Confronted with the SARS-CoV-2 crisis, unfortunately we have to cancel the 25th edition of the festival in May 2020, including this project.

The mission of the festival has always been to support artistic creation. We keep this as our core mission today, and we aim to support the artists and collaborators of the festival in this situation and for their future. 

You can contribute to the festival's action by buying Ghost Tickets online. Thanks for your help and support. Take care!

Close Encounters

    18/05  | 14:00 - 18:00
    25/05  | 14:00 - 18:00

€ 8 / € 6
± 30 min

Book your time slot at the box office

How do teenagers talk about love? Once a month for a year, students from two different secondary schools in Brussels met and became The Class. With Anna Rispoli, continuing the research she began last year with Your word in my mouth, The Class investigates the relationship between authority, intimacy and love, well beyond its simple association with sentimental relationships. The result is a series of real conversations that the group selected, edited and re-recorded and that will eventually be shared with the spectators. Guided by a voice in their ear, each spectator of Close Encounters will re-enact a one-to-one conversation with one of the young co-authors. It is a conversation that has already happened, and yet is also happening in the present in this new, intimate encounter. Infiltrating the labyrinthine architecture of La Monnaie, Close Encounters recreates a constellation of spaces where we hide to talk about love.

A long-term collaboration with: Institut Dominique Pire & Atheneum GO! For Business
Students involved: Asma Abdeslami, Abdoulwahab Barkat, Barkat Abdoulwahab, Francesca Ate, Mohamed Ayari, Abdoulaye Bah, Mohammed Belhadj, Hafsa Berrabhi, Soufiane Boutagumant, Demba Diallo, Nesrine El Gharnati, Ouassima El Mashouli, Wassila El Yahyaoui, Paata Gambarashvili, Fatima Guezzari, Türkan Gülal, Nouhaila Bakhat Habibi, Cristian Iolu, Yousra Islane, Abderrahmane Krimel, Aiman L’Ghazouan, Amina Majidi, Fatima Majidi, Mardoché Malaba, Atiyya Merchant, Lina M’Rabet, Ayoub Mouhoua, Mohammed Moussaoui, Victoria Paluka, Fareha Raza, Xheme Vogli, Laura Verriez
Workshops: Enrica Camporesi, Paulo Guerreiro, Carolin Herzberg, Anna Rispoli
Video: Luca Mattei
Musical consultancy: Massimo Carozzi
Teachers: Marleen Allaert, Valérie Asselberghs, Florence Hanoset, Stefanie Peeters
Production and external eye: Marine Thévenet
Coordination: Daan Simons, Anne Watthee

Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, La Monnaie/De Munt
Coproduction: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, De Veerman
With the support of: Dynamo 3 (Cultuurkuur, Vlaamse Overheid), La Cellule Culture-Enseignement (FWB) & Sven Gatz, Flemish Minister in Brussels, Charleroi danse, Gemeenschapscentrum De Kriekelaar, Hacktiris, Inter-Béton, La Maison des Cultures et de la Cohésion Sociale de Molenbeek, Maison de repos Anne-Sylvie Mouzon, la Montagne Magique, RITCS Bottelarij, Smart Belgique-La Vallée, Tour & Taxis, Zinnema
Thanks to: Atelier L’Ad Hoc, Jeanne Boute, Les Brigittines, Bart Capelle, CIFAS, Common Wallet, Gideon Hakker, Hectolitre, Cécile Hupin, Christophe Meierhans, Chez Prima, An Vandevelde, Lauranne Winant, and many others who helped, supported and cherished the project

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Close Encounters

Close Encounters has been created in 9 appointments from October to May between 30 students of 2 schools, 10 adults and 1 foetus. We recorded 52 hours of conversations, ate 43 packets of biscuits, 10 liters of soup, 25 madeleines, 41 bananas. Someone said: “C’est gênant tout ça”. Another: “Je m’attache très vite”. We’ve thrown in the air 1000 coins of 10 cents. 420 among them never came back. 13 have been invested in a sandwich. “Ik, ik hou van basket”. We walked through 4 communes, glued 47 post-it in 6 different colors into 3 city plans, sent 73275 text messages. “Et comment vas-tu à la rencontre de ton destin, s’il est deja écrit ?”. We listened together to 3 music tracks, but we had collected 38 in a usb key. Drawn 82 instant portraits of passerbys, in 30 seconds each for a total of 41 minutes. “Pendant 4 ans j’ai mangé dehors. Maintenant ma mère est revenue à la maison”. Shook 3426 hands. Fell 4 times into deep crisis. Convoked 3 post-traumatic sessions. Turned on the smoke machine at least 74 times, for 15 seconds each time. “Er zou meer liefde moeten zijn op school”. We had 22 toilet breaks. From some of these some of us never came back. We filmed for 11 hours. “Chacun peut kiffer son moment, non ?”. Once there were 7 degrees and each of us had 2 jackets, another time it made 5 degrees too hot. “Ça sera juste pour quelqu’un mais jamais pour tous”. Worked in 9 places and 26 different rooms, witnessed the beginning of 2 new loves and to the end of 3 friendships. “Elle m’a fait mal, mais elle m’a rempli le coeur”. Met 6 old people in a senior home, 4 ducks, 21 test spectators, wore 7 masks. “C’est du gagné en donnant-donnant”. We selected 8 conversations. 1 of these is waiting for you.

