“I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves or figments of their imagination, indeed, everything and anything except me.”

Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

You're only different if people regard you so

It is easy to be invisible in a city. There is a great variety of people living next to one another, people who often do not know each other. Every citizen has their own life and their own story. We usually do not take the time to consider what our neighbours’ lives are like, where they are at in life, where they come from or what kind of story they might have.

We all have our prejudices and prefer to label people in separate compartments; one is a foreigner, a disabled person, an elderly person, a psychopath, a killer, a racist, an autist, … Thinking in these kind of stereotypes can cause people to feel excluded and left out. Exclusion starts with language and the labelling of people. You are only different if another person regards you as different. And once you have that specific label, it is very difficult to break through the prejudices that come along with it.

Invisible Cities depicts citizens of big cities telling their stories. City dwellers who are for some reason left out, often because of the way people look at them and decide to label them. So-called ‘Invisible people’, as we often do not know their history. On this website you can find personal stories of people who are not being heard because they are ‘different’ in some way, stories telling us about how they see and feel within the city and society.

We created Invisible Cities in 2016 within the framework of the theatrical performance The Kindly Ones. Director Guy Cassiers delves into the darkest side of human behaviour in his re-enactment of ‘The Kindly Ones’ by Jonathan Littell, a novel concerning the annihilation of the Jews during World War II. As the novel and the performance rigorously looks into a form of total rationality through the eyes of the culprit, Invisible Cities aspires to put emphasis on the humanity and morality.

In 2019 (Antwerp, B) and 2022 (Thessaloniki, GR) the project got an international dimension and students from Belgium, Croatia, Greece, Georgia, Romania and The Netherlands worked together on new portraits.