ONDER STROOM: GETTING ANTWERP’S CREATIVE JUICES FLOWING
A while ago we had the pleasure to attend to opening night of Onder Stroom. A collective of young creative entrepreneurs found a new destination for an abandoned building that used to be part of the harbour scene in Antwerp: a meeting place for artists and entrepreneurs. Or as they say it so beautifully themselves: “a powerhouse for creative souls”. Combining the heritage of the city with its promising creative future, now that’s what we call smart thinking. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for bringing the old and the new together.
WHO CAME UP WITH THIS THINGY?
The faces behind Onder Stroom can’t be placed into one single category. There’s a copywriter, graphic designers, an urban planner, web developers, a landscape architect, a documentary filmmaker, and many more. It is even hard to place each entrepreneur in one little box, take Atelier Scheldeman for example: an atelier that creates ‘practical, sculptural architecture’. They combine designing and constructing, which leads to constructions perfectly blending in with the environment. It may sound a bit abstract, but just take a look at their work and you’ll understand.
It is this that will be one of the driving forces of the creative space. By bringing people with different backgrounds together, the team behind Onder Stroom wants to inspire others and get inspired themselves. Because why couldn’t a web developer learn some valuable lessons from a landscape architect? This is one of the things that made all of the founding members join forces: the belief that bringing people with different backgrounds together will make Onder Stroom into a breeding ground for the “freshest plans and wildest ideas”.
Onder Stroom will be a place where everyone and anyone is welcome. There are no rigid structures, just a bunch of people putting their heads together, creating something they believe in and making the same possible for anyone else who with an idea.
BUT WHAT DO THEY DO?
The entrepreneurs use Onder Stroom as their office space, but as you probably already gathered it will be much more than an inspiring office for these creative minds. There are ateliers, co-workspaces, a bar and an event space. Everybody will be welcome in this creative hub. And most of all, everybody will be welcome to experiment and try new things in whatever field they’re interested in.
During the opening night, we already got a taste of what Onder Stroom will be offering the upcoming months (disclaimer: the list is long): workshops, talks, performances, parties, expo’s, art-performances, ping pong parties (those who remember King of Pong know the drill) and karaoke nights like you’ve never seen them before. One of the sneak previews we got was an algorave with Dago Sondervan. An algo-what? An Algorithmic rave. Dago, who earned his stripes as a jazz drummer and dj, gave us a little ‘class’ in how to make danceable music with code and ended with giving us a live coding show. This is considered a way to make creating electronic music available for everyone. We’re beginning to see a pattern in this all-inclusive thing.
Another mini event during the opening was a screening of one of the talks hosted by Dear Tech. Dear Tech, is an independent collective that thinks and makes other think about the impact that technology has on man and society. What does our digital future hold? Each month they host one of these screenings + talks at De Studio. Go and check out their website and read their manifesto, to find out what their all about.
And of course, there was a fully packed party. They even had to turn people away at the door, because the place was completely filled with enthusiastic people celebrating the opening. Based on the success of this first night at Onder Stroom, I think it’s safe to say they tapped into something the city was waiting for.
One thing is very clear when talking to the hosts as well as the guests at Onder Stroom: Inspired people inspire people. So, after I recovered from a tiny hangover on Saturday morning, I subscribed for the next Dear Tech talk at De Studio, about artificial intelligence and called all my friends to join me for Let’s push it up! a unique party with an all-female line-up playing music from all-female artists. Hope you were there as well, ‘cause it was amazing.
And just maaaybe we’re a little biased about this place and its future events, as the next edition of D.A.T.E. will be at Onder Stroom as well. Only good things coming if you ask us.
Text by Hanne Van Looveren
Pics by Onder Stroom