ATELIER VAN LIESHOUT
7 September - 14 October, 2006
Slave City can be described as a sinister utopian project which is very rational, efficient and profitable (2,8 billion euro net profit per year).
Values, ethics, esthetics, moral, food, energy, economics, organization, management and market are turned upside-down, mixed and reformulated and designed into a town of 200.000 inhabitants.
Slave City is an up-to-date concentration camp made with the latest technology, and management insights. The inhabitants (which are called participants) work 7 hours a day on tele-services such as customers service, ITC, telemarketing, computer programming etc. etc. After that, they work 7 hours on the fields or workshop in order to keep slave city and its participants working. The efficiency of the participants is monitored accurately and appropriate measures are taken if it drops under a set level.
Slave City is the first ‘zero energy’ town of this size in the world and functions without imported mineral fuel or electricity. The energy needs of the slave city are covered by using biogas, solar and wind energy and bio-diesel Everything is majestically recycled, even the participants. No waste products are produced and the slave city is a green town which is not wasting the worlds resources.
Except the many necessary infrastructure and service buildings there is also sumptuous head office, safe and cosy village for the higher employees, education, health centre, brothel and art centre.
Atelier Van Lieshout (AVL) is a multidisciplinary company engaging in the production of art, design and architectural realisations both in Belgium and abroad. AVL was established in 1995 by Joep van Lieshout, who previously marketed his products under his own name. The pieces range from sculptures and sanitary units to mobile homes and entire buildings. One of AVL’s favourite materials and at the same time the company’s ‘trade card’ is the colourful polyester. Not only is this a practical and durable material, it is also very recognisable. In 2001 AVL was front page news with the free state it built in the Rotterdam port, named AVL-Ville. AVL-Ville had all conveniences needed in a self-supporting community: a power station and a water treatment plant, but also an arms factory and even a fold-up farm. This large-scale project is still considered one of the highlights in the work of AVL.
Recently AVL’s productions evolved in various directions. On the one hand there are realisations based on the absence of a clearly defined design, such as the large Sportopia unit, developed for the 2002 São Paulo Biennale. For this project AVL used industrial materials such as galvanised steel, scaffolding material and sheets of untreated wood. These projects contrast sharply with the recent, colourful series of human organs: Liver, Kidneys, Genitals and Digestive organs, enlarged to ten times their real size. Furthermore AVL recently produced a series of human figures, among which the so-calledMichelangelo’s.