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Colloquium: Variations on Temporary Use 22/03/24

We are happy to announce the special half-day colloquium ‘VARIATIONS ON TEMPORARY USE’. Topic of the day is the use and value of temporary use for the city today. Part of the question is how temporary use still functions as activist strategy. The colloquium takes place in MONA, the socio-cultural and activist space organized by Toestand in the enchanting and partly still functioning Sainte Marie-Madeleine monastery in Jette. The colloquium is organized by the master’s students in Architecture and Activism.

First guest of the program is Tine Declerck is in fact also our host (2 pm). Tine Declerck is project coordinator for MONA in the nonprofit Toestand, an organization that deals with temporary use of abandoned buildings and vacant land. The goal is to make inclusion a reality by organizing socio-cultural activities for youngsters – in sharp contrast with commercial players who exploit temp-use as niche in the market. We will talk with Tine Declerck about MONA, but also look back at Allée du Kaai, that got closed and demolished last year to make place for the new Becopark. And we hope to learn more about the wealth of other ongoing projects, such as BiestenbroekBis, Park Ouest, Korenbeek and many others.

In the second part of the program (3:30 pm), we will read and discuss parts of the book ‘Forms of Activism as Democracy in the City’ (pp. 87-91 and 111-119) written by Gideon Boie and Lieven De Cauter. We have seen a sort of magical multiplication of temp use in the city of Brussels. We are not only talking about the rhizomatic growth of Toestand. Variations of temporary use is about firms making good money with the search for cheap spaces and development companies hiring creative agencies to do the place making. The commercial forms of temporary use bring us back to the old issue of anti-squatting, which is at the same a depoliticization of activism.

In the third part of the program (5:00 pm), we look at different cases of temporary use and try to understand better the gain (or costs) of temporary use for the city. Felix Le Roy will present a critical reading of Leegstond, the manual for use of vacant space, written by Toestand. Nena Mommaert will discuss the living in ‘het Pand’ in Ghent and the long history of squatting of the Pandemisten movement.  Jesse Catteau will discuss Communa, the counterpart of Toestand, who has also expanded its activities in housing for Ukrainian refugees. Maria Michelaki will discuss the function of Roza Nera as sanctuary in Chania, Cyprus. The program might be subject to spontaneous change.

Join us on March 22. Welcome at any time. Meeting point is MONA, Avenue de Jette/Jetselaan 225, 1090 Jette (tram stop Spiegel / Miroir).