SIGNAL is all about performing arts in public space. Debates, workshops and artistic actions address our relation to the city, changed by the terrorist attacks in March 2016.

Art facing Terror

This year, terrorist attacks in Brussels and elsewhere in the world, as well as different forms of violence undergone in the public space, or at the frontiers of Europe with the refugees crisis, are our departure points. For a more than ever necessary reflection on a public space where the human being is threatened of death, but also of control or dishonor.

Debates and Workshops

For 5 years, SIGNAL has become the place for critical reflection on the complex relationships between living art and public space. During three days and a half, testimonies, analysis, debates, workshops and performances give the opportunity to artists, researchers, cultural operators, policy makers to question what is at stake concerning art practices in public space.

Urban Interventions

SIGNAL is also a moment of poetic mutation of the City, thanks to a program of art works specially conceived or adapted for Brussels, momentarily interrogating and transforming urban fabric - artworks being primarily destined to users and inhabitants of the City.


SIGNAL is a program of debates gathering artists, cultural operators, researchers, social actors, urban planners, policy makers... from all over the world, passionate about the city.


How to think violence, which makes now part of our daily lives, but which is also exercised against the Stranger at the borders of Europe (sometimes in the head of the citizens themselves), "to protect us"? What does this violence change in our perception, in the essence of the city - especially about its anonymity? What is our responsibility as artists or cultural operators in this situation?
_Enlightener: Laurent Licata (BE)
Speakers : Tom Sellar (US), Sheila Ghelani (UK), _Alessandro Carboni (IT)__


The terrorist threat and the fantasy of the invasion of migrants allow the reactivation of security discourses and logics of population control, endangering democracy. How can urban art exist in this context where security plans instantly reduce its action field, and is it capable of reacting positively to police overflows?
Enlightener: Olivier Razac (FR)
Speakers: Fanni Nanay / PLACC (HU), Alicja Borkowska (PL), Christopher Hewitt (DE/UK), Michael Murtaugh and Nicolas Malevé / Constant vzw (BE)


By facing terror, new solidarity movements, compassion signs and care to others are reactivated, collectively or individually. From the memorial spontaneously built by citizens at Bourse, to Tout Autre Chose and Nuit Debout, the public space becomes again, paradoxically, the place of a new way of "making society", of another citizenship. How can art in public space associate itself to those movements?
Enlightner: Joan Tronto (US)
Speakers: Pascal Le Brun-Cordier (FR), Myriam Sahraoui and Elly Ludenhoff MA/NL), Elvira Santamaria Torres (MX), Anna Rispoli (BE)


SIGNAL is also the opportunity to work in smaller groups during workshops led by speakers to meet the practice of an artist, deepen a reflection...

Workshop led by Tom Sellar (US)

Empire State: Time-Based Arts, Terror, and the Redevelopment of New York after 9/11
The September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center killed 2977 people and destroyed an entire section of lower Manhattan. For the past 15 years, New York’s recovery and redevelopment have redefined neighborhoods and public spaces—with unprecedented real estate development and rising economic inequality.
Critic, curator, and professor Tom Sellar looks back at the problems for progressive artists, and at a selection of projects and platforms they have created in response. (With a special emphasis on performance, theater, and time-based arts.) How are terror and gentrification linked in the political imagination? What strategies have artists found to avoid complicity with the commercial forces re-making the city? Did the attacks end New York’s bohemia—or did development? This workshop will begin with a presentation and will conclude with a discussion of the positive and negative dynamics at work.

Workshop led by Alessandro Carboni (IT)

EM - Tools for urban mapping and performance art practice
EM is a Toolkit for urban mapping and performance art practice conceived by Alessandro Carboni that uses the body as device to capture, to extract urban events and to map what happen in a place in its geometrical and temporal extensions. The method allows to deal with those events, embody and reconfigure them with a choreographic thinking. The result is a Corporeal Maps made out of posture, forms and body gestures. For this workshop Alessandro Carboni will explore the toolkit with images, sound and videos of the clashes and protests that took place in Hong Kong in 2014, that gave birth to his work "Being here in what wil no longer be".

Workshop led by Sheila Ghelani (UK)

Taking Care, Holding others, with the Red Cross
The concept of “care” manifests a lot in Sheila Ghelani’s practice, sometimes leading her towards working alongside the caring professions in hospitals and day centres. For this workshop, Sheila invites Belgian Red Cross workers to discuss how they think about and use the word “care” within their organisation and how they “hold” others. There will be some practical exercises on holding/taking the weight of one another and some discussion about these. The Red Cross will also share some First Aid for emergency situations.

