Consulado 5.1, 2004

2004 – Ephemeral installation of variable size comprising two flags, a distinctive plaque, some leaflets to take away and some interior scenographies.

Zwalm is a Flemish town near Ghent where a biennial project is organised in which several artists are invited to to develop a series of ephemeral interventions in different public spaces of the town. The fourth edition of Kunst&Zwalm, as the project is called, was carried out in collaboration with the Fundació Espais of Girona and a group of artists linked to the foundation were invited to participate. My proposal, Consulate 5.1, consisted of transforming an empty house in Rozebeke, a town inside the boundaries of Zwalm, into the offices of a bogus Consulate of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Days before the opening I distributed through the mailboxes in the town and other neighbouring towns, a number of flyers announcing the opening of the fictional consulate, including a detailed account of the services it offered. The project was based on the retrieval of certain problematic aspects of Belgian history recontextualised metaphorically in the present. The sudden appearance of a Congolese diplomatic representation in a small town like Rozebeke was utterly shocking, reopened an episode of history that at present is still regarded with pride among some Belgians or with infamy by others, while attempting to restore the political dimension of public space and to convert it into a point of confrontation and of social interaction.

Kunst&Zwalm, Rozebeke, Bèlgica, Fundació Espais de Girona i Galeria 44, Barcelona.