Brussels En Route
The purpose of the trip is the journey
My name is Bram Penninckx and I’m a photographer based in Brussels. My documentary work focusses on the different aspects of the city. Brussels En Route is my latest project and it's the cumulation of a year and a half long journey on Brussels’ public transport. During this period, I travelled with every bus, tram, and metro line at least once, from terminal to terminal.
The micro coincidental society found on a tram, bus, or metro is a reflection of society. The traveller Is a blanket term for a very heterogeneous group of people: wallflower and eccentric, fashionista and Muslima, early bird and night owl, helicopter parent and business woman, expat and local, man and woman, cis, trans, and nonbinary.
The ride is a journey through a cross-section of the city. The scenery is constantly changing, past neighbourhoods full of gaudy villas, grey blocks of apartment buildings, and stately manor houses. The traveller is treated to a mishmash of architectural styles and people, a ‘sight-seeing tour’ worthy of its name.
One spring morning in 2016, Brussels unwillingly became the focus of the world news. In the departure hall of the airport, and in the subway tunnel near Maelbeek station, three suicide terrorists set off their bombs, 32 people had their most important possession stripped away: their lives. While the scars will stay, Brussels is a resilient city. The next day, the metro cars rolled out again. But this dark day will always be etched into our collective memory.
A photobook was published and images from the project are exhibited at three different metro stations. Visitors, travellers, and random passers-by can view the images day-in, day-out on the walls of the Ribaucourt, Botanique, and Roodebeek stations. More information: https://www.enroute.brussels/
This journey nears its end, but I haven’t reached the terminal yet. The bustling
metropolis is constantly moving, sometimes in an aimless fashion. People can abhor this fickle dynamic. Especially when Kafka, Magritte, and Godot take turns at the helm. Still, I cherish the quirky nature of this city. Where mushrooms are grown in a slaughterhouse and an abandoned construction site can be turned into a swamp out of pure boredom.