WOW @ Trefpunt Soma
A few weeks ago we got a call from 'Trefpunt Soma': a meeting place for people in poverty. Soma is a place where you can read a newspaper, use a PC, do the laundry or eat a hot meal. The meeting place is situated in Maasmechelen, as such, many regulars there have a link with the mining past. We where invited to join them at lunch time!
During this first visit we presented Manifesta 9 focusing on 3 artworks. One artwork of each section: heritage, art history and contemporary art. The final artwork, from the contemporary section, received most of the responses: Sounds from Beneath by Mikhail Karikis and Uriel Orlow. A group of ex-miners from Kent mimic the sounds of the underground. Sounds that no longer exist, except in the memories of these people. The fact that there are many ex-miners between the Soma-visitors, made this artwork more interesting.
A second step was another visit to 'Trefpunt Soma'. This time we took our Workshop on Wheels-bus (WOW) with us. Inspired by the disappearance of the sounds in 'Sounds from Beneath', we went in search of images on the street that could be gone soon. With a big iron frame in our hands, we walked through Maasmechelen. We found natural landscapes, cars, satellite antennas, sewing machines... Later that day we brainstormed about sounds that once did exist, but don't exist anymore. Results: coal planer, children playing in the street, nightingale, locomotive, and any more, The sounds were simulated and recorded with our brand new recording techniques.
A week later, we invited the participants for a visit to Manifesta 9. First we watched the results of our WOW-workshop: a video of the making of of the walk, combined with the sounds that were simulated. It was a success: there was a lot of laughter.
We then got the chance to see the artworks we discussed before. Not only the heritage part, but also the contemporary art was well received in this group. Although, the experience I won't forget is the lively reenactment of the underground work by an ex-miner from Soma: in a reconstructed coal corridor, on his knees, with the strut timer in his hands. A lively tour!
An van Hertum - Art Mediator
Manifesta is coming to your doorstep. The Manifesta 9 Workshop on Wheels - or WOW! - brings Manifesta 9 to communities in Limburg and further a field. As mobile platform of the Manifesta 9 Art Mediation / Art Education department there is always something going on in and around this bus, including workshops, interventions, discussions and much more.