More about the practice of Anna Rispoli


The urban sprawl, where functions overlap, is a place full of potential. There are no unambi-guous images, no irrevocable judgements, and the grids that allocate particular uses to specific spaces are not set in stone. Everything is orga-nised by proximity, by separation, by paradoxes, by chance. Even from above I get the impression that it is not possible to get a full overview and that basically the city makes more sense when experienced from below, by choosing from one of the thousands of subjective, located points of view. It does not matter whether these points of view are real or imaginary. In one way or another, they corrode our alienation; they build meaning and it is this warm, negotiable, incarnate meaning that gives way to society.

We need to introduce more characters, citizens and commuters, consumers and inventors, humans and architecture, insects and stones, and the sum of all their interactions, in order to build an idea of urban living that is more fertile than the only model proposed by global capital.

I am interested in temporary, unexpected, spontaneous communities: those that do not label themselves. Of people who have ended up using the same space together, without ever having decided to, who each tug at it like a blanket that is too small and then invent strategies of urban negotiation. A contradictory agenda of ‘what is to be done’ that enjoys irreconcilability as a form of richness.


Communication, communion, communism, the commons, communing together, being community. Why does official rhetoric have to brainwash us with the narrative of a changing city that is coalescing and repopulating, and where miraculous participation blesses the last and rewards the first? Why are artists used to shape this rhetoric that claims to be based on so-called communities, now that the nuclear family is growing old?


‘Community: a group of people with the same shared values, behaviours and goods.’ If this definition was taken literally, an urban community would not really exist. Urban is paradox, contradiction, co-existence, over-existence, power relationships, infiltration, sediment, sudden invasions, territorial defense, Balkanisation, geo-fragmentation, discovery.

I recall how fast the chasm of meaning can grab me just before ringing a stranger’s doorbell to suggest an artistic project: ‘What am I doing here? What stance should I take?’ But since the stranger and I share a common destiny, which is, after all, much more than a space, it is worth giving this out-of-place relation a try.

We a religious community, you a linguistic community; you a geographical community, we a community with vested interests. Just for a moment, let us put the antagonistic nature of the term in brackets. The urban community does not really exist: it is just a fetish, a figment of the imagination or a figure of speech. Now imagine recolonising the word in order to make it a new and flexible concept, perhaps still necessary to train our predisposition for sharing.


I would like to think of this new community as a tool of insolent micro-politics, an ecosystem disobeying the natural laws of inclusion and difference, like a mental landscape to be cultivated with transformative propositions, a tool that instead of normalising the codes of human conduct keeps the door wide open for the potential of improvising other types of society, daring to share resources, to enjoy a collective conflictual imagination.

A community that is always in the process of being made and unmade; in short, one that holds us in medias res, in the midst of things.

From: ‘In Medias Res’, in The Time We Share. Reflecting on and through Performing Arts. published by Kunstenfestivaldesarts and Fonds Mercator in 2015

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Anna Rispoli
With her performances, relational practices and urban interventions, Anna Rispoli works across the boundaries of the artistic creation with the civil space. For Les marches de la Bourse she reunited political activists of the last fifty years, in a meta-demonstration claiming the right to demonstrate. In Vorrei tanto tornare a casa she invited the residents of an apartment block to make use of their facade windows to share their feelings about urban density. Among the Water Pieces, Tempus fugit re-contextualized Kortrijk’s branding ambitions, while Five attempts to speak with an alien offered to black out the waterfront of Abu Dhabi. In 2018 she presented the participatory project Your word in my mouth. Brussels take at Kunstenfestivaldesarts, in which talking about love is central.

The Class is a long-term project set up by Kunstenfestivaldesarts. For three years, students who are currently in the fourth grade of secondary school at the Institut Sainte-Marie and the Atheneum Brussel become acquainted with one another while immersing themselves in the world of contemporary art. Year after year, their collaboration will become more intense and will conclude with an artistic project during the 2021 festival.

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