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Horst. Festival, where the wild things are

Article author :

Julie Mouvet

In her spare time - while others waste days watching Netflix - Julie reads, writes articles, records podcasts, edits videos... A combination of discipline and passion that makes her the sworn enemy of any Sunday procrastinator! A few months ago, she met her dream partner to co-manage the kingkong media.

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From 5 to 7 may, Horst Arts & Music Festival is set to take place in Asiat Park, Vilvoorde. An immersive three-day experience which blends arts, architecture & music.

The Horst Arts & Music Festival seems to be a paradise for the curious. The event mixes dance (in the 2023 line-up, some local DJ’s and producers, like Lefto, Fais le Beau, Alia, Aroh, but also foreign artists, like Job Jobse, KI/KI, Jennifer Loveless and Donato Dozzy), arts and architecture in a kind and safe atmosphere for its audience. Immersive experience, Horst is much more than a festival. Each year, different artist collectives are invited to curate performances while interior and exterior designers and architects showcase their creativity and skills by creating unique stages, dance floors and communal spaces, often in the spirit of reclamation.

©Facebook – Festival Horst

Horst represents an immersive three-day symbiosis of autonomous art, inventive architecture and electronic music. From May 5 to 7, festival-goers will be able to discover the exhibition, which will then run from May 18 to July 30. Its name: “Where the wild things are”. It highlights and celebrates those energies that we don’t usually see reflected in the elegant renderings of so-called “cities of tomorrow”. An ode to DIY, to the unregulated but essential forms of community life, creativity, disobedience, disruption, to those who operate outside the calibrated ways of the over-consumption society.

This year, the event wanted to propose an artistic program in harmony with its ecosystem. The aim is that the artistic interventions go beyond the temporality of the exhibition format. The participating artists become protagonists. They work closely with Horst to develop site-specific commissions that exploit its future potential. This year’s event pays tribute to the people who define urban spaces, who make cities livable and alive; the residents, temporary visitors and communities often ignored by city councils, project developers and planners.

kingkong’s favourites

Among the artists present, kingkong has three favorites. Farah Al Qasimi (United Arab Emirates) does photography, video and music. She is interested in the internet and its hierarchy of information and emotion, and often works with large-scale vinyl imagery and a multiplicity of photographic prints and screens.

©Farah Al Quasimi

Founded by Stephen and David Dewaele (Soulwax, 2manydjs), DEEWEE is a building, a studio, a label, a record collection and a publishing house. Since 2015, DEEWEE has released music from Soulwax, Charlotte Adigéry, Boris Pupul, Asa Moto, James Righton and many others, through a discography of 70 releases. All different, all unique.

Finally, Elisa Giardina Papa’s (Italy) research-based practice investigates the performance of gender, sexuality and labor in digital AI economies. Large-scale video installations, drawings, sculptures, theoretical texts, designs… she documents how past and present forms of capitalism have extracted our labor capacities from life, especially in the field of health and safety.

©Elisa Giardina Papa – U Scantu

An international reputation

Founded in 2014 by a few enthusiasts, Horst has quickly created its reputation abroad. How? By the very principle of its assembly. The event’s programmers commission works from artists and commission architecture firms to design its stages. And in a second step, all the people who wish to help with the assembly can send their application via the website of the event. This year, 90 of them were selected, all with an artistic background. In exchange for their work, they receive a pass to the festival, meals and a place to stay. Back in their respective countries, they naturally talk about the experience, becoming ambassadors of the festival.

©Annika Wallis

Since Horst landed on the “Asiat” military base in 2019, the site has transformed from a raw, undefined setting to a new urban neighborhood. Asiat Park currently hosts various organizations (focused on culture, recreation and community work) to build, create and imagine together, becoming an indispensable lung for well-being, creativity and community in Vilvoorde and, by extension, Brussels.

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