La Fiera, a photo essay about la Foire du Midi

“The Heterotopia begins to function fully when people find themselves in a sort of absolute break with their traditional time” (Michel Foucault “Des espaces autres. Une conférence inédite de Michel Foucault”, 1984)

Summer is a very much expected parenthesis in our humdrum daily life. During the timespan of summer holidays people assume conducts out of their ordinary life. During the summer Brussels becomes especially vibrant, as its population is in sudden need for entertainment to fulfill the long attended summer expectations. Throughout this period, the city changes and new places emerge, fun places for masses. Every year since the late XIX century, the “Foire du Midi”   emerges over the –only cars- territory of the Boulevard du Midi, transforming the urban landscape of Southern Brussels into a summer holidays psychedelic dreamland.

La Foire du Midi is a place primarily built to provide unlimited fun. With its colorful structures and exciting attractions, the architecture-for-fun configures seasonal urban landscapes, all inheriting the aesthetics of the mythic Luna Park (built in Coney Island at around the same period as the first Foire du Midi).  The dense mix of visual stimulation concentrates collective desires of pleasure and entertainment without the need to force a clear linear narrative. Their ephemeral nature and the excess of overlapping codes blur the eventual references with the place in which they are installed. In fairs, place identity disappears making them decontextualized, generic and universal.

Under such a particular atmosphere it is interesting and surprising to encounter situations that otherwise wouldn’t be found in the traditional city. While sugar-fueled fun pushes the boundaries of pure joy into other contrasted emotions, certain codes of conduct are collectively accepted. If we think about a fair as a laughing-mirror-reflection of our urban nature – slightly distorted and essentially funny- what can fairs tell us about the spirit of the time we live in?

The photo series “La Fiera” was taken by Brussels based Venezuelan Photographer Dani Oshi during his daily visits to the Foire du Midi in the summers of 2015 and 2016, detaching himself from the frenzy of the occasional visit and making the Foire du Midi part of his daily life.

 

La Fiera

La Fiera

La Fiera

La Fiera

La Fiera

La Fiera

La Fiera

La Fiera

La Fiera

La Fiera

La Fiera

La Fiera

La Fiera

La Fiera

La Fiera

La Fiera

 

La Fiera

La Fiera

“Luna Park suffers from the self-defeating laws that govern entertainment: it can only skirt the surface of the myth, only hint at the anxieties accumulated in the collective unconscious” (Rem Koolhaas “Delirious New York”, 1978)

(Text: Diego Luna Quintanilla // photos: Dani Oshi)