Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Willem Vrancken, I live in Genk (Limburg, Belgium) and I graduated as a graphic designer and currently working as a lecturer at the Art School of Genk. In addition, I organize together with Pablo Hannon, Kubus Kwadraat, a podium focus on performance for creative young people from different disciplines. But I’m mainly active in Anti.Anti. We call ourselves a network of critical thinkers and creative artists and poetic doers. Concretely, we organize a monthly tekencafé and develop cultural and participative projects.
What do you consider your distinctive achievement?
Although Anti.Anti. is till a relatively young organization (2014), I’m already proud of the role we have in our city. With this I don’t mean on a practical level, but rather in terms of identity and tone that we are trying to address. On one hand, we’re able to link in an informal and accessible way people and networks to each other through our tekencafé and within our projects . On the other hand, by adopting what we call a ‘positive critical attitude’. Criticism is too often considered negative, while we just advocate to question things in an open dialogue, with the aim to take each other to other challenges and growth together.
What are you looking forward too?
I’m very curious about the growth and development of Anti.Anti. in the next 10 years. The projects in the pipeline already give me a lot of enthusiasm, but we do it mostly step by step … The mistakes we will make and the problems we will encounter are just as interesting as the projects; it is very liberating to dare to be open to that. But I certainly look forward to all like-minded people we meet along the way and even the collaborations that will flow from it.
Which advice would you give to other professionals?
Art and culture are inseparable from their context, environment and society. Unfortunately, they often are perceived as deliberately obscure and elitist, and creators even dare to complain that they are not understood … While arts and culture just have to play a very important role, more than ever, in these times of polarization. Good art has something in it for everyone, but must then be open to perception.
My advice: don’t take yourself too seriously.
What are the challenges that we need to come to make about cultural entrepreneurship more accessible?
We live in a time where the spirit of perfection and ‘grandeur’ seem to be the norm; something that in my view doesn’t fit with emerging companies. There is nothing wrong with a moderated start, to play and to try, dare to fail … Entrepreneurship insinuates just ‘start’, grow and learn on the go. I also call for more effort to connect the different players in the Meuse-Rhine. Cross-border cooperation would be one of our strongest assets, to be creative and challenge each other creates a stimulating business environment.