top of page


An immersion in the cracks, the non-productivity, and transcendence of the geological base of Brussels

Since 2021, Wouter De Raeve and I have been working in the Northern Quarter in Brussels on the choreographic research project I Build My Language With Rocks; a critical reading of top-down movements (large-scale urban plans), with a focus on the local movements in the neighbourhood. The notion of the swamp – one of the first forms of life buried under the asphalt in order for the city to be written – functions as a dramaturgical guidance throughout the project. Swamp Sacrifices emerges from this ongoing research and invites other practitioners to think along with us.


Swamp Sacrifices addresses the swamp and the water of the Zenne Valley. Historically, the swamp has been a place of non-productivity and, as such, a space for transcendence and spirituality. In Brussels, as in many other parts of Northern Europe, the swamp was a place of sacrifice, where people made offerings to gods, superior beings, and other worlds. But as the city evolved, the swamp has been forced to become a zone of productivity, inscribed in a capitalist thinking that reduces both life and death to a commodity. 


Today the Northern Quarter of Brussels is undergoing a process of intense transformation. The many construction sites in the neighbourhood are zones where the past and the future meet. These ‘holes in the ground’ could be seen as zones where the swamp emerges; whether we want it or not, the water and its complexity find their way through the cracks of our contemporary society. What are we to do with its presence? Are we going to ignore the swamp once more? What about getting into its waters? 


Over the course of one weekend, we will practise ways of getting closer to the swamp as a space of non-productivity and as a zone where the affective quality of the sacred can emerge. Far from proposing a single homogeneous ritual, we will rather attempt to experience the sacrifice as a body, trying to relate to its different organs and phases as an entity in a continuous process. The programme, which takes place in the valley of the river Zenne at M33 and KANAL Centre-Pompidou, and uphill at radical_house, is composed of workshops, a concert, and presentations. Swamp Sacrifices will be an interruption of a system that considers the swamp as an ‘annoying' body that needs to be made invisible. What happens if we approach the swamp as a non-productive and transcendental ecology?

The full programme here:

Curation: Paula Almiron & Wouter De Raeve

In collaboration with: KANAL-Centre Pompidou & radical_house

Contributions by: Paula Almiron, Simon Asencio, Bear Bones, Lay Low, Chorale Equinox de la Maison d’Enfants Reine Marie-Henriette, Wouter De Raeve, Loucka Fiagan, Désirée 0100, Guy Gypens, Groupe d’Action Musicale, Remi Kuforiji, Natural Contract Lab, Jimena Pérez Salerno, Résidence Masui, Hoda Siahtiri, Azahara Ubera Biedma, André Verstraeten

Production: Hiros

Co-production: KANAL-Centre Pompidou  

Graphic Design: Modem Studio  

Copy editing: Simon Cowper

With support from: VGC  

Special thanks to: Simon Asencio, Lietje Bauwens, Wim Cuyvers, Guy Gypens, Flore Herman, Katrien Reist.


Unproductive Will by Jimena Perez Salerno at radical_house. © Bo Vloors

KANAL_SWAMP SACRIFICES_VEV_6368_24022024_(c) Veerle Vercauteren.jpg
KANAL_SWAMP SACRIFICES_VEV_6350_24022024_(c) Veerle Vercauteren.jpg

Unproductive Will by Jimena Perez Salerno at M33. © Veerle Vercauteren

KANAL_SWAMP SACRIFICES_VEV_6154_24022024_(c) Veerle Vercauteren.jpg
KANAL_SWAMP SACRIFICES_VEV_6227_24022024_(c) Veerle Vercauteren.jpg

Le Pacte by Azahara Ubera Biedbma & Résidence

Masui at M33. © Veerle Vercauteren

KANAL_SWAMP SACRIFICES_VEV_6171_24022024_(c) Veerle Vercauteren.jpg
KANAL_SWAMP SACRIFICES_VEV_6660_24022024_(c) Veerle Vercauteren.jpg
KANAL_SWAMP SACRIFICES_VEV_6528_24022024_(c) Veerle Vercauteren.jpg
KANAL_SWAMP SACRIFICES_VEV_6645_24022024_(c) Veerle Vercauteren.jpg
KANAL_SWAMP SACRIFICES_VEV_6538_24022024_(c) Veerle Vercauteren.jpg
KANAL_SWAMP SACRIFICES_VEV_6603_24022024_(c) Veerle Vercauteren.jpg

The Water is Angry at Kanal-Centre Pompidou, with Groupe Gam, Loucka Fiagan, Chorale Equinox des Enfants de la Maison Marie Henriette et Hoda Siahtiri and Bear Bones, Lay Low. © Veerle Vercauteren

The Water We Care For at K1/Kanal-Centre Pompidou with Remi Kuforiji, Guy Gypens, Natural Contract Lab and André Verstraeten. © Veerle Vercauteren 

Spatial Therapy by Wouter De Raeve, with Martha Balthazar and Stine Sampers, at K1/Kanal-Centre Pompidou. © Veerle Vercauteren

[Sunkboac] by Simon Asencio at K1 / Kanal-Centre Pompidou. © Veerle Vercauteren

bottom of page