HOTEL CHARLEROI was a research project initiated by Adrien Tirtiaux (BE), Antoine Turillon (FR) and Hannes Zebedin (AT) in 2009. 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), did not fit at all with its relatively small scale (pop. 400 000). In fact, Charleroi offered 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 made it a very interesting investigation field for us, as it left everything open for a new generation of artists to position themselves on its modern -and postmodern- heritage.
From 2010 to 2014, HOTEL CHARLEROI realized together with more than 100 artists, annual projects in public spaces to question the definition of contemporary art in public spaces. We asked the residents to use the city as a studio and laboratory for research and artistic interventions, and asked them to question the meaning of intervening as a guest in a city in terms of contemporary art production. The physical location of HOTEL CHARLEROI changed every year, so did the local institutions with whom we collaborate and the topics on which we focused. We understood our non-institutional status as an advantage to create a dynamic platform, able to adapt itself to every occasion it encounters. Along those yearly projects HOTEL CHARLEROI has been regularly invited to work outside of Charleroi.