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‘Foto Kanal 2010-2012 – Images and realities of youngsters in Brussels’

 - ©ADT (P.Sa.)

2012-07-04 – ‘Who are the young people of Brussels who live by the canal? They differ so much that it is hard to describe them. At the very most, we might try to meet them and ask them some questions. What are their ambitions? Where does their potential lie? What are their lives like? We dreamt of a book that would portray today’s young people, and more specifically, the young city-dwellers of the central districts, where so many changes are taking place and where Brussels’ future is being determined. (…) This book invites us to lose ourselves in their world, to the unpredictable rhythms of Hilde’s walk, Sharon’s poetical texts, Sarah’s survival tips, Jean-Louis’ photos, Mohamed’s drawings and favourite songs, the places where some of them like to hang out…

Such is the starting proposition of the book ‘Foto Kanal 2010-2012 – Images et réalités d’une jeunesse bruxelloise’, which has just been published by the Urban Development Agency for the Brussels-Capital Region (ADT-ATO) and Platform Kanal.  

‘Foto Kanal 2010-2012 – Images et réalités d’une jeunesse bruxelloise’ represents part of a participatory process launched over two years ago byADT-ATO in collaboration with Platform Kanal. The purpose of this process is to promote the energy, creativity, diversity, youth and potential of the canal area, and it is supported by the Brussels-Capital Region and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The first part of this process, the exhibition Foto Kanal 2010 - Je suis le plus beau du quartier, presented monumental portraits of young people from these same districts at around thirty sites and buildings the length of the canal. In view of the success of thisinitiative, ADT-ATO and Platform Kanal gave photographer Kurt Deruyter the task of continuing this fundamental workwith this group, increasing his active involvement in the project. Their joint work has led firstly to the exhibition ‘Foto Kanal 2012 – Icons’ (in which canalside locations play host to temporary monumental structures presenting photographs taken by the young people with the photographer’s assistance); and secondly to the book ‘Foto Kanal 2010-2012 – Images et réalités d’une jeunesse bruxelloise’.

This publication, which draws links between the two exhibitions, presents ‘a snapshot, a partial and subjective view of young people who are diverse and ever-changing, like the city where they live. Yet it does not claim to be exhaustive, as it would have been difficult to describe all the young Brussels-dwellers who live by the canal, such are the differences between them. This work is an encounter with nine young people like thousands of others, with their strengths and weaknesses, their fears and desires, their energy and creativity. As an artistic and participative venture, the project aimed to be free from censorship: these young people’s accounts are presented in unadulterated form, with all their poetry and their harshness.’