futuristic & universal since 1958
EXPO 22.05.10 > 31.08.10 Atomium Temporary exhibitions sphere Square de L’Atomium 1020 Brussels www.atomium.be •
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be.WELCOME be.WELCOME a joint project of the Atomium and the Museum of Europe in partnership with the King Baudouin Foundation and the Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight Against Racism within the framework of the Belgian presidency of the European Union.
Address Atomium Temporary exhibitions sphere Square de lʼAtomium B-1020 BRUSSELS T. 02 475 47 77 M. firstname.lastname@example.org
Press contacts: FR > Arnaud Bozzini • 0494 524 747 • email@example.com EN & NL > Ilse De Braekeleer • 02 475 47 74 • firstname.lastname@example.org
With the support of: • the Federal State – Federal Public Service for social integration and the fight against poverty • the Brussels Capital Region • the Wallonia-Brussels French Community – presidency & permanent education • the Flemish Community Commission • the Flemish Government • the Parliament of the Wallonia-Brussels French Community • the Brussels French-speaking Parliament • the City of Brussels • the King Baudouin Foundation • the National Lottery
Speaking at the press conference on 22nd February 2010: In the presence of Mr. Freddy Thielemans, Mayor of the City of Brussels: • Mr. Henri Simons, director of the Atomium • Mr. Arnaud Bozzini, head of temporary exhibitions at the Atomium • Mr. Henri Dupuis, the Museum of Europe • Ms. Isabelle Van Den Broecke, the Museum of Europe
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Foreword from the director of the Atomium, Mr. Henri Simons Foreword from the scientific advisor to the Museum of Europe, Mr. Elie Barnavi Presentation of the project and the programme Activities outside of the exhibition Presentation of the Atomium Presentation of the Museum of Europe
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As from May 22nd till August 31st, 2010, the Atomium will present, in collaboration with the Museum of Europe, «be.WELCOME«, an exhibition devoted to paths and experiences of migration in Belgium. After «Bipolar« and «Africa Fast Forward«, the Atomium will offer the Belgian and international public a new social exhibition. For us, it is about joining the debate through stimulating reflection and getting to the heart of the reality of migration. Through its cultural, educational, civic and playful approach, this initiative highlights a legitimate social and cultural theme which we believe it is necessary to talk about in order to contextualise it and thereby remove the drama and tension from it. Undertaken within the framework of the Belgian presidency of the European Union in 2010, this project offers a new perspective on the phenomenon of migration. The programme which is envisaged as a «search for paper« will be the chance to offer visitors an interactive approach to this social phenomenon. Benefiting from the museological and scientific expertise of the Museum of Europe, «be.WELCOME« will give priority to individual stories of migration and will show not only the point of view of the migrants but also the perceptions of the host society. Prior to this exhibition, we intend to respond to the questions posed by the phenomenon of migration in addition to encouraging reflection and developing perspectives and mentalities on the issue. The experience of the Museum of Europe with which it gives me great pleasure to carry out this ambitious project allows us to tackle this topical theme with great sensitivity but without any pretence. All the more since we are working in close collaboration with a scientific committee including not only the King Baudouin Foundation and the Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight Against Racism, but also the universities and various other associations. After the museum «Bois du Cazier« in Charleroi and probably Antwerp, this exhibition which has been designed to travel should become the basis of a centre of migration. Being both an exhibition site and a centre of research and study on the phenomenon of migration, this space will allow the collective appropriation of a history which speaks to each one of us.
Henri SIMONS Director of the Atomium Press file - be.WELCOME I 3
The purpose of the Museum of Europe is to portray and analyse Europe as a civilisation, in other words in all of its dimensions – historical, cultural, political and social. Its exhibitions which in previous years have looked at European unification («Cʼest notre histoire«), religious practices («Dieu(x), modes dʼemploi) or the phenomenon of genocide («La Shoah par balles«) and in future will address the three centuries of European- American relations fit in with this overall objective. The participation of the Museum of Europe in the design and creation of an exhibition on the phenomenon of migration in Belgium is therefore an obvious undertaking. After all, nothing is more European than the waves of migration which have swept over our continent as a whole and each of its individual countries since the dawn of time. The history of Europe is a story of people and populations on the move. Indeed, the Museum of Europe has been in contact for many years with the Cité nationale de lʼimmigration de Paris and a joint exhibition project with this pioneering institution is currently being finalised. The Museum of Europe is delighted to be able to work with the Atomium and its other partners in the realisation of this project of enormous interest and hopes that this exhibition may become the nucleus of a permanent Museum of Immigration in Brussels.
