Dear reader, Please allow me two introductory remarks before going any further. This project, carried out with André Cepeda, is the result of our time as artists-in-residence at Contretype in Brussels. As you can imagine, speaking on behalf of both of us is not easy, especially because we began work on the project back in April 2011. When we decided to do a project about the canal, we were faced with a reality so complex and rich in terms of possible representations that we felt that our hesitations, back-tracking and the decisions we took as we went along were part of a context that was itself elusive and fluid. You should be aware that these continual difficulties gave a structure to the results of the project that form this exhibition. At first, we intended to cover the entire length of the canal in Brussels. We started at Verbrande-Brug, to the north of the city, a sort of mythical place that no longer exists as we found it. We came across people living in boats on the canal; we met Little Jimmy, a man from the golden age of rock’n’roll and spoke with someone who introduced himself as “the last captain of the harbour”. Progress has come to their doorstep, and soon all those who live in boats will be forced to leave. “There is no place for us anymore, no place for dreaming, for poetry”, one of them explained.We spent some time in the scrap car-dealers’ neighbourhood, where things that were invisible were hinted at, and we went to the North Sea. Further south, we drove to Charleroi while listening to the raw, melodic guitars of Neil Young and Earth, and then wandered aimlessly around the city for a while.This experience reminded us of another trip we’d done together along the Mississippi in the Deep South of the United States; it reminded us of the presence of music in the landscape, places and people. A strange feeling took hold of us: somehow some places in Belgium resemble the United States... As they say there, the canal is an invisible boundary that crosses and divides the city of Brussels. It is an extraordinary place of change and experimentation in which the atmosphere and landscape metamorphose into strata of a matrix of indecipherable meaning. Even before I went there, I had already imagined a landscape built and manipulated by many layers of information. At the very moment I am writing these words, huge changes are taking place all across it, producing an energy matrix that will completely change it. The landscape is doubly artificial, where demolition, reconstruction and environmental redevelopment will create a cold, pragmatically modern landscape, with an energy that will be impossible to ignore. In a way, we had created our own expectations, ideas and visions about this landscape, and we were anxious to simply experience the passing of time in such a huge structure: the movement, speed, rhythm and repetition that it generated- all things that are increasingly distancing us from nature. With time, the first images appeared. One of André’s photographs attracted my attention and I can even say that it changed the direction of our project. The image is of an open book on a wooden table. Observing it closely, we see that what is printed on the pages is a map, and looking even closer, we see that it is a map of the city of Brussels. In the lower part of the image, we feel the texture of the floor. Also on the table we see an empty coffee cup and, in the upper left-hand corner, another book, probably an encyclopaedia. Although the image depicts concrete objects, its inherent degree of abstraction was to us raw evidence that what certain images conceal about themselves is often more significant than what we think we can see on the surface. We know that this project misses out countless things that we did not notice, were not aware of, or that we simply ignored. But, as in life, looking the other way may have led us to focus on, and intensify, what is important. Therefore, in this exhibition we have imagined a place where images and objects, sound, video and performance, become a narrative of time that enhance our expectations. Eduardo Matos, Bruxelas 2011 translation: Rui Parada