THE PORTERS

Copyright artist(s) and courtesy ARGOS

Artist(s)

Year

2022

Duration

00:31:00

Original format

DIGITAL FILE

Color

col. and b&w

Color system

Availability

Distribution
Collection

An elephant's bone to stir in the food, a feather to catch winged termites at night, eight butterflies, a rope made from fragrant roots, 150 metres of exposed but not yet developed film destined for the Ministry of Colonies... In THE PORTERS, young people in Brussels, with many different backgrounds and horizons, sit together on benches in parks. On their phones they watch the oldest preserved film footage of the Congo: silent documentary images shot by a Belgian military attaché, Armand Hutereau, during a colonial expedition in the northeast of Congo between 1911 and 1913. The aim of the trip was to collect as many objects as possible for the new Congo Museum in Tervuren (Belgium). The word collect is a typical colonial euphemism and in the French-speaking discourse of the time even the word “récolter“ is used, to harvest. In THE PORTERS, groups of Brussels youth play a game based on the objects that were brought to Belgium, they listen to the songs of the porters, the countless anonymous men who carried the more than 8,000 objects on their bare shoulders. From the heart of Brussels' parks, the kinds palm the spoils.