Elie Barnavi Scientific adviser to the Museum of Europe
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2. PRESENTATION OF THE PROJECT & THE PROGRAMME
2.1. The perspectives of the exhibition What is an immigrant? Attempts to answer this single, elementary question reveal how immigration is both complex and multiple. It also shows how difficult it is to portray it (the purpose of an exhibition!) beyond the most conventional of clichés. We have therefore chosen to put together an exhibition in the form of snapshots, spotlights focused on the phenomenon of migration in the broadest sense of the word. It is not a question of being exhaustive or leading the visitor on a logical path whereby it is necessary to complete each step in order to understand the following one. Priority is therefore given to personal accounts, but more fact-based information will also be presented recurrently in each exhibition space. The aim is to both surprise visitors and encourage them to question what they see, even if they only visit one installation. At the end of their visit, they will tell themselves that it is a complex phenomenon, but thanks to our exhibition they will have discovered new facets, new angles from which to look at the subject. A complex phenomenon, immigration also has a double meaning: there are those who arrive, but also those who welcome. The latter may also be «immigrants», albeit not as recent as the new arrivals. Too often, not to say always, exhibitions on immigration portray and give voice to those who are perceived as «outsiders» (even if they are not so in the legal sense) and, in doing so they reinforce, obviously without intending to, the impression that these people are a group «apart», without any connection to the other inhabitants of the region which they have moved to. In our exhibition, however, the double perspective of both the welcomers and the welcomed will be present throughout.
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2.2. The visitors’ route
The history of immigration in Belgium Elements of street furniture which make up the word WELCOME are arranged on the esplanade opposite the Atomium. The letters of the word WELCOME support the telling of the history of immigration in Belgium. This history will be told in the form of a visual panorama consisting of photos, graphics and copies of documents. Each letter is dedicated to a form of immigration which represents a stage in this history.
The faces of immigration A series of large portraits occupies each window of the roundhouse. These are the witnesses that visitors will encounter on their tour of the exhibition. They clearly represent a wide variety of nationalities and backgrounds, including those of «more or less distant Belgian origin». Each portrait will be accompanied only by the name of the person and their place of birth.
Immigration and art A work by a contemporary artist will be exhibited in the ticket office.
Immigration In cinema At the ground-floor of the Atomium, visitors will be able to see excerpts from films, sketches etc. which show how the theme of immigration has been addressed in cinema or by humorists over the past decades. Press file - be.WELCOME I 6
The search for better A film introducing the phenomenon of migration will be shown in the sphere reserved for the permanent exhibition on Expo 58.
The voices of immigration The escalator will be transformed into a cocoon of sensory immersion: on the way up (which lasts just over a minute), visitors will hear the witnesses saying words in their native language, sounds of life.
Who are they and why have they emigrated? Visitors find themselves facing a large interactive map of the world. When they touch a face on the small touch screen located in front of them, it releases a whole range of information such as photographs, films etc. which appear on the map. Information appears regarding the native country of the witness, according to various scenarios. For example, visitors can see that other nationals of the country in question emigrate elsewhere and why. Our witness explains why he/ she came to Belgium and what his/her first impressions were on arrival here. The most important information is contained in the witness accounts. Among those appearing will be individuals of older or more recent Belgian stock who explain what changes this influx of immigrants has brought about for them.
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Links with «home» This exhibit consists of three terminals allowing two visitors at a time to listen to recordings of conversations between immigrants and their family and friends who have stayed «at home». These conversations can be heard via traditional telephone receivers like one finds in phone boxes. Here too, the other point of view is also taken into account: you can also hear conversations between Belgians speaking amongst themselves about these new arrivals.
