the wasp and the weather

a film by Robin Vanbesien
with Fatma Alomrani, Abdelhay Ben Abdellah, Marcus Bergner, Muhned Bnana, Mathieu Charles, M’Hamed El Ouali, Hooman, Samira Saleh and Mohamed Tawfiq

video, colour, 16:9, stereo & 5.1, Dutch, Amazigh, Arabic, English and Farsi spoken (EN st), BE, 2019, 19'


Rzoezie (Amazigh word for “wasp") is a former youth centre in Mechelen, Belgium. In 1978, Rzoezie was founded and organised by young people of Moroccan and Amazigh descent. Inspired by Paulo Freire’s 'Pedagogy of the Oppressed', the centre focused on self-pedagogy and self-organisation: ‘bottom-up’ and ‘from the inside’.

At the centre, the youngsters wrote poetry. In the wasp and the weather, some of the original authors (M’Hamed El Ouali, Abdelhay Ben Abdellah) and contemporary poets (Samira Saleh, Mathieu Charles, and Fatma Alomrani, Muhned Bnana, Hooman, Marcus Bergner and Mohamed Tawfiq of the Post Collective) revisit, recite and discuss these poems.

I asked them to read the poems wondering about how far their words preserved the activist history of the moment in which they were written and dedicated to (1990-2000). My wish was to test their resonance in today’s “weather”, to let these poems environ the social debts that remain upon us.

Numerous voices gauge the tone of the emotion in which the poems were begun – hesitating, repeating words and commenting them. As their verses subside, a certain thickness of images crops up, composing a landscape layered with past desires and current doubts.

'the wasp and the weather' (2019) is part of an ongoing study of the imaginary which holds together self-organized social practices (started with the film 'Under These Words (Solidarity Athens 2016)' 2017, 52’).

commissioned by Contour Biennale 9: “Coltan as Cotton”, curated by Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez
produced by timely
coproduced by Contour Biennale 9 and Spectre Productions
supported by Darna – Flemish Moroccan Culture House, BUDA Arts Centre Kortrijk, Arts in Society Award, Antwerp Research for the Arts, and Amsab-ISG

image caption: still images from 'the wasp and the weather' (2019)