Workshop led by Fanni Nanay / PLACC (HU)

Public space as the field of representation of political power
The Hungarian government in power since 2010 uses every possible discourse to keep, strengthen and demonstrate its political dominance. The media is almost totally controlled by the government, and it also aims to symbolically take over public spaces (as places of public communication). Beside the active involvement of some groups of activists, the reaction of the majority of the society to radical changes in the cityscape is resignation, apathy, passivity – and self-censorship, even from the artists’ side.
Budapest-based Placcc Festival focusing on site-specific art and art in public space, can sharply feel all these changes while trying to act against them.
Fanni Nanny will give some examples of the radical changes in the cityscape initiated by the Hungarian government, as well as successful and failed artistic projects in public space. In the second part of the workshop she wants to discuss with the participants about how to react to self-censorship and apathy implied by the governmental control.

Workshop led by Alicja Borkowska (PL)

I remember... the City
Strefa WolnoSłowa is a theater foundation organizing artistic events with participation of Polish, migrants and refugees living in Warsaw. Change of the political situation, victory of the right wing parties in the last years election and anti-migrant manifestations bring in memory the worst moments of the history of hate towards the minority groups. During the workshop, the Polish situation and the artistic activities of Strefa WolnoSłowa in Warsaw will become a starting point for the wider reflection on the memory of the society and memory of the city: how does memory work, what do we remember? How does what we remember shape our relation toward the world and political atmosphere in which we live? The stimulus for the workshop will be last year’s events related to the arrival of refugees to Europe and to the reactions of our society to this phenomenon. Alicja Borkowska, with the participants, will create a new "I remember" (Georges Perec), a tale about Paris, recalling memories, small events of everyday life we cannot find in history books, but ones which significantly formed the fabric of everyday life.

Workshop led by Christopher Hewitt (DE/UK)

Keep an Eye Out
Christopher Hewitt will present some of the site specific and public performance work that has been presented over the past few years as part of the New Performance Turku Festival as well as a small selection of video clips on the theme of observation and intervention in performance art. Second part of the workshop will be dedicated to practice: participants will make their own observations of the city environment as well as some micro-interventions.

Workshop led by Pascal Le Brun-Cordier (FR)

Careful together
The terrorist attacks have created a violent breaking in our relation to the public space, creating mistrust, where our relation to the other was based on a "presumption of trust". Benevolence and quietness have been replaced by febrility, anxiety, and suspicion. The order to be "Careful Together", founding jingle of the securitarian imaginary we are witnessing since already several years, has transformed into a terrifying "All paranoids". Then we have progressively find back more carefree behaviours. One has even witnessed a visible appetite for fraternity and solidarity demonstrations in the public space – even a form of ostentation of our ability to live together in the city, peacefully and fraternally. "Nuit debout" can be seen as a positive "Careful together", meaning: "let's pay attention to the community we constitute together". How does artistic creation in the public space take place in that movement? How can ethics and aesthetics be articulated? How to avoid the traps of soppiness? The discussion will start from the presentation of some projects. We'll have a look, between other things, at artistic approaches that take nature as a vector of urban common good.

Workshop led by Myriam Sahraoui and Elly Ludenhoff (MA/NL)

It starts with a ring a the door
Zina is a Dutch theatre company with artists from different cultural backgrounds and different disciplines. Its repertoire consists of stories from the lives of local people. Its stage is the streets were they live.
Once two people have seen each other... they can never not see each other. This kind of seeing brings permanent change, both in the one who sees and the one who is seen. With this gaze, from this perspective, you see the beauty of the stranger. Zina is committed to this inner motion, and in kind confrontation it is therefore prepared to step over obstacles in the Other and with itself. Time as well as this step towards the Other is the source of inspiration of our theatre projects. Myriam Sahraoui and Elly Ludenhoff, founders of Zina Platform, will talk about the work of Zina in different complex, challenging and beautiful neighbourhoods of European Cities.

Workshop led by Elvira Santamaria Torres (MX)

Urban art actions in dark times
Elvira's intention is to introduce symbolic and poetic forms of behaviour into public spaces in harmony with the flowing dynamics of a specific place, although paradoxically, the aim is to break the everyday life trance. Thus, she seeks to understand the organic collective memory that each individual embody in a particular way, through a free relational negotiation: free to be accepted, rejected, ignored, or deciding to get involved, participating, appropriating and/or transforming it. The participation of people is a sign of the emotional and cultural ties enabled by a symbolic action. Urban actions stimulate the individual memory of the passer-by. It allows the citizens to re-signify their experiences, activate fundamental values and recover their energy of living.
Together with the participants, Elvira Santamaria Torres will make a series of experiences, which could form a map of identities, symbols and signs of/for regeneration in order to find collective healing resources, mechanisms and processes for the individual in its wider diversity and plurality.


