Tok Toc Knock in the Brussels EU Quarter

Reporter: Jackie Fletcher

Dateline: 23rd May, 2013

Tok Toc Knock in the Brussels EU Quarter

The Kunstenfestivaldesarts isn’t the only festival taking place in Brussels at the moment.

For the last three years, the Royal Flemish Theatre (KVS) has been offering a range of events in the Tok Toc Knock Festival centred on what is referred to as the EU District. There are 9 venues involved this year, theatres, government or community buildings, a piece of waste land cum community garden and a semi-derelict building. It sounds very promising.

The British theatre academic Baz Kershaw has written extensively about the importance of venue and space in the relationship between performance/art and spectator; the inclusion or exclusion of the individual. The (performing) arts in Brussels always offer a rich diversity of unusual spaces and locations as part of the experience. I’m always amazed at how much I continue to discover about Brussels through the arts.

While most of the Tok Toc Knock events are modest or small scale exhibitions, videos, walks, music and theatre performances, the impressive structure in the grounds of the National History Museum built by Jozef Wouters to house The Zoological Institute for Extinct Species is part of Tok Toc Knock as well as KFDA. I waxed lyrical about Wouters’s installation / performance in my KFDA part II feature. So, I decided to take an afternoon off to explore the Tok Toc Knock programme and the venues.

When I say the programming of Tok Toc Knock is ‘modest’, I mean local, because I suppose it’s difficult to regard something like the concert by Didier de Neck & Co / Calafronie as ‘small’ when it consists of a 30 musicians from St-Joost (an area of Brussels), a fusion of Oriental, Arabic and classical, Klezmer, opera, rap… well, that’s just what passes for local in cosmopolitan Brussels.

Unfortunately, I’ve already missed this concert. The festival continues until the end of May and some events will be continuing until mid-June, so I’ll manage to catch up with some events next week. This does, after all, look like a very promising festival in its own right. For the time being, I booked one ‘exhibition’ with KVS and decided to go walkabouts in the EU District to enjoy the architecture, the manifold surprises Brussels springs on pedestrians as well from a free Tok Toc Knock video.

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