After the Flood

The Return of the Swallows is one of the projects forming a foundation for my practice-based PHD research: Partisans of the Real: From Individual to Collective Creation. How Art can strengthen the individual and play a role in the Transition to a Socially Just, Sustainable Society.
In the multimedia project The Return of the Swallows (B-Brussels) we re-created a mini-society. Together with 30 ‘swallows’, immigrants and Belgians, we realized performances and films led by their dreams and desires. We proved that it is possible to work together on an art project determined by a group of people with different social backgrounds and living in a socially deprived neighborhood in Brussels. This process can be very empowering, enabling a group or community to take action to solve their own problems, and also to communicate their needs and ideas to decision-makers and/or other groups and communities.

After the Flood consists of numerous pieces of theatre and recitation, with exclusively texts by Arthur Rimbaud. In the process of The Return of the Swallows this is the first time 'the Swallows' leave their neighborhood to act in the cultural centre of Strombeek-Bever. The decor bathes in only three colors: red, black and white, the favorite colors of Dietvorst and Rimbaud. Every swallow had the same exposure time.

After the Flood, 2002, 00:60:00, color, sound, digital file. A film by Els Dietvorst and the Swallows.
Photocredits: Orla Barry.