Elke Krasny and Daria Bocharnikova invite the group Ecologies of Care for two days of encounters and slow learning at the Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels. On the occasion of International Labour Day, we would like to explore a series of questions together: How does the park remember those who planted the trees? How does the park remember those who cut the grass? How does the park remember those who paved the walkways? How does the park remember those who laid the water pipes and installed the electricity? How is labour being remembered in public spaces and celebrated by diverse institutions and communities? How is labour honoured in the ecologies of public space, in particular public and open green spaces?

Labour is needed everywhere, yet this same labour is strangely absent from public memory. The relationship between public labour and public memory is fragile. Public labour is so very naturalized that it is silenced and made invisible. Furthermore, the ways in which natural environments and infrastructures depend on the labours of care, maintenance, and repair are made to be forgotten. We use the occasion of May Day, celebrated as International Labor Day, to make the natural and infrastructural environment of the park speak of the labours required to ensure their continued existence. We will walk, meditate, talk, and read aloud to imagine the immensity of public labour that has kept the 300.000 square meters of the park, a former military exercise ground, alive since 1880.

May 1 – Public Encounters

10.00 – Welcome and a walk by Daria Bocharnikova and Elke Krasny at Pavillion of Human Passions

11. 00 – Việt Võ Đạo Qi Gong and Kung Fu workshop by Joulia Strauss

12.00 – Lunch break

12.30 – Reading of excerpts from It Rains Differently co-written by Dušica Dražić, Tanja Šljivar and Mirjana Dragosavljević, and a conversation between Dušica Dražić and Urška Jurman

14.00 – Si et No: performance for/with Cinquantenaire – a conversation between Raphaela Crispino and Gabi Sardi

15.00 Poetic collective law draft writing: Environmental Personhood for the Cinquantenaire under the guidance of Joulia Strauss

May 2 – Internal working meeting

The meeting was organized as part of the public programme of the Horizon 50/200, a new organization under the coordination of Thomas Dermine – the State Secretary for Economic Recovery and Strategic Investment, in charge of Science Policy – and led by Paul Dujardin with the aim of reimagining the Cinquantenaire Park and transforming it into an inclusive cultural site.