The Return of the Swallows

The Return of the Swallows started in 1999 in the Anneessens district, close to the South station of Brussels. Fascinated by this ‘transit’neighbourhood and the local population, the Belgian artist Els Dietvorst started a new project. With no artistic form or concept in mind Els Dietvorst began researching the ‘roots’ of this area and its inhabitants, the migration streams and the historical background. She found 33 so-called ’swallows’ from different cultures and social backgrounds to collaborate with her on a six-year project.
The stories and dreams of these swallows are the starting point for this multimedia project, the project gives reality a poetic dimension. From 1999 to 2005, this process resulted in a series of shortfilms, a feature film (The March, The Burden, The Desert, The Boredom, The Anger, 2004), publications and photographs. The swallows collaborated in all aspects of the work. The Return of the Swallows was finalized in 2006 with a multi-media exhibition in the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.
During the exhibition, The Return of the Swallows, Five Years in the making in the Palais des Beaux-Arts (April – May 2005), Firefly presented the records of the project in what they called The Swallow Archives : a mobile structure (resembling a swallow's nest) that can be dismantled and easily set up elsewhere. The ‘module’ can be used in schools, cultural centres, museums and independent artspaces.

Most DVD's are available at Firefly