HOTEL CHARLEROI is a research project initiated by Adrien Tirtiaux (BE), Antoine Turillon (FR) and Hannes Zebedin (AT) in 2009 through artist residencies and exhibitions in Charleroi. Located 60 km south from Brussels, Charleroi is a decaying industrial town with all associated symptoms – high unemployment rate, raising criminality, corruption affairs, etc. Its surrealistic urban landscape, reminiscences from an intense industrial past (slag heaps, steel factories) along with numerous irrational public infrastructures planned in the sixties (subway, ring road on viaduct), don’t fit at all with its relatively small scale (pop. 400 000). In fact, Charleroi offers a very condensed overview of how Modernity developed in Europe and which social and economical problems resulted from it. The city nearly didn’t change since 30 years, and this makes it a very interesting investigation field for us, as it leaves everything open for a new generation of artists to position itself on its modern -and postmodern- heritage.
We share our interest in the city by organising sleeping facilities in Charleroi and inviting other artists and professionals for informal residencies. We propose the residents to use the city as a studio or laboratory for research and artistic interventions, and ask them to question the meaning of going as a guest to a city in terms of contemporary art production. The physical location of HOTEL CHARLEROI changes every year, so do the local institutions with whom we collaborate and the topics on which we focus. We understand our non-institutional status as an advantage to create a dynamic platform, able to adapt itself to every occasion it encounters.