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Daniël Dewaele | 2015

Daniël Dewaele tackles the Triennial’s hypothetical question about what would happen if Bruges’ 5 million visitors should suddenly decide to stay with three projects. He interviews visitors about their hopes and dreams as potential residents of Bruges, asks about the aspects of their own cultures that they feel attached to and sends people on to the streets with badges that identify them as the 5 millionth resident of Bruges. Dewaele’s projects engender more questions than they do easy answers. Daniël Dewaele is fascinated by the relationship between art and society. During the Triennial, he examines the potential impact on the (future) residents of an historic city such as Bruges of a hypothetical population explosion. Dewaele is not a utopian who creates futuristic visions but a realist in the here and now. He asks questions. The Passage Room is an open container that is installed on the square in front of the train station, where large numbers of tourists and commuters pass every day. Inside the container, people are invited to fill out a questionnaire that asks them about their hopes and dreams as potential residents of Bruges. The questions are translated into nine other languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Dutch and Hindi. The video About Bruges and Other Places is shown in the station. In the film, people from diverse cultures whom Dewaele interviewed on the street give their response to his question: ‘If you lived here, what aspect of your own culture would you not wish to give up?’ Dewaele also distributes badges with the text ‘Help, I’m the 5.000.000th resident of Bruges’. These words are also translated into nine other languages, perhaps those of future residents of the historic city.





Daniël Dewaele
Daniël Dewaele (1950, Knokke, Belgium) lives and works in Bruges. His practice covers installations, performances, video, photography and more. The search for the meaning, value and social relevance of art is a constant theme in his work. In the 1970s, he began a series of works that use the word ‘art’ as though it was an institution that needed to defend its viewpoint. Words and languages fascinate him, especially abstract word pictures in an indecipherable language that can only be appreciated aesthetically. For decades now, Dewaele has been handing out cards at private views that say ‘You are my favourite work of art’. This statement is a comment on his perspective regarding art and his warm appreciation for human beings.

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