SIGNAL also features a program of artistic actions addressing and transforming momentarily the city's urban fabric.

Dictaphone Group (LB)

Stories of Refuge
Audio-visual Installation

Stories of Refuge tells the story of three Syrian refugees who fled the war in Syria and attempted to seek refuge in Munich, Germany. Each one of them was given a discreet camera and asked to film a day in their life in their refugee camp. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons.

Dictaphone Group is a research and performance collective that creates live art events based on multidisciplinary study of space. It is a collaborative project initiated by live artist Tania El Khoury and architect/urbanist Abir Saksouk. Together along with various collaborators such as performance artist and producer Petra Serhal, they have been creating site specific performances informed by research in a variety of places like a cable car, a fisherman’s boat, and a discontinued bus. The aim of these projects is to question our relationship to the city, and redefine its public space.

Zina (NL)

Beauty Verhalen Salon
Performance / Installation

Shall I tell you a story while I pamper you?

Wearing a blindfold to cut them off the outside world, visitors to the Beauty Verhalen Salon (Beauty Stories Salon) enjoy a hand massage while listening to a personal story from the life of an unidentified local person. The Beauty Verhalen Salon takes place at a table at which the audience come to sit.
  Zina (NL) is a theatre company of artists from different cultures and different disciplines. Its repertoire consists of stories from the lives of local people. Its stage is the streets where they live.

Habitants des images (BE)

Public Shooting Performance, vidéo

Six months after the attacks, our everyday lives have taken over again, though imperceptively changed by the events. Other news overtake old ones, with the impression that it is more numerous and omnipresent than before. Habitants des images dives into media archives of the last six months worldwide, and looks at events which have had a strong impact on public space. Momentarily but also on a longer time basis, for example when it comes to new behaviours from inhabitants, police and spatial organisation.

A team will shoot differents scenes in the City inviting the passers-by to become actors of reconstitutions. A replay to commemorate, to remind the societal stakes and the obsessive insanity of live. The final edit of the film will be projected in an outdoor location.

Project by Adèle Jacot and Mélanie Peduzzi, ASBL Habitants des images.
Habitants des images is an association based in Brussels, its sphere of action is the City and the Media. When art meets social or urban issues and put people to action: participants, inhabitants, institutions. Their artistic creation use different media always with a link to public space (streets, places, townhalls, networks etc...)

Dominique Roodthooft (BE)

Thinker's Corner

Referring to the Speaker's Corner in London, the "Thinker's Corner" is a living art and knowledge sharing experience in public space. Questioning our society through nowadays or older thoughts, always innovative, it revisits our common beliefs. In this "Thinker's Corner", actors equipped with earphones and a microphone relay the words of thinkers and intellectuals from civil society, citizens of the world, poets, artists. The selected texts tackle different issues that feed fundamental principles: do not give up hope and build collectively a "better" without ignoring complexity. For SIGNAL, new texts will be proposed in accordance to its issues.

Dominique Roodhooft is both an actress, director and artistic director of Le Corridor, production and contemporary creation house for living arts in Liège.

Anne Thuot (BE)

Lydia Richardson - Europe à terre Performance

Considering the inhuman conditions that migrants are facing when arriving in Europe, Anne Thuot wants to create a new public action with her character Lydia Richardson: dressed up as a "grande bourgeoise", and with the complicity of the painter Saidou Ly, she questions the privileges of her identity  as a whole - white, educated, recently heir - in Europe which closes its borders everyday a little more.
Lydia Richardson will pose in public on the theme "the decline of Europe" in front of painters - famous or amateurs - who will produce her portraits. The collection of artworks will be exposed a few days later during Nuit Blanche, and will be sold. All benefits of the sale will be given to the association Globe Aroma who supports migrant, refugees or newly arrived artists.

More info on the blog of Lydia Richardson

Anne Thuot (BE) is a performer and theater director. She directed for Groupe Toc and collaborated with the groups Transquinquennal, Dito’Dito, youth theatre Bronks as well as choreographers Hans Van Den Broeck and Jérôme Bel. Recently she created "Wild" and "J’ai enduré vos discours et j’ai l’oreille en feu" co-written with Caroline Lamarche. She is associated artist of Centre Dramatique Wallonie Enfance et Jeunesse and professor at INSAS.

