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    International call for residency at Les Orangeries de Bierbais, Belgium - Laboratory for Radical Peace

    International Call for "Allies Without Borders"

    August, 08 2022



    In partnership with Orangieries de Bierbais/Fondation La Nacelle, PhD in One Night collective and their Laboratory for Radical Peace are launching a call for residency, a call for allies.


    On September 29th 2022, the anniversary of Les Orangeries de Bierbais, we will inaugurate the Collective Garden of Knowledge in the presence of French philosopher Jacques Rancière, whose ideas of “unlearning”, “unexplanation”, “distributions / sharing of the sensible”, “ignorant schoolmaster” , “method of equality” and many others fostered enormously our activities.


    This call, meant to be forwarded and relayed, is directed to people everywhere, nowhere and nowHere, people who, in the fields of art and knowledge, wants to experiment with radical peace and forge the seeds for a future world in which inequality and war – all war, from the most to the least visible – are rendered impossible via the enactment of radical equality inspired by ignorant schoolmaster Jacques Rancière.


    We aim to welcome proposals, projects and experiments which enlarge and nurture our ideas in five different points and to host artists-researchers-experimentators who may also work on their own projects, combining it daily with some chosen works among the following ones :


    Work and research on the social heritage / archives of Paul van der Belen, pioneer in constructing bridges between people from South and North, East and West, rising awareness especially among young people about the necessity of acting/thinking with a perception of humanity without borders;

    Archive and research work about the mystery of the disparition of the Bierbais greenhouses, thought to have happened between 1850 and 1880 (apparently destroyed, despite of the monumental and the pioneer character of this patrimonial value);

    Work on the "Serge Pahaut" Book Fund, consisting in the book collection and archives of the Belgian meloman, mythologist, anthropologist and socio-linguist, disciple of Claude Levi Strauss, who spent his life at ULB (Free University of Brussels) in the circle of Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1977) and with whom he developed various projects linking art and science, as well as science and nature.

    Work in the conceptual garden, “Collective Garden of Knowledge”, related to the Thesis for sensible intelligence, which will be translated and sown into the garden and inaugurated on 29th of September during the Polyphonic day with Jacques Rancière at Les Orangeries de Bierbais.


    All the conceptual issues will be combined with daily :
    Work in the physical garden started by the Zapatist and the Kurdish delegations, reconfigurating and expanding it on the basis of permaculture.


    We are open to receive propositions for short stays (7-10 days minimum) at Bierbais from 1st of August to the 1st of October 2022. All further details about the residency program and organisation will be communicated upon application.


    Please send your application / short motivation letter at the mail address : phdinonenight [at] gmail . com

    Coordinated by : Ivana Momcilovic, Martin van der Belen and Jakic Ljubomir

    Address: 2 rue de Bierbais, 1435 Mont-St-Guibert, Belgium, 5 km from the unique student’s city of Louvain-la-Neuve (easy bus / bicycle) connection

    Ivana: +32 48 5167913
    Martin: +32 48 8864255
    Jaki: +32 47 8585216


    Nature and Humans as sensible and solidary allies
    (in preparation for meeting with Jacques Rancière at Laboratory for Radical Peace on September 29th 2022, marking the anniversary of the historical winter garden founded in 1828 in Bierbais)


    “The young people should be like Paul van der Belen”, mysteriously said King Baudouin of Belgium in April 1961 about a young aristocrat whose shocking ideas about equality and emancipation were considered as “dangerous” in a time when the questioning of privileges, the redistribution of material conditions and the reconfiguration of ways of life were not on the agenda. If King Baudoin said it, he did so precipitated by the unstoppable wind of decolonization blowing over the Kingdom. The same wind was present in Paul’s ideas – which included sharing his family’s properties with South American landless peasants, with whom he developed an intensive work in the 60's, during the time he edited a bilingual newspaper Quechua-Spanish in Ecuador - "Jatari Campesino" (Wake up, Peasant) –, consequently leading to his exclusion of the family's inheritance.

