Marianne Cosserat thinks she is part of an art community, whether she
likes it or not. In other communities, the codes of behavior are often very
clear (for example how to address other members of the community) but in
the art community there exist a lot of unspoken rules. One of them is that
you have to “try to be unique without mentioning it”. Another is that
your contacts with other community members should be very familiar:
“We’re almost friends after we’ve seen each other once.” In the art
community, networking is important and you are very personally judged.
Because Cosserat has done so many different jobs in the performance field,
the way people address her depends on the hat she is wearing.
Specific about the Brussels art field (as compared to other European
cities), is that there are many young international performers in Brussels.
The Brussels art community is located in a narrow geographic area, which
creates solidarity between the performers. The Brussels community is a real
crossroad of cultures. Cosserat makes the comparison with the Zagreb dance
community. In Zagreb, many people leave the community but few enter and
when there is migration, it comes mainly from neighbouring countries.
Brussels on the contrary has immigrants from all over the world. The reason
for this attraction is that Brussels allows you to keep your own identity.
What Cosserat likes about Brussels is that it welcomes experiment: there
are possibilities to try new ideas and to make things happen.
Professionally speaking, Brussels is one of the places that allow her to
dream. Another positive thing about Brussels is that there are many types
of support that are given to each generation of artists.
Cosserat feels more part of a European art community than of a Brussels
dance community. She assumes that most people in the Brussels dance
community do not know who she is. As a consequence she does not consider
herself part of it, although she is often in contact with the community
(mostly by going to performances). She wants to see how the scene develops
and wants to keep track of the work of young creators. She considers it as
her duty to help young makers, for example by giving them advice. Being
available to give support is also a way of staying in touch with the
community. The Brussels dance community is a very young community: if you
do not make it between 22 and 35, you are out. With people coming and
going, the community is constantly changing. That is why it might not be a
good idea to mix professional and friendship relations too much, because it
is very likely that your artist-friends will leave one day. Cosserat also
mentions that if you stop going to gatherings and premieres, you stop
existing in the community.
Because she is involved in international projects, the location where
Cosserat is actually working does not matter so much, as long as there is
an internet connection and a phone. She likes being in Brussels because
there are always interesting things happening. She thinks it is too bad
that Belgium is so divided. One of the reasons for this division is that
culture is defined by identity and that language is an important part of
identity in Belgium. That also implies that even if she would live here for
a very long time, she could never become Flemish. She will always be
different because she has another native language.