the new local enquired into what a progressive locality might entail in the light of globalism, focusing, more specifically, on the role of spatial practice. From October 9 to October 13, 2018, it explored conceptions of locality beyond the illusionary attempt to solve global problems on an exclusively local scale, while simultaneously acknowledging that it is necessary to (physically) relate to their abstractness. Is it possible to stretch the notion of “experience” both spatially and temporally?
This exercise was localized through the Muntplein/Place de la Monnaie in the center of Brussels. The public square was designed to serve as a backdrop for events, giving rise to an open, bare place. Sitting at the intersection of two shopping streets, its non-identity was soon filled in by the aura of consumerism. This was recently reinforced by the arrival of the shopping mall “The Mint,” whose display windows face the square.
Ten artists were commissioned to each develop an experiment on the Muntplein/Place de la Monnaie. Instead of organizing yet another event on the square, these interventions took place during the day without an informed audience. The experiments have been documented and mapped in different ways and were presented and discussed by the artists and invited guests during evening programs that took place in a venue facing the square.
The dialectical relationship between the local and the global, and the ways in which this can be experienced on different scales lay at the heart of all the interventions. As such, the project was never designed to seek clear-cut answers or a deployable and hence marketable narrative. On the contrary, the new local emphasized the need to abandon normalized patterns of relating to “our” world. This, of course, requires time and the acknowledgement that the language, tools, or infrastructure to do so may not yet exist.