Administrophones series– 2017
The projects making up the Administrophonesseries arose from an unlikely exchange with the administrative staff in charge of public space in various French-speaking locations, including Canada, France, Luxemburg, Morocco and Switzerland. Each began with a telephone call, during which I opened a discussion aimed at swapping our roles and disrupting the work environment, shifting the imaginative and driving force of the project from the artist to the government official. Each dialogue allowed for moments of complicity between the official and the artist and resulted in a proposal for a public art intervention. I then undertook to turn each idea, or text, into an in-situ performance in an urban space, thus bringing creativity to places from which it is often banished.
My recorded conversations with the officials steered the conception of each project and led to their realization in a given context. I also transcribed each conversation and annotated it much as one would a sociological field study; to do so, I worked in collaboration with Anthony Pécqueux, director of the CRESSON laboratory in Grenoble, France, with support from the Maison de la Création and La Cinémathèque, also in Grenoble. The Administrophonesare, first and foremost, conduits for shared listening. Audio recordings are accompanied by documentation of the performance.
Fez, Morocco – 26 March 2017
The official imagined a woman in traditional dress (skirt and hat) in the colors of the Moroccan flag, and specified the square in front of the local National Security Department headquarters as the appropriate location. I took her instructions to a seamstress to get a better idea of what this woman, and her costume, should look like. Then I took on the identity of the Flag-Woman and asked passersby in Fez’s modern city center for directions until I arrived at the National Security offices. There, I embodied the Flag-Woman as a living statue.
Harlequin’s First Steps
Grenoble, France – 8 May 2017
The official imagined the Harlequin character, from the Commedia dell’arte, wandering along the Caserne de Bonne esplanade. Once on site, I started by asking passersby about how the character might act. They imagined that she would imitate people on the esplanade, tell stories to children, struggle to play the flute, attempt to do flips, and be kindly presence—in sum, she should enact a plethora of Harlequin’s traits.
Carried out in collaboration with Anthony Pecqueux (sociologist and director of the urban ambiance laboratory at CRESSON, the Center for Research on Sound Space and the Urban Environment) with support from the Maison de la création, Grenoble. (http://maisondelacreation.univ-grenoble-alpes.fr/fr/recherche/projets/administrophone-177959.kjsp?RH=MCFR_RECH02)
A study day on research/creation in the public space was held on 12 October 2017 at the CRESSON laboratory in Grenoble. It was a chance to share documentation of the performance (call transcripts, videos of the intervention, etc.) and to reflect together on questions raised by research and creation in the public space.
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg – 9 August 2017
The official imaged a series of images of animals (deer, wild boar, swans) at the Place d’Armes and Place Guillaume II in Luxembourg City. The installation and the intervention were based on my exchange with the official and carried out for the collective exhibition JET LAG/OUT OF SYNC: the 2017 young creators’ triennial at the Rotondes art space.
Photo credit: Bohumil Kostohryz
Montreal, Canada – 3 September 2017
The official in Montreal imagined someone playing in the wind with colored flags. He chose a windy, open space in Frédéric-Back Park as the location.
Marseilles, France – 26 February 2018
The official in Marseilles, together with a coworker, imagined two characters on the Prado beach lawn: a fairy and a sailor, for the kids. The fairy was to have white wings and dress for the weather; her hair should be curly. Together, they should fly kites.
Pérouse, France – 5 to 6 April 2018
The person who picked up the phone at City Hall happened to be the mayor himself. He imagined creating a mural in the playground of Pérouse’s primary school. Because we could not paint directly on the school walls, the group drew a mural on cloth with ink pens. Some thirty schoolchildren, ages nine to ten, all contributed to the artwork over the course of two workshops. The piece was hung ephemerally from the wall, like a banner.
The piece will also be on display until 26 June 2018 at Le Granit national theater in Belfort as part of the exhibition “Ce qui nous tient, ce à quoi nous tenons” curated by Mickaël Roy.
Ostwald, France – 7 May 2018
The official at the mayor’s office imagined a performance involving workout equipment in the gravel pits outside town. The intervention was part of Strasbourg’s IN ACT festival.