I had a very early start on the Saturday in order to attend the event ‘Kanal Labs: Traingulated’ planned for that day. After struggling to find the right tram to get me from the Eurostar terminal to FoAM, I showed up a little before midday. I met Christina and Weitske, as well as Lina, and had a cup of tea. Christina got out a large map and explained that we were to go foraging for food in a nearby wasteland. Leaving my bags in the entrance, we headed out not long after and made our way over to the area near Tour & Taxis (you can see it on Google Maps). Funnily enough, its tagline is ‘An Urban Experience’! Weitske pointed out the plants that we might collect and we set up about foraging for edibles. Although we had forgotten to bring a trowel or scissors, we came across a small strange metallic structure which could be unscrewed, and fashioned into two digging tools. We collected evening primose, rosehip, some plums, carrot flowers and more.
We had a late lunch and then set about preparing the food for the evening. The idea was that FoAM would serve detoxifying appetizers flavoured with plants from the canal zone, intended to combat urban afflictions. The kitchen: a space of experiments, unexpected combinations, and collective work. I helped out where I could and also had my camera to hand. Often, one of the group would be documenting the event and so I suppose I was documenting the documenters at times. People who are part of FoAM continued to arrive as the afternoon turned into evening, and two of them dressed up as ‘food doctors’. Their uniform: a white lab-coat with a mouth-mask around the neck. I was struck by the similarity of the outfit to those worn at the ‘Experimentality’ conference I attended earlier on in the year, and how this plays to familiar imaginations of science. They were to provide a sort of ad-hoc clinic, filling in forms of what ailments people had, sending these up in a basket to FoAM (several floors up) and then, a few minutes later, hand their patients a particular dish that would help. The basket was operated by a child of one of the FoAM collective and added to a ‘family feel’; one where everybody was comfortable and at home in this studio-lab-space.
I went down to see the doctors in action, on the terrace of another lab, Okno, and had been asked to take some photos of the event. On my way down the stairs, I noticed that the whole complex had a large number of cultural-, or creative-spaces which I looked up the following day. There were a lot of people out and about, and it seemed as if the Kanal Festival (organised by Platform Kanal) was proving to be a success. A little further down the street from the Kanal Labs, was a reconstruction of Checkpoint Charlie; a suggestion that Brussels was a segregated city, divided by its canal (a programme of events is available here). When I returned to FoAM, the pace of activity in the kitchen had slowed and later, we had a few drinks to celebrate. There were lots of questions from the others, many of whom I had met at the Luminous Green gathering, about what I would be doing… to which I had no answers but only smiles.
Kanal Labs: Triangulated
Start: 2010-09-18 19:00 Europe/Brussels
End: 2010-09-18 21:00 Europe/Brussels
FoAM & Open Green, The Mill, Koolmijnenkaai 30-34, B-1080 Brussels, Belgium
Three Brussels art labs invite you in Koolmijnenkaai 30-34. OKNO opens their rooftop garden and Open Greens-project to all. You can taste urban honey and drinks made of plants from the garden. You can nibble on FoAM’s detoxifying treats to help you fight urban afflictions, spiced up with plants from the Kanal area. Q-O2 invites the sound artist Pierre Berthet for a concert using waterdrops as an instrument.
After a day of walking between various urban gardens alongside the canal, FoAM will serve a range of detoxifying bites, especially crafted to eliminate toxins and pollutants from the human bodily ecology. The aperitif combines ingredients, methods and performance-eating techniques that can assist your body in fighting some of the most prominent urban afflictions, including allergies, stress related disorders, diabetes and cancer. In collaboration with OKNO and Irma Firma, the cooks will incorporate edible plants gathered and grown in the Brussels’ Kanal area.