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ARIA Research Seminar: Partisans of the real! It’s (about)TIME!

AN ARTIST SYMPOSIUM followed by a research class
given by Dirk Braeckman & Els Dietvorst

A continuation of the artist platform founded by both artists: Time is a book(is Time)/part 3.

This symposium is open to the public and will take place in the LANGE ZAAL in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp. There's no registration needed.

“It is the responsibility of artists to pay attention to the world, pleasant or otherwise, and to help us live respectfully in it. Artists do this by keeping their curiosity and moral sense alive, and by sharing with us their gift for metaphor. Often this means finding similarities between observable fact and inner experience, between birds in a vacant lot, say, and intuition worthy of Genesis. More than anything else, beauty is what distinguishes art. Beauty is never less than a mystery, but it has within it a promise. In this way, art encourage us to gratitude and engagement, and is of both personal and civic consequence.” (Robert Adams)

Today our society is facing unexpected, new challenges. Everything calls for change. Covid-19 gave us the challenge to re-see, re-think, re-do. And in a certain way re-connect. It opens up opportunities to stay locally, consume less and make efforts for ecological durability. Did we take this opportunity to finally make a difference? Artists can play an important role in that change. Creativity, beauty and engagement with the Other/our environment is a basic characteristic of the creative human being and can lay a humus for further development.

“The essence is humanitas, the shaping of people. Man is not the last resort, it is the only remedy.”(Jonathan Holslag)

Being an engaged citizen and an active artist in society is also one of the main subjects of Els Dietvorst's Phd research ‘Partisans of the real’. She is interested in how you move as an artist, how you take a position to relate to society.

What can the position of an artist be in this post C19 society? Which tools/skills do we need? How can we be more resilient? What can lead us to create, connect, and work collectively? Which are the necessary energizers or drivers? What can bring change?

With the platform Time is a book(is Time) Dirk Braeckman and Els Dietvorst are creating an artist platform that tackles those questions and creates an active, unifying artist movement for reflection, action and dialogue in an imperative response to the ecological and socio-economic challenges of our time.

All invited guests are sharing an experience with the public from their own artistic practice. They will how to expand your work and connect with each other. This through different ways and art forms.


Day 1 - 18.10

  • 14:00 - 15:00 - TIME IS A BOOK(IS TIME). Introduction by Els Dietvorst & Dirk Braeckman
    ‘Our decline is inescapable. But let’s at least give it the lustre of beauty.’
  • 15:30 - 16:30 - Els Dietvorst & Dirk Braeckman in conversation with Paul Verhaeghe

Day 2 - 19.10

  • 10:00 - 12:00  - Conversation with Dirk Braeckman and Jonathan Holslag
    What could artists offer to, and learn from, a broader interdisciplinary platform, one that finds itself on the sideline of art, where artists could meet with other socially engaged thinkers, designers & scientists?
  • 12:00 - Lunch

Day 3 - 20.10

  • 13:30 - 14:30 - Benjamin Verdonck and Els Dietvorst in conversation with Pascal Gielen
    ‘A conversation about working in-situ, intimacy, research, desire and the poetic power of art.’
  • 15:30 - 16:00 - Zoom conversation with Els Dietvorst and Kai Bredholt of Odin theatre/ International School of Theatre Anthropology
    ‘Bartering as part of your artpractice to start new connections’

Day 4 - 21.10

  • 09:30 - 10:45 - Presentation by Flor Maesen & artists of ‘The land of the confused’
    ‘The land of the confused is an artproject that proves that a fluid exercice in identity, authorship, medium, and form is a base for empowerment.’
  • 11:00 - 12:15 - Presentation by Alex Akuete on his artist collective X-Ray company
    ‘I have always enjoyed caring for young people and creating an atmosphere where they can coexist with one another while maintaining their unique identities. I can say that this served as a mobilization agent to start Xray Community.’

“The art practice of Els Dietvorst is deeply concerned with the critical balance between ecological urgency and harnessing story that can resonate beyond the local to rekindle the sense of a common artform and a primal interconnectedness.” Cherry Smith

This ARIA seminar & research class is a two-week event in De Lange Zaal organized by Els Dietvorst in the context of her PhD research 'Partisans of the Real’. The research class (from 25 till 29 October) will use work analyses and outcomes raised in the ARIA seminar. As a practice-based follow-up of the ARIA seminar, it is a test-case environment for preparing and laying the foundation of a permanent and continuing artist platform 'TIME IS A BOOK (IS TIME)'.