The information board in this picture is not very sharp, but it doesn’t really matter, because it’s not really displaying any useful information anyways.
I can tell you since when exactly it’s been there: late February 2000. Brussels was elected European Capital of Culture for the year 2000, and it was the big opening weekend. This electric sign, in the pedestrian tunnel between Brussels Central train station and the adjoining metro station, was an installation displaying a selection of poetic texts, dreams, ideas and what not. I remember it was a great weekend, you could feel a big vibrant energy all over town. I had just moved to Brussels, had just broken up with my girlfriend in Leuven, and was about to make a move on my first Brussels girlfriend (and also dance the first of many, many Bal Modernes). At the time I felt lots of things were happening in Brussels, a positive flux that would certainly lead to many great things.
But of course after one year Brussels was no longer Cultural Capital of Europe, and since then, has slipped back to being its sloppy self.
The sign is still there, in the tunnel, though right now it’s running in demo mode, God knows since how long. It’s telling that nobody has even bothered unplugging it, but that’s probably because nobody even remembers who’s responsible for it.
And this goes for the whole tunnel. A tunnel between two of the busiest commuter hotspots in town, yet nobody seems to care about it, and it makes you feel like you’ve landed in Tirana in the 80ies or something. (Although, I’ve been told, Albania was a really clean place under communist rule, something which definitely cannot be said of this tunnel.) It’s a total dump, and has been since, pretty much forever - the poetic installation hasn’t changed anything. It’s a typical example of Brussels non-management: the owner of the train station says: not our responsibility. The local public transport company, exploiting the metro, says: not our responsibility. The City of Brussels says: not our responsibility.
So the sign keeps on running in demo-mode, displaying non-information to nobody in particular, the tunnel remains a squalid place and Brussels keeps on missing out on opportunities.