Seasonal Neighbours is a long-term research project on seasonal migrant labour.
The Coronavirus crisis made the dependency of our food economy on migrant labour painstakingly visible. Nations discuss how to do it differently, but seem to undervalue the cultural relationships this yearly exchange creates. This project aims at shifting the debate by exploring the interpersonal aspects of this temporary cohabitation through art and design interventions, critical conversations, thoughtful representations and written research.
Seasonal Neighbours looks at the evolution of the metabolism of horticulture, the rural landscape and European labour migration stories to formulate questions in relation to the economy of scale in the agriculture sector, domesticity, public space and new forms of citizenship.
Seasonal Neighbours is a international collective of 17 artists, designers and social scientists: Karolina Michalik (PL), Claire Chassot (FR/CH), dallas collectif (Salomon and Camille) (FR/BE), Vanessa Brazeau (CA), Anastasia Eggers (GE/R), Mona Theys (BE), Ewoud Vermote (BE), Ioana Lupascu (RO), Ines Marita Schärer (CH), Ode Windels (BE), Pia Jacques (BE), Yacinth Pos (NL), Jonathan de Maeyer (BE), Maximiliaan Royakkers (BE), Dieter Leyssen (BE) and Ciel Grommen (BE). All share a research methodology based on research-by-making: every member has been working as a seasonal worker in another agricultural context of Europe and processes its experiences throught artistic production and collective exchange.
Seasonal Neighbours was initiated in 2017 by Ciel Grommen, who worked side-by-side with Polish and Bulgarian migrants in her former hometown Borgloon (BE), and traveled home with some Bulgarian women. In 2018, Dieter Leyssen enlarged the scope of the project within the context of seasonal migration in Europe through an academic research at LSE. Maximiliaan Royakkers joined the team in the realization of the pavilion ‘House for Seasonal Neighbours’ in summer 2018. In 2020 the project reached out with an open call and grew in size. We started a collaboration with Z33, house for art, design and architecture and are planning an exhibition in fall of 2021.
Project has been possible thanks to the support of the Flemish Government, Z33, Ar-Tur, de Boerenbond, Vocatio fund, Plan B and many crowdfunders.
Maximiliaan Royakkers (b. 1988, BE) graduated as a MSc in Architecture and Engineering at the KU Leuven and holds a master from the Studio for Immediate Spaces at the Sandberg Institute. He is working in the expanded spatial field between architectural production, artistic research and educational experiment. In 2014 he joined forces and fields with Annee Viken to form Albergo Rosa, with whom they were residents at the Jan Van Eyck academy in 2016. Between 2014 and 2016 he was part of the public school for architecture Brussels, an autodidact educational framework that offers the opportunity to negotiate public space beyond the limits of current architectural practice. Currently he is a collaborator at the architecture o ce V+ and teaches an architecture studio at the University of Antwerp.
Ciel Grommen (b. 1989, BE) extended her training in architecture at the University of Leuven with a master in contemporary art at the HEAD in Geneva. What follows is a trans-disciplinary research practice from which she creates frameworks that addresses social, political and environmental issues. Intense fieldwork is central to her methodology. Through maps, images, instructions and installations she subsequently invites the public to imagine another perception of space.
Works have been exhibited in Artsonje Art Centre, Seoul; Live In Your Head Gallery, Geneva; Luma foundation Arles; Zolder Luchtfabriek; Beursschouwburg Brussels; Z33, centre for contemporary art in Hasselt... Works even more often appear in the “real” world, such as Petit Chateau, asylum centre in Brussels; the post box of her neighbour; online; on the Aldi parking lot of Borgloon, ... In 2015, she was selected for the BNP Paribas Fortis New Heads art award with her research on freeports and warehouses in Geneva.
Dieter Leyssen (b.1989, BE) holds a MSc in Architecture from the KU Leuven and is candidate MSc in City Making and Social Sciences at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Since 2013 he is member of international architecture and urban practice 51N4E in Brussels. Both in practice and writing, he developed a specific interest in collaborative processes that improve, strengthen and interrogate socio-spatial transformations in society.
In 2013, he was awarded the Flanders State Architect’s prize for young graduates and in 2018 he received the Young Planner Prize from the Dutch and Flemish Planning Association. His work was exhibited in Metropolitan Exchange (US), DeSingel International Arts Campus (BE) and the Dojima River Biennale (JP) and published in Architectural Re- view Magazine (UK) and ARCH+ (DE) amongst others. He is co-editor of FoUL, an independent magazine on urban practices founded at LSE.