Different codes Two silhouettes, one dressed in European attire, the other in an ʻexoticʼ costume and topped off by an umbrella attract the attention of the visitor. They conceal a terminal with a touch screen on which objects or expressions are drawn or written: they donʼt have the same meaning here and elsewhere. For example, the umbrella-parasol, find oneself a place in the sun – find oneself a place in the shade, etc.
Pack your bags The visitor then heads towards a series of suitcases, trunks and plastic bags: these are the bags of immigrants as they were packed when they left home. A hole pierced in the bag allows one to discover a particular object, be it unusual or nostalgic, from the country they left behind.
The immigrant’s struggle The aim of this interactive installation is to discover the complexity of the administrative process which accompanies immigration and to feel the anxiety which immigrants often experience. The installation consists of a counter such as one often finds in public administrative buildings, but in the place of the civil servant is a touch screen. When nobody is at the counter, these screens shows a civil Press file - be.WELCOME I 8
servant filing documents, fixing stamps, looking at the time and from time to time announcing the number of the next ʻcustomerʼ. Once a visitor approaches the screen, a proximity sensor is triggered and a new sequence begins on the screen: the civil servant calls out to the visitor and informs him that he must satisfy the formalities for the following immigrant, to take their place in a way. The visitor must decide which documents are necessary in order for this immigrant to obtain a residence permit and indicate where they can be found, all in the given time.
Did you know....? These elements will be recurrent. They will take the form of pieces of furniture whose design is in keeping with the theme of the exhibition. The information will be presented in these pieces of furniture. This will be factual information (statistics, numerical data, the survey results, graphics, maps, etc.)
Multiple cities The general atmosphere of this space will be generated by photos of urban places which, shaped by immigration, are characteristic of the cities in question: restaurants, barber shops, halal butchers, cafes, clothes shops, travel agencies, etc. They are images of current shop fronts, not «before and after» photographs. At the top of these photos, for example amongst the roofs, the visitor discovers another did-you-know element, this time dedicated to the settling of immigrants in the cities.
Integration in the future Are ʻimmigrantsʼ integrating into our society? There are without doubt almost as many answers to this question as there are ʻimmigrantsʼ. Integration also has just as much of a double meaning. There is the feeling of the immigrant, but also the perspective which the «others» have of him/her. We have chosen to tackle this theme, the most important in the exhibition, through a series of reports which look at places of integration and the questioning of integration: schools, business, sports clubs, local trade unions or political parties, hospitals and the local community. Once again, the point of view of both immigrants and «Belgians» will be confronted.
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These reports will be broadcast amongst 20 monochrome silhouettes. The silhouettes are in half-light, with the exception of one per group which is lit and therefore highlighted. When the visitor approaches the illuminated silhouette, he/she will discover the information device.
What do you think? The integration of new arrivals is a problem which is and has been faced by all human communities. What do visitors think about this? Do they believe that certain approaches should be favoured? The final installation of the tour allows visitors to express their opinion. Not by responding yes or no to simplistic questions, but by taking a sometimes roundabout route. The questions will be edited so that everyone can answer them, whatever the community they belong to or feel they belong to. For example, as regards the role of school, we will ask: «Are you in favour of introducing community quotas in the classroom?» or «What percentage of pupils of a different origin to you do you think is desirable in your childʼs class?» The vote will be recorded and the combined results in large rate allowing each visitor to see whether or not they are in tune with public opinion.
LEVEL 4 Multiple cultures The stage of the «Bar à pois» will be decorated by four photographic montages on the theme of «Without them, Belgium wouldnʼt be what it is». Several figureheads such as Adamo and Ilya Prigogine will be on display. These are people who came from elsewhere and at a certain point in their personal history decided to stay in Belgium for an extended period.
Music from elsewhere Visitors can select excerpts of the favourite music of the individuals encountered in the exhibition via a jukebox.
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3. ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE OF THE EXHIBITION STUDY DAY: CONGOLESE MIGRATION TO BELGIUM
Atomium • 1st June 2010 On 1st June, the Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight Against Racism will be organising a study day at the Atomium within the framework of the be.WELCOME exhibition dedicated to Congolese migration to Belgium. The occasion will see the presentation of a previously unpublished demographic study carried out by the Centre in collaboration with Gédap (The Applied Demographics Study Group – UCL) which looks at Congolese migration and its impact on the Congolese presence in Belgium.
