In 2016, Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide) spent a period as artist-in-residence at WIELS in the capital of Europe, Brussels. There, she made the film Brussels, 2016which shows the city of Brussels from the perspective of an imaginary conversation with her unknown mother. Chang captures the city at a politically historic moment: immediately after the bombings, which left 32 dead, and just before the Brexit referendum. Brussels, 2016 is an intimate and poetic portrait of the city, in which different realities and European (colonial) histories seem to coexist. Chang films from a queer, feminist and decolonial perspective. She lays bare the ‘fictional foundations’ that underlie the city of Brussels and the Europe it stands for by speaking through her everyday encounters with fellow artists, her queer group of friends, her Roma and Syrian refugee neighbours and her ancestors.

The Annex progamme

In The Annex, contemporary artists offer a present-day perspective on the exhibition. In the seventeenth century, the Bentvueghels travelled abroad for inspiration and to learn. Contemporary artists also seek a temporary workspace abroad to focus on their work. In the film Brussels, 2016, geopolitical reality enters the studio of Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide).

Image: Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide), Brussels, 2016 (2017), filmstill