The Massenoire (lit. “black mass”) is part of the industrial remnants of the Belval site. Located near Blast Furnace A, it was put into service in 1965. At the time the plant was still in operation, it housed various equipments used for the fabrication of the “black mass”, the material used for sealing the casting hole – hence its name. While the different devices needed to produce the sealant were stored in the Massenoire, a sheltered outdoor space housed the foundry ladle dryers. The production site was shut down at the end of the 1970s. As part of extensive refurbishment works, the building was transformed to ahouse the permanent exhibition “Belval & More” by the Fonds Belval and to serve and accommodate a visitor reception centre for the City of Science, Research and Innovation and the blast furnaces.
From October 2022, La Massenoire will host the exhibition ‘Frontaliers, des vies en stéréo’ by photographer Samuel Bollendorff and documentary maker Mehdi Ahoudig.
As part of Esch2022, we are preparing a major survey on cross-border workers in the context of Luxembourg, which offers a kind of laboratory situation. Indeed, its border area concentrates some of the most compelling issues that European societies are currently facing: the question of borders that are taken down while other borders are raised, particularly in social terms. These workers who cross Luxembourg’s borders on a daily basis are confronted with compelling social problems, which mark and shape the territory. (Samuel Bollendorff)
This question allows us to look at the geographical borders that are taken down and the social borders that are emerging on both sides of the border between those who find personal fulfilment in Luxembourg and those who remain by the wayside, unable to access what is supposed to be a financial godsend. (Mehdi Ahoudig)
In order for the exhibition and the accompanying documentary to be as accurate as possible and to understand the people who live in the region under scrutiny, Samuel Bollendorff and Mehdi Ahoudig will carry out a major field survey from January 2021.
We cannot be exhaustive, but we must rely on some form of accumulation and try to meet as many people as possible. The cross-border workers represent 100,000 people and just as many personal stories. Finance executives and housekeepers do not share the same experience, so we do not want to ‘catalogue’ or ‘encapsulate’ them under the same terms. We try, above all, to work in the field and meet the people who inhabit it. (Samuel Bollendorff)
Cross-border commuters on both sides of the border who wish to share their unique stories can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org