THEATRE PERFORMANCE: JE LIS
Atomium • 22nd – 25th May 2010 • 7pm Exiles and immigrants often encounter great difficulties in integrating into the culture and language of their host country. This aspect is evoked by the theatre performance “Je lis”, adapted from the life story of Agota Kristof, Lʼ Analphabète. Forced to flee her country in 1956 in order to escape the Soviet army, this young Hungarian woman took refuge in French-speaking Switzerland with her family after a long journey. Not knowing a word of French upon arrival, she assimilates to the language and culture of the region through sheer perseverance to the point where she became a renowned writer in her adoptive language. In 2008, she received the Austrian Prize for European Literature in recognition of her whole body of work. Her work has been translated into 30 languages and has brought her international acclaim. Directed by Sifiane El Asad, the piece opens with a huge book with blank pages which are gradually filled with the life story of the author. Adopting a light, nimble tone, the performance tackles essential themes such as exile, immigration, integration, learning another language and another culture. Performance arranged by Géraldine Colin and Corinne Ricuort With: Manuella Ammoun, Maryse Dinsart, Johanne Samek, Laurence Voreux • Set design & costumes: Valérie Leclercq, assisted by Isabelle Jamsin • Production: Alain Bourgeois • A co-production of Présence et Action Culturelles, Lire et Ecrire and Fantastique Collectif • With the support of La Maison du Livre, the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Brussels and Garcia Lorca Those interested in the work of Agota Kristof can meet the author during the literary event held in her honour at the Hungarian Cultural Centre in Brussels from 22nd to 30th May 2010. • •
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4. THE ATOMIUM An unavoidable monument An essential symbol of Brussels and Belgium, but also an important site for international tourism, a unique achievement in the history of the architecture and a symbolic relic of Expo 58, the Atomium is today the most popular attraction in the capital of Europe. Depicting a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times, an allusion to the power of atomic energy which was booming at the time and which was intended to be used for peaceful purposes, the structure continues to embody the futuristic and universal ideas of Expo 58 where it was conceived and perpetuate – notably through its cultural programme – the reflection which began in 1958: what sort of future do we want for tomorrow? What is the source of happiness for the men and women of our planet?
A unique example in the history of art A totem or beacon in the Brussels skyline; not a tower, not a pyramid, slightly cube-shaped, slightly spherical, halfway between sculpture and architecture, a relic of the past with a resolutely futuristic appearance, museum and exhibition space; the Atomium is simultaneously an object, a place, a space, a utopia and a unique emblem in the world which escapes any form of classification.
A symbol of Brussels, Belgium and a whole era The Atomium was not intended to survive beyond the Universal Exhibition of 1958, but its popularity and success ensured that it quickly became a major element first of the Brussels, then the national and finally the international landscape. In addition to its symbolic value linked to its history, the Atomium is also one of the icons of Brussels – the capital of Europe – with which it maintains privileged relations. Since its marvellous restoration in 2006, what many do not hesitate to nickname the most Belgian of monuments has also housed a museum containing its permanent collections and temporary exhibitions.
Brussels most beautiful panorama Described variously by guides as fabulous, striking, exceptional or magnificent, if you believe the experts a visit to the Atomium is worth it for the panorama alone. Unlike some other viewpoints in the city centre, thanks to its location on a naturally raised plateau on the edge of the city the Atomium offers the only true 360° panoramic view of Brussels.
A first-rate restaurant Run by a restaurateur independently of the Atomium, the panoramic restaurant Belgian Taste offers an extensive daily range of products, ranging from snacks to a typically Belgian gastronomic menu.
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A place for exhibitions 2010 programme Futuristic & Universal, the Atomium has constantly been extending the reflection which began during Expo 58 where it first came into being. Themes such as science, progress and the future which are currently more topical than ever are addressed during the course of various temporary exhibitions held throughout the year.
Expo 58: The exhibition Permanent exhibition on two levels / base sphere Emblematic building and the main relic of Expo 58: it is only natural that the Atomium permanently devotes one of its spheres to this highly significant and unique event in the history of our country.
