“What is this place?” This is the question Daniele and Rebecca have had to answer several times a day since August. Passers-by notice this new storefront on Rue Longue-Vie, with the beautiful flower on the door. Is it a new café-restaurant? A clubhouse? A meeting place? An exhibition hall? “It’s a bit of all of these things at the same time,” say the coordinators of the place. “It is a temporary occupation by the Medex museum, the Ephemeral Museum of Exile, to host some of its many activities.
Created in 2014, the Medex museum develops artistic and socio-cultural projects around the themes of exile, migration and multiculturalism. Initially without a fixed location, Medex had settled for some time at SEE U, but had to look for a new location due to the rehabilitation of the site.
“We wanted to stay in Ixelles, and we chose Matongé because of the cultural and social diversity that exists there. Being in the heart of this neighbourhood allows us to create encounters between very different people,” says Daniele Manno.
The place was made available to them by the citizen platform of support for refugees for a period of six months, which will certainly be extended. The Medex team and more than seventy volunteers, three quarters of whom are local residents, transformed this former carwash into a warm and welcoming cultural space in a month and a half. It now has a kitchen with a bar, a lounge area, a shop window that lets in light, a beautiful space at the back for organising exhibitions and various events, and all of this with careful decoration. All materials are recycled, the bar is entirely handmade: an example of collaborative and circular renovation.
Co-creation is at the heart of the Medex museum’s approach. The team has forged links with neighbours by using the Hoplr application and by organising open meetings. These meetings have already resulted in several evenings with exhibition visits, concerts and buffets all in theme of one country. Neighbourhood aperitifs are also organised regularly on the third Thursday of each month. Depending on the projects, the team would like to collaborate with other cultural places in the neighbourhood, such as Pépites Blues, the Atelier Ton Piquant and the Nijinski bookshop.
The Medex museum is also continuing its touring projects, with the Parle-moi Bruxelles exhibition, which deals with the linguistic diversity of Brussels through graphic representations of idiomatic expressions linked to the human body. Created in Ixelles during the summer of 2020, the participatory exhibition will return to the municipality in November in the exhibition space of KULT XL Ateliers.
The ‘Carwash’ on Rue Longue-Vie is a great opportunity for the organisation to continue its co-creative projects. So come and visit this new place, you will always be welcomed.