The Mobile MNSTRY (Monastery, Ministery, Monster-y) is a collective location project, organised in and around the previous Abbeye of Forest. The MNSTRY will install a temporary (monastic) community that lives and works within a limited area, following a shared time score and accepting the rule of poverty for the duration of the workshop.

During this time all activities of the MNSTRY will be organised within the public contexts of Forest, and developed as an open invitation to the neighbourhood and passers-by. During the workshop the time score of the MNSTRY will bit by bit start to change: the original ‘monastic’ score will be taken over by the members of the community, who will start to decide on what there is to be done, what we will spend our shared time on, and what is it that is needed today, here, and for whom.

The workshop is part of the larger project Cité d’Espoir (part of the REcommerce social-artistic initiative, organised by Bains Connective) which develops a constant practice for about six weeks (starting half October) with intense public moments during the weekends. The Mobile MNSTRY starts out with one member and through a call on the internet, the development of the workshop but also through local advertising the community starts to grow.

The ‘cité’ of the Abbaye will be renamed ‘Cité d’Espoir’ and will house the artists and their guests, supporting their ‘monastic’ practices. Cité d’Espoir will develop into a social meeting place, with a silent space to hang out, daily soup dinners, a library and regular ritual and other activities. The temporary monks start to develop their practices on the basis of poverty, social service and artistic transformation. Neighbours and interested people can pass by to have a personal ritual made for them, but we also want to involve groups and youngsters to develop group public rituals with us, based on their needs and visions. For example, we develop mourning rituals for pets or family members, light rituals for those who can not stand the cold anymore, love rituals for the lonely, political change rituals for the disengaged, etcetera.

We also give short-term ritual training workshops: how to develop your own rituals, how to gather material for your rituals, based on the Psychomagic methodology of Jodorowsky, or the artistic methodologies of the temporary monks. The silent café in the Cité d’Espoir offers free tea and something, and would become the starting point for all projects. The monks would sleep on the premises and be available most of the time for a talk or a ritual ‘guidance’. On Sundays there is also a kind of ‘service’, which is not religious but only aims at developing an alternative ‘common’ event for the neighbourhood in the margins of the market.

For more information: read the self-interview of Elke Van Campenhout with Elle (Bureau d’Espoir) here.