Practical Programme
Jun 2024 14h00
on registration
La Bellone
Rue de Flandre 46 - 1000 Bruxelles

A series of collective book readings focusing on performing art in public space.

Arpentages: performing art in public space

At the initiative of a number of Constellations 2023 artists, Cifas lauches a series of collective book readings on live art in public space. One Saturday every two months, we will meet up, read and discuss books and our own experiences. Everyone is welcome!

Coming up: Arpentage #4

Couverture de Faire art comme on fait société, Les Nouveaux Commanditaires
Couverture de Faire art comme on fait société, Les Nouveaux Commanditaires

Faire art comme on fait société, Les Nouveaux Commanditaires

This book sets out to explore the links between art and democracy. How can artworks change society? How can citizens be involved in the creation of artworks? How can we understand the relationship between public or private intervention, the market and the spectator? These are just some of the questions that 47 contributions from a wide range of disciplines seek to answer, based both on historical case studies and on a general study of how things work today.

These reflections stem from the birth and development of a radically new mechanism called the Nouveaux Commanditaires. Since the 1990s, this has led to the emergence of an avant-garde art form that is democratic in essence, and whose productions are based first and foremost on the desires of citizens, not just artists. This book and the nine films that accompany it also describe the aims and some of the hundreds of projects that have already been created. A work of debate and a work of combat, it contains the seeds of a complete renewal of our cultural policy, in contrast to the prevailing fatalism.

Published by Les Presses du réel, 2013

848 pages

We will read a selection of chapters out of the 47 contributions

What is the method of the "arpentage"?

"Arpentage" or surveying consists in the experience of collectively confronting theoretical books that may seem inaccessible to us. A book is cut up into several parts, which we share amongst the group. After reading, we report back on what we have understood from our part, exchange our impressions and what we have taken away from it, and overcome our incomprehension together. This is a group reading method that originated in 19th century Italian workers' circles. Practised in militant circles, it is part of a popular education approach and aims to share knowledge collectively.

Pratical information

Date and time

08/06 at 14:00 (for 4 hours)


La Bellone, Rue de Flandre 46, 1000 Brussels



Open to all, on registration. Please write to to register.

Past: Arpentage #3

Immense Festival
Immense Festival

The next "arpentage", is a collaboration with the Syndicat des immenses. It is taking place in the context of their Immense Festival, which runs througout March and aims to raise awareness on homelessness and share the following message : The war against homelessness is too serious to leave “experts” in peace.

Immensité et stratégie, Le Syndicat des immenses & alii

Immensité et Stratégie, Le Syndicat des immenses & alii
Immensité et Stratégie, Le Syndicat des immenses & alii

On this occasion, we will read Immensité et stratégie, which comes out next month and whose back cover reads as follows:

Immense is the name, neither stigmatising nor reductive, of people who are inadequately housed or unhoused, previously called homeless, precarious, undocumented, etc.

Syndicat des immenses is the name of a very active union in the Brussels-Capital Region since 2019, representing the voice, struggles and political demands of the immense.

Université d'été des immenses (Summer Univeristy of the Immense) is the name given to the cross-fertilisation and mutual enrichment of the expertise of immenses and academics, workers and politicians, around a number of themes. Each Summer University is preceded and followed by a lengthy process of reflection, culminating in the publication of a book providing a provisional overview of the chosen themes.

"Immensité et Stratégie" is the title of the book published after the second Summer University, held on 18 December 2023 at UCLouvain Saint-Louis Brussels. As well as giving an account of the richness of the event and the debates and reflections that took place there, the book aims to include readers in the immense strategic work that has resulted in the 'politics of immensity'. Hence its subtitle: "The immense include you".

The 3 chosen themes are:
1. Humanimalism is essential
2. Ending injustice or inequality: what's the priority?
3. Inequalities, incuries and other trickeries of the State

"Immensité et Stratégie" is not just the proceedings of the conference that was the second Summer University, but a strategic toolbox with concepts rooted in the topicality of two joint wars: definitively socialising the problem of homelessness and irrevocably establishing in people's minds that it is not inevitable.

Past: Arpentage #2

 Les Morts à l'oeuvre, Vinciane Despret
Les Morts à l'oeuvre, Vinciane Despret

Les morts à l’oeuvre, Vinciane Despret

The dead can inspire the living to action, mobilising those who remain around issues that affect collective life, the erosion of social ties, events that are beyond their control or whose scale or violence could destroy them, annihilate what they hold dear. The dead can help the living to transform the world. In this book, Vinciane Despret tells us five stories in which the dead, near or far, have forced the living to give them a new place. These dead "insist" because there was something unjust in the fate that befell them: victims of violence, commandos in Africa and Provence, political sacrifices to the reason of the strongest... Those who remain have decided to respond to this insistence by commissioning a work through a political and artistic protocol known as the "New Sponsors programme". This protocol involves choosing an artist and deciding jointly on a work of art. It will radically change the way commissioners work. This has nothing to do with mourning in its authoritarian form (when psychological theories call for forgetting). It has to do with life, life that is no longer but still is in another way, life that resists being erased, and this "doing with" provokes an astonishing series of metamorphoses.

Author's biography

Vinciane Despret is a philosopher and researcher in the philosophy department at the University of Liège. She is the author of several seminal books on the animal question, including Bêtes et hommes (Gallimard, 2007) and Penser comme un rat (Quae, 2009). With Isabelle Stengers, she has also published _Les Faiseuses d'histoires. Que font les femmes à la pensée (La Découverte, 2011) and _Que diraient les animaux... si on leur posait les bonnes questions (Les Empêcheurs de penser en rond/La Découverte, 2012,2014).

Past: Arpentage #1

L'art en commun: Réinventer les formes du collectif en contexte démocratique, Estelle Zhong Mengual (2019)
L'art en commun: Réinventer les formes du collectif en contexte démocratique, Estelle Zhong Mengual (2019)

Estelle Zhong Mengual, L’art en commun: Réinventer les formes du collectif en contexte démocratique (2019)

L’art en commun is an investigation of the artistic and political issues surrounding participatory art since the 1990s. Estelle Zhong Mengual focuses on the democratic and neo-liberal context of Great Britain, and looks at artistic mechanisms that propose to 'create in common', in the social space and over a long period of time, and contribute to the reinvention of possible forms of the collective.

Examples include Jeremy Deller, who invites the former miners of Orgreave to take part in a costumed re-enactment of the 1984 English workers' riot, and Javier Téllez, who works with patients from the Tijuana psychiatric hospital to propel a man-cannon across the US-Mexican border.

The notion of "art in common" overturns our conception of art and our aesthetic categories. Above all, it grapples with questions of participation and community, which are among the most crucial issues at stake in current attempts to revitalise democracy and reconfigure the way we live.

L’art en commun: Réinventer les formes du collectif en contexte démocratique (2019), Les presses du réel

Author's biography

Estelle Zhong Mengual is an art historian based in France. Alongside her research on "art in common", she is interested in how we can extend our forms from the collective to the living, in the context of the ecological crisis. In particular, she is working on the constitution of an environmental history of art. She co-edited the book Reclaiming Art - Reshaping Democracy (2017) and is co-author of Esthétique de la rencontre (2018).