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David Van Reybrouck

To tie in with Filip van Dingenen’s RealWorld project Transzoo - Zoonation. Both study the analogies between cultural science and artistic approaches to their subject.
David Van Reybrouck has published in (among other things) ‘Ons Erfdeel’ and is the author of 'De Plaag': het stille knagen van schrijvers, termieten en Zuid-Afrika’ and 'Die Siel van die Mier'.
We tend to associate zoos with nature, animals and biology. But we forget that the zoo is usually an urban institution steeped in history and an important part of our cultural patrimony. The talk showed how the architecture of Western European zoos provides insight into the historical development of attitudes to man and beast. London Zoo’s Penguin Pool, one of the most famous zoo buildings in the world, was the starting point.

practical information
March 30th 2005
location: FLACC


Book launch, webproject, lectures and exhibition
Five years ago, Filip Van Dingenen (b. 1975, Diest) set up ZOONATION. What started as an exploration of the history and fate of the former Limburg Zoo in Genk (Belgium) grew into a large-scale artistic project. In 1967, the Wauters family founded the private zoo in the park of the residence of the former director of Zwartberg coal mine. It soon became a popular tourist attraction. In spite of the many efforts of the owners and their public-friendly approach, the initiative caused a great deal of controversy. After it was closed down in 1998, most of the animals had to move. The zoo grounds were redeveloped and the zoo disappeared for good in 2002. Over the past few years, the artist Filip Van Dingenen has travelled to zoos in Spain, Russia, Denmark, Taiwan, the US and South Africa. The former residents of Limburg Zoo, now in their new homes, could be said to make up a 'zoonation' . They are the only witnesses of this bizarre and almost incredible story of the former mine site in Genk. On his many travels, Van Dingenen observed and analysed the visual culture of the zoo from various historical, anthropological, typological and aesthetic angles. In collaboration with FLACC, he set up the web project a while ago. In autumn, as a companion to this virtual platform for multidisciplinary research, an eponymous publication, will appear, with the support of the cultural department of the city of Genk, in which the artist elucidates his total project. The book, designed by Luc Derycke, is a startling hybrid synthesis of a tourist guide for zoo visitors, a report of a cultural-historical expedition and a pseudo-scientific case study. On Open Monuments Day, Sunday 10 September, Filip Van Dingenen is giving two lectureson ZOONATION in the director's villa of the former Zwartberg Zoo. An exhibition of his work in Genk City Hall will run from 9 September to 14 October 2006. Sunday 10 September is also when Platform Limburg Beeldende Kunsten will launch the web project ZOONATION - MAKING OF on

Book launch
Thursday 7 September at 14:00, Director's villa - Zwartberg Zoo, Marcel Habetslaan 7, 3600 Genk
ZOONATION, 156 p., (200 × 157 mm), hard cover, Dutch and English
with an introduction by David Van Reybrouck,
published by MER. Paper Kunsthalle, Geldmunt 36, 9000 Gent,
copies can be ordered via
with the support of the cultural department of the city of Genk

Open Monuments Day
lecturesby Filip Van Dingenen
Sunday 10 September, at 14:00 & 16:00, Director's villa - Zwartberg Zoo, Marcel Habetslaan 7, 3600 Genk
in collaboration with the cultural department of the city of Genk

ZOONATION Exhibition
From 9 September until 14 October
Culture Department and Cultural Centre
Cultural Centre - City Hall, Dieplaan 2, 3600 Genk
Opening: 9 September at 19:00
Open during the opening hours of City Hall.

Filip Van Dingenen

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