Sheila Ghelani (UK)

We picked you up, carried you like a feather, like a shell
Mobile performance

Within her work Sheila Ghelani is very interested in the practice of medicine and care. In Brussels she was drawn towards the Red Cross, learning that it was some of its workers who took care of victims after the recent attacks on the city. On considering the different kinds of support such organisations and people provide in times of need (physical, psychological and social), and inspired by the book on nursing "Tenderly, lift me" by Jeanne Bryner, Sheila imagined walks or moments in which passers-by are invited to be carried or carry others on a chair, palanquin or stretcher in the city… a chance to physically experience taking the weight of another, or sense the feeling of being held aloft, a symbolic act of care, made visible in public. The performance also gently nods towards the complex history of the Palanquin and Sedan Chair, which takes in the battlefield, colonialism, royalty and tourism.

Sheila Ghelani (UK) works in the field of performance, participatory event, installation and moving image. She enjoys the weight of words when spoken or held and finds multiples of objects and actions arranged in repetitious patterns very reassuring. She likes to cut things up, break things apart and mix things together. She is also very interested in the practice of medicine and care and the relationship between art and science with particular focus on hybridity.

Elvira Santamaria Torres (MX)

الكفاح من أجل السلام
(Striving for Peace - Lutte pour la paix) Mobile performance

Elvira Santamaria conceives a deambulatory action that goes from La Bourse to Molenbeek, an action pushed by the wind and the elements. A peace gesture offered as a differetn reference for a youth lacking positive models.

One of my biggest personal and artistic concerns has been to try to understand and work on one of the strongest and unavoidable aspect of human life: death. Beyond its existential dimension, I want to explore and understand the processes of mourning and the day after day, in which humans find themselves after a traumatic event, especially when this part of life has been perpetrated by human violence and lack of justice. Violent death denies all the struggles and votes of human kind for a civilise world and it’s an empty dark sign of our actual neoliberal societies, which deadly threatened the very meanings of human existence. Many individuals tend to internalize the shadow of denial of the existence in favor of societies that have the dimensions of human deformity. Only communities can empathize actively to promote the resistance of those surviving families of the victims and their own, thus nothing is irremediable. There will always be a sector of human kind that continue to invest efforts and creativity as well as risks to denounce the causes and mechanisms of violence and its perpetrators; others, providing signs, expressions and acts of empathy with their artistic creations in order to mitigate the ravages of completed cases and accompany the mourners and fellow citizens. The mission is to force a move towards fairer and less painful forms of existence and coexistence. The continuity of the survivors, traumatic memory and trembling certainties is all what remains after a murderous act; dark starting point and yet, very condition for a "regeneration process" which undoubtedly is active, creative and public.

Elvira Santamaria Torres was born in Mexico City (Mexico) in 1967. Since 1991, her performance art practice follows personal research on humanistic issues by means of many forms of action art (chamber performance, public interventions, processes, urban actions and Insitu installations). For her, action art is an existential practice of self-knowledge and humanistic engagement. Its poetics postulate self-creation through symbolic acts. These create important reference points in the evolution of the artist´s consciousness, but the un-symbolic act is the true dimension of the present.

Vincent Gérard (BE)

Continent VII
Installation and performance

A multimedia installation in which dystopia takes over utopia: a performer protects a shelter from an invisible ennemy. In this set up, Vincent Gérard gets away in a digital world and proposes a thinking on the stakes of cyber-spaces. Scenography is created by the movements of the performer and mixes reality, fiction and virtual.

Vincent Gérard (BE) is a set designer and a performer. His work questions reality or realities of a certain place through multimedia setups. His installations, generally ephemeral, show a troubled universe watched by an ever more threatening nature facing a society of Progress.

Ouistiti Glace (BE/FR)

Si tu vois un canard blanc, ce n'est pas toujours un signe (If you see a white duck, it's not always a sign/swan) Hidden camera, outdoor projection

"The mission we accepted was to make Molenbeek inhabitants laugh of their sulphurous reputation. Take your whoopee cushion to assist to the projection of the hidden cameras, jokes and other hoax made in the neighbourhood!"

Artist duo Ouistiti Glace will shoot hidden cameras in the neighbourhood around Square Saint-Jean Baptiste during September. For SIGNAL, there will be a projection of these hidden cameras on Square Saint Jean-Baptiste, passers-by are invited to watch it around a cup of tea.

Ouistiti Glace (FR/BE) is an unemployed comic duo who started on radio and has been flourishing through unexpected punches. In front of wickedness, stinginess, violence or even the ignominy of the worls, they brandish a green humour. Also cowards, they live of subsidies and aspire to social state benefits. Still, they are the queen of throwing peanuts.

Catherine Jourdan

Subjective geography Anderlecht

After the maps made in Saint-Gilles and in the City of Brussels, Catherine Jourdan will lead a workshop with inhabitants and workers of Anderlecht.