The world is one’s oyster
Since 31 July 2019 musicians, artists and graphic designers have joined forces in an old butcher’s shop located in Ostend. Together they bring their wildest fantasies and ideas to life. According to Victor Van Wassenhove, initiator and founding member of Pleasure Island, everything you can imagine is possible in this place.
What is Pleasure Island about?
Next to concerts, performances and exhibitions, you can even swing by for yoga practices with a serious twist. We are a group of people from Ostend, Jabbeke, Grammene, Antwerp, Frankfurt-Am-Main, Sint-Joost ten Node, Elsene and Wondelgem. We support each other's ideas and concepts for this mutual project and achieve them better and faster by working together.
Anything can happen on Pleasure Island
You were born and raised in Ghent. What made you leave your hometown?
Gentrification has hit Ghent so there was no more fertile soil left for me. I missed some roughness and found it in Ostend. I revived. I could even stretch my arms without bumping into anything [Laughs]. Pleasure Island is located between the belle epoque district and the less privileged area of Westerkwartier. This contrast is very interesting. It suited me because I wanted to create a place where different people could work and come together. Of course, it’s also cheaper for artists to live here.
What’s the origin of the name?
I was immediately triggered by the name when I heard it while watching a 30-hour course on Pinocchio by Jordan Peterson, titled 'Maps of Meaning'. Pleasure Island is a mythical land where bread grows on trees, fish jump out of the river into your mouth and white wine flows from the taps. Pleasure Island is a place where anything can happen. The world is one’s oyster.
Most of our members studied at Sint-Lucas Visual Arts Ghent (now LUCA School of arts). During our studies we were given the opportunity by others to use their venues, allowing us to let our creativity flow. We wanted to return the favour by inviting a number of master’s students and master’s promoters for a short residency. The outcome will be exhibited on 6 and 7 March. On 4 April we're transforming Pleasure Island to create a placebo sauna experience. By the name New Rituals, four artists will take you through five chapters representing the five Chinese elements: Earth, Water, Metal, Wood and Fire, ranging from sculptures to ASMR experiences.
Where do you hope Pleasure Island will take you?
We’re hoping it would take us to a better world, where the shore does not have to be flattened by bulldozers to keep it ‘beautiful and soft’ for tourism.