    But indignation in the face of injustice and the tireless effort for liberation belong to no one, as they are rather shared by everyone who is able to answer to the alert call that is set off when life is confronted with imminent danger. It makes them present in many struggles over the times.

    Almost 60 years later at the family domain that Paul van der Belen had to leave by the family decision, his sons Martin and Jean-Cédric van der Belen ( Fondation la Nacelle, led by Martin van der Belen, with the support of his brother Jean-Cédric) want to host researchers and artists from everywhere, related to the idea of Laboratory for Radical Peace proposed by International collective PhD in One Night, for aesthetic and conceptual experimentation of all, comprised of people coming from nowhere/nowHere (Yugoslavia, Brazil, Finland, Madagascar and many other places).

    Laboratory for Radical Peace is based at Les Orangeries de Bierbais, the historical place where, in 1828, the first tropical botanic garden in Belgium was constructed, hosting exotic species taken from their original habitats by colonizers in huge heated greenhouses, located in the park where Paul van der Belen wanted to host south american landless peasants in 60’s.

    In 1844, a specimen of Huntleya violacea (originated from Ghana), planted by amateur botanist and connaisseur De Man de Lennick, flourished in a greenhouse in Bierbais. In the same year, the Annals of the Royal Society of Agriculture and Botany of Ghent published their first number (1844), in which they mention the flowering of rare orchids in Bierbais, a collection so beautiful as to “make jealous the Dukes of England”.

    The Greenhouse and Botanical Garden in Bierbais (1828) – which in 1972 received modernist-brutalist architectural interventions by Carlier – now start to flourish again, receiving artists, researchers and experimentators. Botanical Garden Bierbais (Les Orangeries) was conceived by the famous 19th century German landscape architect Charles Henri Petersen, who also designed, a year later, the Botanical Garden in Brussels (1829), better known as Le Botanique. Petersen stayed in Bierbais in permanent residency for 30 years, until his death.

    The historical greenhouses disappeared mysteriously between 1850 and 1880, and the mystery of its disappearance still fuels imagination, demanding to be revealed and elaborated through either research, investigation, fantasy or fiction.

    In 2021/ 2022 Les Orangeries de Bierbais hosted a delegation of Zapatista self-managed peasants and friends from the temporarily free Kurdish territories, sharing actual practices of emancipation and planting new seeds for the Laboratory for Radical Peace.


    Precisely on November the 1st 2021, a Zapatista delegation arrived and symbolically planted, on the Death's Day, spelt wheat – or, as they call it themselves, seeds of Future. They sang over Paul’s tomb and took part in a virtual meeting between Zapatista, Yugoslav and Black Universities (USA), Guerilla University and other friends and collaborators.


    On May 1st 2022 the Laboratory for Radical Peace was inaugurated in Bierbais, a space for everyone who feels the urgent need to fight the manyfold absurdities of our world, in a critical, aesthetic, collaborative, self-managed and permacultural environment within the frame of the collectives PhD in One Night, Guerilla University and Foundation La Nacelle/ Orangeries de Bierbais. On that day, by invitation of PhD In One Night / Laboratory for Radical peace, a Kurdish delegation, now in collaboration with the collective Guerilla University, planted an olive tree in Bierbais, marking another step in its permanent process of decolonization – a continuous reconfiguration of the relationship between humans themselves and between humans and nature, aiming to end all forms of exploitation and inequality while nurturing and respecting difference and diversity.


    The Orangerie, built to host colonial booty, now hosts emblematic plants offered as a sign of friendship and alliance between self-liberated peoples and former colonisers, marking a crucial moment where knowledge circulates and the world strives to distance itself from the spirit of colonisation, in a joint and endless effort to abolish the false hierarchies between human beings and between humans and nature. This reconfiguration of Bierbais’ space, aiming to become a fertile ground for a collective garden, was already announced in Paul van der Belen’s strives, manifestations of a single life force that animates all living beings and comes in many forms.

    This belongs to everyone and noOne.