Face to our Liberty

Christalena Hughmanick & Marianne Villière   

Photo : Margaux Moritz


Art in Odd Places project between New York and Paris / topic : NORMAL.

Christalena and Marianne formulate an infiltration into the repetition of everyday life by reflecting an existential question to each person encountered – what is your definition of freedom? Concretely – how is freedom expressed in your life?

This work reflects an existential question to each person encountered – what is your definition of freedom and how is freedom expressed in your life? 
The primary medium at use is invitation. Through discourse, recorded history is rewritten onto a mirrored surface, making stories appear over the American dream in the USA and France. One dreams continually of construction and deconstruction. We want an alternative vision. This project is rooted in Michel Foucault’s concept of “practicing of freedom” and questions the practicability / daily expression of what has been taken away.

We would like to reactivate the Statue of Liberty as a figure of freedom and protest for the many immigrant communities experiencing systemic racism and oppression in the United States. Installed in New York City, the Statue of Liberty faces Europe and has always welcomed migrants. This performance recasts an outdated gaze toward the American Dream ideal to the individuals that make this country beautiful as a gesture of solidarity and self-possession in a moment where systemic failure of government has never been more in public view. 

Invoking this robed Roman liberty goddess in both New York and Paris, where the statue was constructed (Chazelle street, 17e district, Paris), the artists will perform simultaneously as friends, considering the original intent of the gift between their countries in 1886; to commemorate the national abolition of slavery. Christalena and Marianne will each construct and wear replicas of the stola that the statue figure wears on the iconic sculpture, out of layers of free flowing, mirrored fabric. Their faces will be obscured by a two-way mirror that reflects the faces of the people they engage in conversation with, back to them as a gesture of solidarity and self-possession. 

During each encounter, participants will be asked to articulate and write their definition of freedom on a second mirrored surface that is carried in place of The Lady Liberty’s tabula ansata. These conversations and reflections will be recorded as performance ephemera through photographs taken by a third and fourth person.

Photo : Hyegeong Lee


The definitions of ‘normal’ (adj) include conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected and
(n) the usual, typical, expected state or condition. 

How has the state of America become this?
What is just one universal standard of truth? 
The american dream looks to liberalism but where is liberty for all? 

We believe in freedom of expression and freedom to occupy public spaces, freedom to disobey when the law is unfair. Freedom is felt through small gestures; sitting or standing where you want but the lawfulness of your action depends on context. The stakes are high. 

Michel Foucault speaks of practices of freedom as a form of action by the subject’s life, from his way of situating himself in his context. This attribution is similar to the “tactics” developed by Michel de Certeau in his book “The invention of the everyday life”. Emphasize the importance of the creative dimension when you make choices and your behavioral expression will reflect our ethics. 

The “posture”/“statute” of Liberty is indicative of our commitments.

People living in America have been deluded, controlled, manipulated, bought and sold into an idea of freedom that belongs to only one percent of the population. People living in France are debating freedom of expression and filming police violence. 

The artist is a facilitator between the individual and system; himself or those in their orbit. The desire to be seen and heard is shared and listening is the greatest gift we can give another person. We seek embodiment of others’ reflections. It is an action for invisibilized people which attempts to show that these feelings of liberty are multifaceted, all linked with a mutual trust. 

The expression of our freedoms are laced with joy. We explore this feeling, it resonates with many perspectives of life and confrontations with joy !