Artistic territory

Since 2009, the Seine-Saint-Denis County Council has been backing “la Culture et l’Art au Collège (CAC)”. This project is based to a large extent on the presence in class for several weeks (40h) of an artist or scientist whose mission is to engage the students in a process of research and creation. 

 

Tutors: Florence Guionneau-Joie, Albertine de Galbert, Alexandra Fau, Laure Flammarion and Claire Kueny/ curators

Project manager: Florise Pagès

 

Objectives:
For years, so as to have a souvenir and always know who it was, the county of Seine-Saint-Denis had a portrait taken of itself by various photographers. Accompanied by five curators, five middle-school classes from Bondy, Montreuil, Noisy-Le-Sec, Saint-Denis and Saint-Ouen explore what has become, over time, a rich collection of several hundred pictures. 

Workshops:
What can you see?
The students and contributor browse the collection on the online database. This initial phase focuses on several questions – some of them are personal – “Which photos do you like best and why?”; “What do they tell you?”; etc. – and others are more analytical: “How can photos give an account of an area?”; “What do they show of Seine-Saint-Denis?”; “Would you say these photos are ‘art’?” To grasp the issues and scope of the endeavour, some of the students met with the photographers to put the initial commission back into context; others created images in a more abstract and poetic approach; others examined pictures “missing” from the collection. This led to an initial selection of the photos according to themes that emerged organically (scenes of everyday life, imaginary scenes, disappearance), themes inspired by the students (neighbourhoods, family, etc.) or inspired by a specific encounter with the work of a photographer. 

Exposure and exhibition...
The conditions for the exhibition they are going to mount are explained to the students: the limited number of pictures, the positioning of their show in a shared space, making sure the photos are available, etc. They visit the site where the exhibition will be held so that they can visualise the goal. Each class then tries to declare its intention for its final selection using the hanging of pictures, texts, a title, catalogues and so on. The aim is to translate this area that, suddenly overflowing with intentions and identities, seems more fertile than just a geographical space. Whether in pictures of landscapes, a moment of intimacy captured on film or in the clouds, the students immerse themselves in the photos, inventing and creating their own accounts. The contributor then addresses the logistics and advertising aspects involved in an exhibition: appreciation tools, collection manager, loan agreements (collections/middle schools), budget (“nail-to-nail” insurance, transport, handling, condition reports, lighting), etc. This stage is concluded by preparing the oral presentation of their first exhibition, either for the public or with journalists.   

Outcome:
The Territoire de l'Art exhibition bringing together the participating classes’ 5 projects (Re/connaître, Fragments d'histoires, Autoportraits, La disparition dans tous ses états, A chacun son monde sensible) was shown at the 116, Centre Culturel de Montreuil from 18th May – 3rd June 2017. 

Acknowledgements:
F93 would like to thank the Conseil Départemental de la Seine-Saint-Denis, which was generous enough to make the works in its collection available to the students and curators; Nathalie Lafforgue, responsibe for the Department’s collection; photographers Luc Choquer and Marc Gibert; Jane Toussaint and all the team at the 116.

 

Outings
- "Circulations", festival of young European photography at the 104, Paris
- Andres Serrano Exhibition, at the MEP, Paris
- Crown Fine Art (Tremblay-en-France) – trip to learn about careers in storing, wrapping and transporting works of art.  
- "14 Seconds" exhibition at the 116, Montreuil

Participating schools: 
- class 3è 6, collège HENRI SELLIER, BONDY
- class 4è 5, COLLÈGE LENAIN DE TILLEMONT, MONTREUIL
- class 6è D, COLLÈGE JACQUES PRÉVERT, NOISY-LE-SEC
- class 3è C, COLLÈGE JULES MICHELET, SAINT-OUEN
- class 5è A SEGPA, COLLÈGE HENRI BARBUSSE, SAINT-DENIS

 

Photos: PIERRE ANTOINE

Artistic territory
Artistic territory
Artistic territory
Artistic territory
Artistic territory
Artistic territory
Artistic territory
Artistic territory
Artistic territory
Artistic territory