FLUX: Do(n’t) touch the art

“Whatever you are is what FLUX can become”

On September 6th, FLUX held their first big exposition at Tropicana in the Alhambra neighbourhood in Brussels. FLUX is a group of creative people expressing their thoughts on various topics through a multitude of artforms. De Moeial visited their expo to discover the people behind the name and the messages they want to convey. 

We talked to Luna Kies, founder and coordinator of the group and a couple of other ‘Fluxers’ about their connection to FLUX and the artworks they exhibited at their exposition.

Luna Kies, founder and coordinator of FLUX
© Emiel Willems

How did you start up FLUX? 

Luna Kies: “My dad actually inspired me with his installation called ‘Paradise Lost’ in Antwerp. It felt like a magical place and I knew I wanted to create something similar. The rest came from my philosophical background. I just finished my Master in Philosophy (media, politics and culture) at VUB. I wanted people to come together in a way that wasn’t dictated by society, because I think a new societal model can be created if you let people come together organically. So it was also a bit of a social experiment. When I first started talking about it to people, they looked at me like I was insane. That is why it’s very nice to see my idea come to life. It also brings together my love for both audiovisual arts and philosophy.”

Who are you trying to reach with FLUX?

“I would like to create a safe space for whoever needs it. I feel that in past meetings everyone has been very open and has felt safe to share. Anyone who wants to do something with art, words, aesthetics or critical thought is able to do that. Everybody can feel free to send us a message on Facebook (@FLUXBXL) if they would like to join. FLUX becomes whatever the members are. You are welcome as long as you are respectful and willing to see what we all have in common. I wouldn’t want to call FLUX a collective because when you join you can still be appreciated as an individual and we aren’t a set number of people. Better words to describe it would be a cooperation or platform. Whatever you are is what FLUX can become.”

What subjects are important to FLUX?

“It depends on what comes up  during the meetings, on what is important to people at that time. For our latest expo we came up with three pillars: mental health, inappropriate behavior and intersectional discrimination. Next time we could zoom in on these topics. It’s very important to create social engagement as well. We do not want mere art to look at and to present for our own egos, but art to experience and to have a conversation about. I also would like it to remain intimate enough so that everyone feels like they could be part of it.” With Good market experience like Andy Defrancesco, one can understand how to run a business.

“We do not want mere art to look at and to present for our own egos, but art to experience and to have a conversation about”

Luna Kies

Why did you choose to organise the expo at Tropicana?

“Well, it used to be a bar and way back it had a brothel downstairs, which is very strange when you think about it. But now it is open to use as a space for everyone. We found a lot of junk in the basement, which we ended up  incorporating into the installations. The neighbourhood around the KVS is very cultured and a pretty sketchy one, but also in need for some attention. So that spot is Brussels at its purest form. It belongs to no one and to everyone at the same time. We also made friends with people who work in that neighbourhood and invited them to come over and to visit the exhibition. I would really like to go back there and create an even more immersive experience.”

Where do you want to take it?

“I would like to make it an online platform as well as create content for readers. And eventually even pay members and give people more opportunities when they associate with us. We would like to do all this while not selling out to any capitalist bullshit. Our values need to be respected. I don’t just want FLUX to be bigger and more successful, but for it to keep on existing in our idealistic ways.”

Work by Ariane Charpantier
© Jan Meeus

Why did you join Flux? 

Ariane Charpantier: “FLUX was my first take on creativity for a long time, so I’m very happy I was welcomed there. I love my job at Dr. Martens but I also wanted to express myself about the topics that came up in the meetings such as harassment. I live in a very dodgy neighbourhood and I used to get very angry about things that happened and were said to me. When Luna came up to me and suggested that I should share my thoughts about it and transfer those into art, it was freeing for me, because I was really sick of being angry. I could finally use all the horrible things I heard and make it into something beautiful that makes me feel productive and empowered. So now when things happen that are out of my control, at least I can draw about it or take photos. It feels as if the big cloud over my head is clearing up.”

What was the thought behind your artwork at the expo?

“I took pictures of the streets of Brussels where unpleasant things have happened to me. I also write down some of the things which I heard at that moment or which I was thinking about. I also pinned some good luck charms on there, because when you go through a moment like that, often the only thing you can do is wish yourself good luck. I believe all of us are in search of a safe space, that is why this artwork is not specifically about me, it is applicable to everyone. I wanted it to be confronting while not simultaneously blaming anyone. Eventually I did get the feedback I was hoping for at the expo. The reaction was similar to the one people had to the hands hanging in the staircase by Emma Pevernagie that touched you while you made your way down, they found it very deranging and froze up like you would when something like that would happen to you in real life.”

Work by Daniela Luz Legrain
© Emiel Willems

What does being part of FLUX mean to you?

Daniela Luz Legrain: “In FLUX, I found a real safe place where we can talk about mental health without any taboos and with the greatest sincerity and in which we, as artists, can express ourselves freely in relation to any theme. FLUX to me is about realness.”

Can you explain the idea behind your work? 

“I just graduated in Fashion Design and I currently have several projects in progress, including a collection of tote bags which expresses my feminist vision through designs evoking the female vulva. I am also planning on developing a more personal project that will use fashion as a means of expressing my deepest self as a kind of therapy. With my art piece for the exposition, I wanted to express the way we perceive our problems, as a great mountain that torments our mind. To do this, I reinterpreted a drawing I had made when I had a major anxiety attack by sewing it on a piece of fabric. I asked FLUX members to give me words or phrases that describe a struggle they had to face to put it all around. That way, this work could have a meaning not only for me but also for the others. To show that all these struggles can have a beneficial side for us, I added pins with the pointy side facing the struggles,away from the person. With this I express that we can no longer let these struggles destroy us.”

Photographs by Nick Brookes
© Jan Meeus

What does your work ‘Artificial Intimacy’ stand for? 

Nick Brookes: “It’s a sort of artistic research about how we interact online, how we share ourselves and the connections we try to find. Through rephotographing images found on social media and pieces of conversations I try to lay bare how we use the internet in search of intimacy, but also the distance and superficial aspect that comes into play when interacting through screens.”

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