New Utopia – moved to May 4

© CATPC – Launching IHA's Critical Curriculum

New Utopia – moved to May 4

Renzo Martens (NL) & David Gianotten/OMA (NL)

Can artistic engagement with global inequality bring sustainable growth?


In Thomas More’s Utopia, colonies are set-up on the mainland to tackle overpopulation on the island. In the early 19th century, Dutch and Belgian authorities experiment with the so-called “Society of Benevolence” establishing labour colonies for tramps, by means of agricultural innovation. Since a few years, artist Renzo Martens, the Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC) and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) have been developing the Lusanga International Research Centre for Art and Economic Inequality in rural Congo. In this context, can artistic engagement with global inequality bring actual sustainable growth? How can creativity give rise to new economic models and foster rural development? How can we make critical engagement with the postcolonial condition productive for the people that have paid the highest price for globalization?

The Institute for Human Activities (IHA) is a research project, initiated by a Dutch artist Renzo Martens 

and developed at the KASK – School of Arts in Ghent. IHA’s goal is to prove that artistic critique on economic inequality can bypass it, not symbolically, but in material terms. Since 2014 the IHA collaborates with the Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC). Together they have set up the Lusanga International Research Centre for Art and Economic Inequality (LIRCAEI).

LIRCAEI is located on a former Unilever plantation, the ground zero of global economic inequality. At this very place, the IHA wants critical art and plantation workers to fully deal with the economic and industrial structures that sustain global economic segregation. Plantation workers who cannot live off from production labour will live off from their artistic engagement with plantation labour. The IHA, together with plantation workers, creates a local free zone for critical thought and artistic production that on its turn will have a positive impact on the livelihoods of local inhabitants.

Developed in cooperation with the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) the LIRCAEI is due to open in March 2017. The plan by David Gianotten (OMA) and his team propose a matrix of zones that combine the functions foreseen by Institute of Human Activities & CATPC (discourse, production, exhibition) with given elements (living, artistic program, nature) and the natural flow of the land itself (from the beds of the river Kwengue to the high plateau). The research centre will comprise an exhibition space, workspaces, a conference centre with a multimedia library, a local community centre , a new plantation, and an iconic exhibition and performance space.

David Gianotten is the Managing Partner-Architect of OMAIn this role he is responsible for the management, business strategy, and growth of the company worldwide. As partner-in-charge he also oversees design and construction of various projects, including the Taipei Performing Arts Centre, the masterplan of Feyenoord City and the new Stadium Feyenoord, the CIFCO building in Beijing, the Prince Plaza Building in Shenzhen, the KataOMA resort in Bali, and now the New Museum for Western Australia.

In his role as acting partner-in-charge of OMA’s Hong Kong and Beijing offices and director of OMA Asia, David Gianotten leads the firm’s large portfolio in the Asia Pacific region. While stationed in Hong Kong he was responsible for the Shenzhen Stock Exchange headquarters in Shenzhen, completed in 2013; the final stages of the CCTV headquarters in Beijing, and OMA's conceptual masterplan for the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong. He is also one of the two directors of the recently opened branch office of OMA in Australia.

David Gianotten joined OMA in 2008, launched OMA's Hong Kong office in 2009, and became partner at OMA in 2010. Before joining OMA he was Principal Architect at SeARCH in the Netherlands. David studied architecture and construction technology at the Eindhoven University of Technology, where he is also a professor in the Architecture Design and Engineering department.

6 TOPIA: Conversations on Utopia and the Real

Six conversations confront utopian fictions on the city with their real-life counterparts. Whereas Thomas More used the fictive island of Utopia to hold up a mirror to the society of the time, the series re-engages with utopian thinking on architecture and the city from the point of view of its different incarnations and apparitions in reality. This takes place in the actuality of late capitalism in which representation and reality intersect and coincide. How can future scenarios for architecture and the city be truly radical and tangible in the current moment, where ideas, concepts and imageries have become commodities rather than catalysts for real societal change?

curators czvek rigby & natural born architects | organisation stad en architectuur vzw
 stuk kunstencentrum, asro ku leuven, existenz | support stad leuven, provincie vlaams-brabant, vlaamse overheid | sponsors febelcem, vandersanden group, a+ architectuur in belgië, nav

STUK Auditorium
Thu 4 May 201720:00
ticketseason ticket
standard€ 9€ 45
STUK card€ 7€ 35
students€ 5€ 20
members S&Afreefree

Lecture in Dutch



This lecture has been moved to May 4 2017

All purchased tickets will stay valid for the new date. If you’d like to cancel your ticket, you can send an e-mail to mentioning the ticket and your bank account numbers.

More info : Stad en Architectuur.
We apologize for this inconvenience.

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