Karolina Michalik (b.1991) graduated from the Social Design master program at Design Academy Eindhoven in 2018 with a background in architecture. Her interest is in subverting underwritten rules, codes and hierarchies of modern society by unmasking and dismantling their visual and spatial embodiments and in turn developing approaches for shaping collaborative built environments. In fall 2019 she took part in the NeverNever school and resulting publication with Spolka collective in Kosice, Slovakia, where she continued her focus and field research into informal building practices and their potential in disrupting aesthetics of commodification. She currently resides in Brussels, reconstructing second hand greenhouses for use by local farming organisations.
Claire Chassot (b.1989, FR) is a French-Swiss artist, currently based in Madrid, working on the intersection of scenography, installation and performance art, thanks to her educational background in the fields of theatre theory, spatial design and contemporary art. Through different collaborative projects, Claire aims to gather subjectivities and express sensitive knowledges of the spaces we co-inhabit.
Claire’s installations and performances have been presented in Festival JerkOff in Doc!, Paris, in Astérismes, Brittany, in La Kunsthalle, Mulhouse, in Galeria Nueva, Madrid, ... Her master project at HEAD Geneva has been awarded by Ahead Foundation in 2015 and led to the artist book ‘Passengers’. Since 2012 she has been designing scenographies for dance and theatre companies (eg. for MoralSoul dance company and Sarah Calcine’s theatre company) and for performances (eg. Espectres del Marroc by Adrian Schindler).
dallas is an architectural collective born in June 2018 from the meeting of four young architect-builders. It works on projects of various natures and scales - ephemeral or perennial, objects, installations or spaces - questioning the uses, practices and perceptions of space, the city and materials. At a time of over-specialization, dallas aims more for a general practice, enhancing making, action and mixing skills ; a practice between design and construction, between architecture, art and crafts. It is a field of experimentation, a round trip between knowledge and doing, between imaginary and concrete. dallas gives a primordial place to the "chantier" - the french word for both the building site and the building moment -, believing that the soundness of a project is perceived during this stage. dallas aims to be flexible, open, leaving room for a wide spectrum of possibilities and enhancing the unexpected. Its sources of inspiration are multiple, they are drawn from the context, the meetings, the dreams ... All of which allow an answer that can only be singular.
Ewoud Vermote (b. 1992, BE) studied Social Sciences, worked in theater, and now studies Audiovisual Arts at LUCA School of Arts Brussels. From a research driven approach he seeks an audiovisual form for the visible and the unvisible in the structures that surround us. Besides making, he is also one of the driving forces behind Arts Platform PLAN B, a production/presentation/reflection platform focussed on collective, non-urban and small-scale practices.
Vanessa Brazeau (b.1986, Niagara Falls, CA) is a trans-disciplinary artist, producer, ice-breaker, collaborator, (un)educator working primarily in public space. She sees embodiment, physicality and play as tools for translating, simplifying and subverting complex sociopolitical ideas. Her motivation is to create inclusive, accessible, participatory projects that (un)educate and empower various publics.
Vanessa earned an MFA in “Public Art and New Artistic Strategies” from the Bauhaus-University Weimar in 2016 and was hired in 2019 as an artistic associate and lecturer for the program as part of the Bauhaus Innovation Grant. During this time, she developed performative walks and strategies for public encounters in dialogue with students, in addition to imagining and implementing an experimental, embodied format for the social laboratory MIND PALACES at the Bauhaus Museum Weimar. She has collaborated with ccSPORT, a trans-local connective reclaiming and redefining the field of SPORT and since 2017 has been involved in processes of Commoning with Timelab as part of a working group devoted to shaping the ‘Artist Residency’ as a commons. She was the initiator and producer of Art Spin Berlin (2014-2019), a community based public art festival and bike tour of creative venues, art performances and site-specific installations throughout various Berlin neighbourhoods, shortlisted for the SPIEGEL ONLINE’s Social Design Award in 2016.
Vanessa is now based in Brussels.
Ines Marita Schärer (b. 1987, CH ) is currently based in Brussels and Switzerland. She works across poetry, performance, installation, sound art and experimental music. She is concerned with the human body and its precarious conditions within predominant structures. The (female) voice as a fugitive, sensual material she examines as a means to establish relationality, to inhabit an environment, to expand within, or to re-imagine it. Her practice is informed by the given context, permeable for various forms of alternative knowledges, nourished and driven by thinkers, co-thinkers, collaborators and allies.
