and at school they study the Catholic religion. And they are supposed to reconcile all of that. So perhaps it is not surprising that they sometimes seem 'square'. That they fall back on what they know best. It takes time to broaden their eyes and ours, millimetre by millimetre, to the world."

Respect

"Basically, it's about respect. Respecting that someone is different. But also: respecting yourself, and knowing respect. When I had given them an assignment about the concern you convey for someone who is dead, I heard two children muttering something. When I asked Amin what it was, it turned out to be a prayer. His first reaction was immediately defensive: that it isn't funny. There prevails a huge fear that you would make them feel foolish. So I understand why they have an allergic reaction to everything that is different. If you experience any kind of otherness as a calling-into-question of your own identity, then it essentially exposes how precarious and fragile that identity is."

"But every day, as well, I ask myself once again: who am I to impose my value system? Does that not imply my own moral superiority? How can you say at the same time: I respect you, but I want you to change? At present, I have a lot of questions and few answers. I just feel that art can play a role in expanding everyone's view. Perhaps it can also sharpen respect for others. Does that impede on their individuality? I hope not. I do hope to show that there are several ways to look at the world. So it's about searching for the boundary line, the zone where you find each other and understand each other. A square, for example, such as in Ergens hier. An imaginary space in which they can encounter one another. Because that is what it's all about: wanting to meet each other. In a city square, a square where they can, no, where they must colour outside of the lines."

Wannes Gyselinck, April 2013
Translated by Jodie Hruby

Back to top

Inne Goris was trained as a theatre director and drama teacher at the Maastricht School of Drama. She made her theatre debut with Niet in staat tot slechte dingen and Zigzag Zigzag (BRONKS, 1996-1998). After this she worked as a dramaturge for Ultima Vez/Wim Vandekeybus. The premiere of Zeven took place in 2001 and in 2003 she collaborated with Bart Moeyaert in Drie Zusters. In that same season she directed Pride and Prejudice (Toneelhuis, 2003-2004). All three performances were nominated for the 1000 Watt Prijs. Moreover, she was awarded this prize for Drie Zusters in 2003. After Hersenkronkels (Villanella, 2004) she created De Dood en Het Meisje (2005), La petite fille qui aimait trop les allumettes (2006), Droesem (2007) and Naar Medeia (2008) with her own company, ZEVEN. From 2009, Inne Goris has been creating under the wings of LOD. She directed Judaspassie (2009), a project of Dominique Pauwels based on a text by Pieter De Buysser. Nachtevening (LOD & ZEVEN), the second part of her diptych based on the classic Medea, premiered in 2009. For Muur (2010), Inne Goris once again drew inspiration from a text by Pieter De Buysser, Dominique Pauwels composes the music. In 2011 Inne Goris and Dominique Pauwels present Droomtijd, a musical installation and the family performance Father, Mother, I and We (LOD & HETPALEIS) with Dominique Pauwels and Kurt d’Haeseleer.

Back to top