Following the success of the exhibition Expo 58. Between Utopia and Reality, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Expo 58, the Atomium, magical witness of Galaxy 58, is offering a new permanent version: Expo 58 â€“ the exhibition. The Atomium has since acquired 30 original or contemporary scale models representing the various pavilions of Expo 58. These models have been created by the University of Ghent on the basis of archive documents, with the intention of producing historically accurate recreations. Through the archive documents, photographs, videos from the time and numerous models, this exhibition will immerse visitors in this prestigious an unforgettable event. For some, it will be a chance to rediscover this bewitching event, while for others for whom Expo 58 and its quest for progress and happiness is utterly unfamiliar, it represents an opportunity to understand this dream which still makes the Atomium such a magical place today.
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Temporary exhibitions Temporary exhibitions sphere / on two levels
Organised with the support of international institutions, these exhibitions are aimed at the general public and, in particular, schools which can be assisted by a guide or, for certain exhibitions, even receive a teaching file.
Ludic Modernism in Belgium. Inventive, lively, audacious and colourful, the design of the 1950s is one of the major sources of inspiration for contemporary visual artists. This exhibition allows visitors to rediscover these designs which are still making their influence felt today. An exhibition which will delight both amateurs in the field and those lacking in inspiration for their interior decorating.
Expo 58 in miniature. Expo 58 saw an architectural production which was as detailed as it was spectacular. Most of these structures have today disappeared and those which remain have mostly been transformed in accordance with their new use. The University of Ghent’s presentation of 30 of these pavilions reconstructed on a smaller scale will be the occasion for a playful and technical exhibition which will interest young and old alike.
be.WELCOME. The Atomium will be retracing 200 years of history of outsiders and immigration in Belgium in collaboration with the Museum of Europe and the Cité de l’Immigration de Paris. By means of a chronology and individual themes and stories, the exhibition seeks to understand the collective destiny of the groups and communities involved and to highlight the importance of the contribution of immigrant cultures in Belgium.
Intersections. Belgian Design. As part of its annual exhibition devoted to design and the 2010 edition of Design September, the Atomium will be showing the work of three young designers from the three regions of Belgium: Jean-François d’Or, Nicolas Destino and Linde Hermans. The exhibition will examine the evolution of their creations (furniture, textiles, ...) from school to the present day.
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5. THE MUSEUM OF EUROPE The Museum of Europe is a project launched around a dozen years ago by a small group of people with a European outlook – whether as a result of their personal or professional life -, historians and cultural promoters from European civil society. Its aim is to take Europeans back to the roots of their shared civilisation by, amongst other things, maintaining an exhibition site in Brussels. The Museum of Europe is a Belgian non-profit association which, over the years, has established the following bodies: • a pan-European advisory board made up of intellectuals and scientists; • an international board of museum directors; • a scientific committee consisting of ten historians; • a finance committee. In addition, the association has established close links with other institutions through the creation of the Network of European Museums. The Museum of Europe is supported by the Belgian public authorities and around twenty private “founding members”. The European institutions also provide selective support for specific projects. Without waiting to acquire its own building in Brussels, the Museum of Europe has accomplished the following: •
the general design of its scientific and cultural project (permanent mission, temporary and mobile exhibitions, audience-activity programme).
three international colloquia: LʼEurope Monde, Les frontiers de lʼEurope and Europe: Religion(s) et modernité.
two prototype exhibitions: > La Belle Europe (October 2001-March 2002) > Dieu(x) : modes dʼemploi (October 2006-March 2007).
the large exhibition launching the permanent mission of the Museum: Cʼest notre histoire! (October 2007 - May 2008)
touring exhibitions: Dieu(x): modes dʼemploi (Madrid, Paris, Warsaw, Quebec, Ottawa) and Cʼest notre histoire! (Brussels, Wroclaw, Budapest, Madrid, Paris).
the large exhibition marking the Belgian presidency of the European Union: EuropeUSA: Three centuries of relations between Europe and the United States, Brussels 2010.
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be. WELCOME : Belgium & Immigration. Better understand for more understanding, this is the ambition of be.Welcome, presented in the Atomium...
Published on May 14, 2010
be. WELCOME : Belgium & Immigration. Better understand for more understanding, this is the ambition of be.Welcome, presented in the Atomium...