We are happy to share some sequences from the latest Bruzz magazine where one of the Brussels’ enfant terrible Andri Søren Haflidason explained how he sees his adopted city and how Brussels inspires his work & projects. Andri was kind to provide us with his translation of the Bruzz article. Dutch speakers can benefit from reading the original story on Bruzz website or grabbing a copy on one of the many locations & stands in the city.
“I came here thanks to my Belgian girlfriend, who I met in Sweden. We chose Brussels as our home. After 18 months we split up, but you could say that what finally happened was that I fell in love with the city itself.
Love at first sight was not how I would describe Brussels – it doesn’t try to please you from the get go. You have to invest in it yourself, and go looking for things.
After a difficult start, I didn’t want to get lost in negative energy, so I took my camera and for 25 days walked around the city, with no particular plan, looking to discover the beautiful and the absurd. I took photos of everything, of very poor people, expensive villas. There’s beauty to be found in everyone and everything, it just depends on how you look at them.
It’s precisely the variety that interested me, Brussels is for sure the capital of contrasts. In the process I’ve built up an enormous photographic archive of the city, called “Brussels Breathes”. How many photos there are, I’m not sure, perhaps 300,000. I’ve never counted them properly. I’ve made postcards from a few of them, which can be bought on my website (http://andri.haflidason.com) After a few small exhibitions, including in my own apartment, I’d like to give them broader exposure, to share this fascination with the city. Moreover I feel that – aside from the stereotypical images – there are few beautiful images of the city. Then again maybe that’s a good thing, perhaps we should keep the city as a hidden pearl, and save it from the hype that Berlin and London suffer from.
Aside from photography, music has always been very present in my life, thanks to my cellist-composer father and my pianist mother. From the age of 5 I studied music, but I discovered that playing existing music wasn’t really my thing. I remember one Summer in Iceland when I discovered synthesizers. A whole new world opened up for me; I was made for making music with computers, and have spent the years since doing just that, performing at Bozar, Fuse, and MIMA, amongst others.
Four years ago, after I’d said farewell to my career in architecture, I finally found time for these two passions. It was as if I had had to keep them to the side for years, and they came back in through a back door. Two years ago I started a brand new music festival together with my friend Brice Deloose, called ”Brussels Electronic Marathon” (BEM), where we organise electronic concerts at very unusual places in the city. In the last edition we held concerts in the deepest corner of the Coudenberg catacombs. It was a magical experience, due to the combination of experimental sounds in an underground space that even many experienced Brussels residents don’t know. The festival is a very personal achievement because we’re celebrating both the city itself as well as our local electronic music scene. Equally important is the philosophy behind the festival: 65 other music collectives have carte blanche to do their thing at various locations, with the result that some previously concealed talent receives exposure and attention.
I’ve been living here for almost 10 years now, yet my passion for the city hasn’t shrunk, quite the contrary. By immersing myself in her history, I’ve love her even more. Some urban interventions have been so incredibly brutal, such as the Manhattan project in the North district, or the creation of the North-South connection that dragged on for nearly 50 years. Brussels sometimes feels like a characterful yet mistreated wee animal, one that has a lot of scars, and it’s precisely because of this that you want to embrace it even harder.”