Recyclart was born in an old unused train station in center Brussels in 2000. Its an arts and music center that takes an active role in public space and with the residents. Its multidisciplinary approach integrates media, people and art. They organize a variety of parties, concerts, exhibitions, debates and lectures on architecture, public space and design. The redeveloped train station includes a bar/restaurant area, technical and artwork spaces, a venue, and even offices. The space out front becomes a public living room lounge, which also holds open-air events, art galleries, and skateboarders.
The organizers draw inspiration from the city’s many influences being bilingual (French and Dutch), the capital of Belgium and the EU, and their urban context. Recyclart receives funding from the municipality and different governments
Recyclart engages with hybrid forms of performing arts, visual arts and audiovisual reflections on architecture, public space, urban planning, social and artistic projects around photography. They see themselves as the mediator between the underground and institutional, artistic and social, experimental and popular. They have an arts policy structured around four pillars: reflection, education, working with the neighborhood, and innovation. Recyclart offers four art residencies that include work and exhibition spaces.
For a while, Recyclart’s musical programming revolved around alternative music scenes, non-commercial with a preference for experimental electronic music, techno, drum ‘n’ bass, electro, punk, and rock. Since 2009, they have shifted to programming musical performances that reflect the interests of their direct surroundings and neighborhood community.
Here are some of their music themes:
- Nightshop: mixed forms of non-Western music and electronics which milestones were the first concert of Buraka Som Sistema in Belgium (2009), El Hijo De La Cumbia, Poirier, Kumbia Queers, dj Edgar Omar Souleyman
- Zeitgeist: a series of evenings Scene adventurous contemporary electronic music: hip-hop mutant, juke, dubstep, experimental
- Avant-Jazz: this concert series focuses on advanced jazz, contemporary noise, improv and electronics (Marc Ribot, Teun Verbruggen, Laurent Blondiau)
- Haunted Folklore: This cycle provides the most intimate experimental folk. For other genres such as, drones, grind-core, metal or dubstep.
- Obscure and Good: For other genres, we work with some guest curators and co-producers because of their expertise in this area. It is obviously impossible to follow everything at once.
Recyclart has an extensive relationship with photography exhibitions with the mission of representation towards social cohesion. They emphasize photography because it is easy to learn, accessible, and universally readable. Their broad understanding of image culture includes video and graphic design where they engage in socio-artistic projects. In their rules preferring cheap and democratic projects, they stay open to the various backgrounds of the local residents old to young.
Projects allow participants to develop their own artistic talent in an inclusive process. The visual outcomes of the interactive projects become re-representations of the neighborhood. Thus, the association represents over time a collection of images telling the story and memories of neighborhood and their residents, through their own eyes.
In such projects they work with the undocumented (i.e. asylum seekers), drug addicts, and people without permanent homes in cooperation with other specialized organizations in Brussels (Nativitas, Petit Château).
In addition, there is a physical photo studio in which residents can have their portraits or group portraits taken. There also is a photography archive, along with the visual publications of Recyclart.
Architecture and Urbanism
Recyclart is a voice in transforming the urban area with their public space interventions and innovative thinking towards architecture. From their diverse backgrounds they are involved as urban actors, constantly maintaining and renewing the public space. Recyclart is a mediator between ideas and people, since projects bring different people / disciplines together. They promote equality, ethics, and openness.
Recyclart is involved in establishing a cultural platform named the IBAI (Brussels Institute of Architecture). They are also part of various other mapping projects, debates on integrative transport and mobility. They hold exhibitions on reexamining international geographical representations through various cities, along architecture, photography and food.
Recylart engages in all these diverse activities because they believe innovation is often at the intersection of disciplines.