Bruges triennale

G.O.D.

Gap, Gift, Goal, Grandparent, Guardian, Guest, Group, Ground, Growth, Gratitude, Generosity, …
Offline, Occupation, Operation, Opinion, Opposition, Opportunity, Organization, Outdoors, …
Debate, Delight, Declaration, Democracy, Devotion, Dependency, Depth, Difference, Discovery, …

The Contemporary art and architecture Triennale Bruges invited Ruimteveldwerk (RVW) to take part in the 2018 edition under the theme Liquid City. For this project RVW selected Godshuis St-Trudo, named after the largely destroyed abbey, which was transformed into almshouses for poor elderly people and widows in 1808. Today St-Trudo is still inhabited by twelve elderly residents. Remnants of the picturesque interior garden dating back to the 15th and 16th century, like the Tudor gate and a part of the gallery, are still visible. Godshuisjes are a common form of social housing from the 14th century onwards. Small ‘whitewashed’ houses, usually grouped around an interior garden, were erected by rich citizens. Nowadays, these seniors’ residences are managed by the social services.

The historic city centre of Bruges is a tourist hotspot. Problems that go along with that don’t rise to the extreme levels of larger cities like Barcelona or Venice. Reports identify a strong correlation between resident support for tourism and being a proud citizen. Of course, in particular seasons and concerning particular groups of residents some issues may occur.

For the G.O.D.- project the target group consists of single elderly people who live on their own in Godshuis St-Trudo, which is located in the tourist area of the city. This age group is well-presented in the historic city. 28% of Bruges’ inhabitants are 60+ and during the last ten years the group of 80+ has been growing with 50%. Bruges appears to be functioning as a ‘care magnet’ and a historical tourist attraction at the same time. Youngsters have been leaving the city for years, with an isolation of the older population and pressure on the demographic diversity as a result.

On the one hand there is the isolation and the concern of loneliness of the ageing population, on the other hand there are the complicated temporary and anonymous contacts between residents and tourists. The idea is to investigate and monitor the relations and possible frictions between both groups intervening in the spatiality of the interior gardens. Today these picturesque gardens are the city’s havens of peace. People look for quietness far away from cities, most often in a natural environment where one can escape from the rush of city life. The interior gardens of the Godshuisjes provide a similar exceptional environment of rest and natural beauty in the heart of the city …

Discover more at the triennale from 5 May to 16 September 2018!