Ines holds a Master in Art Practice from DAI, Dutch Art Institute in Holland (2019) and a Bachelor in Fine Arts from HKB, Bern (2012). She spent residencies in Paris (visarte Graubünden, 2013) and Vienna (Kanton Graubünden, 2014) and has participated in group exhibitions at the STADTGALERIE BERN or KUNSTHAUS LANGENTHAL, among others, and has participated in various projects in public space, such as ORTUNG in Chur, KUNSTWEGE in Pontresina, or KUNSTPLÄTZE in Bern. One of her main projects +41 (0)800 00 12 16 – a voice message project is an experimental platform for poetic pieces and voice based works (www.0800001216.ch)
Ioana Lupascu (b. 1989, RO) is a multifaceted designer interested the body as material in organised space and emergent play as intimacy enabler. Ioana's Masters in Architecture thesis, ‘The concept of Limit. Waterfront Revitalisation in Post-Industrial Cities’ explored the spatial and theoretical framework of the limit as a transitory space. Her practice over the years lived at the intersection of graphic from, the poetics of space and methods of production.
In London she worked as a senior designer with Walala Studio, exhibition designer with London Design Fair and Praline; and developed a series of compostable jewellery (Wasted Joules) to talk about alternative economies. Her fondness for visual compositions and colour is highlighted by her film photography focused on particularities of the urban mundane. Ioana's creative movement practice compliments her mixed-media work exploring the role of abstractions in mirroring emotional states.
Ioana is an independent trainee at ‘European School for Urban Games: Trust in Play’ Amsterdam branch, member of Time Window Collective and a future DAI alumni pursuing a second masters in Art Praxis. Unbounded by a medium, Ioana pursues a trans-disciplinary approach that enriches all facets of her practice.
Jonathan De Maeyer (b. 1994, BE) holds a master's degree in Visual Arts - Photography from LUCA School Of Arts Ghent and works on autonomous projects as well as projects in collaboration with artists and musicians. Jonathan is working on a digital and analog image archive that forms the basis for associatively composed series that try to translate the utopian desire for an unknown landscape. Additionally, the series are about the interpretation of place. Landscape is a freely discussed genre in art history and certainly in photography. The boundaries of perception seem to be determined by figures of speech and certain successful interpretations. In his work he tries to reinterpret landscape and give the viewer access to an alternative, personal perception.
“In recent years I investigated the effect of walking and wandering on my perception of the landscape. Along with the discovery of an emotional stratification that exists in the perception of landscapes, I have come to realize that the images in my head are influenced by literary / historical tropes and melancholy. “From where does the desire for an imaginary ideal landscape that most likely does not exist come from?” How does an idea get into my head when I don't even know what it looks like?”
Pia Jacques de Dixmude (b. 1997, BE) graduated in graphic design from LUCA School of Arts Gent in 2019.
“How to make the layers of time and context visible? What emotions does one feel when entering the archive? The process of digging and gathering from resources very is stimulating. I use association, fragmentation and deconstruction as methodologies to wonder what is to be forgotten or remembered: the context in which we live in is stratified by meanings and perceptions. My wish is to transform history into stories, time into now and space into reflection.”
Mona Thijs (b. 1999, BE) is a master student of Word Art at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp. Ever since she was a child she looks at the days as if they were little stories. Those stories sometimes find their form on paper, sometimes on stage. Mona has published columns in dS Magazine and Klasse, and short stories in the literary magazine DW B. In the summer of 2019 she has a residence in Paris with deBuren. There she wrote “la femme la plus assassinée au monde” based on the horror actress Paula Maxa. On stage she likes to bring her own cabaret performances.
Anastasia Eggers (DE/RU) works in the field of speculative and critical design and design research. In her practice, she explores social, cultural, political and environmental issues, often choosing food and food production as a medium to create narratives around those topics. Her work often results in future scenarios that metaphorically speak about recent societal tendencies and show complex relations between design fiction and reality.
Anastasia graduated from the Social Master department of the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2017.
Ode Windels (b.1994, BE) is an anthropologist based in Brussels, interested in bridging research into the way people relate to their spatial environment with making practices. At the moment she works for Damaged Goods (Meg Stuart) and Decoratelier. In the past she has been engaged in the hospitality of minors with a migration background.
Yacinth Pos (b. 1994, NL) is a designer with a practice focused on the social, political and cultural field through a research driven approach. She explores social narratives through print and digital design, visual identity, illustration, research, installation and storytelling.
She graduated from the graphic design department at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague in 2017. Since 2018 she is engaged in the project Camping Kafka, initiated by Academie voor Beeldvorming. Camping Kafka does research on the increasing habitation on holiday parks and campings by citizens who became stuck on the Dutch housing market. By doing fieldwork they develop different communicative tools that challenge the perception of policy makers.