Microscopic

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: Lorelei Herrera,Thomas Gosselin, Amandine Meyer, Gilles Rochier/ authors

Project manager: Mathieu Marion

 

Objectives: 
When seen through a microscope, a drop of water, our skin or the crust of a cheese become highly-populated things. Dozens or even hundreds of “individuals” appear, who often lack an attentive observer to describe their lives. Using a series of enlargements, the students and their artist take us on a journey among these miniscule creatures.

Workshop: 
Behind the lens
Using a microscope, together, the students and artist try and assess the world of the infinitely small: techniques to prepare samples (water, wood, carpet, blood, etc.), observation drawings, measurements using different scales and naturalist descriptions. Although each student is invited to describe in detail what he/she sees, this contribution also involves encouraging students to explore how their perception can be enhanced by a portrayal of the world on a microscopic scale.

Frame by frame
With the contributor, the students experiment with the possibilities of comic strips. Micro-workshops are organised to dissect various benchmark works (e.g. Trondheim, Marc-Antoine Mathieu and Etienne Lecroart); the class also learns how to play with the narrative possibilities of the comic-strip medium. After this, using observations and formal restrictions explained by the contributor, the class is invited to create its own very short animated stories.

Microscopy
The students now have to plan a comic-strip project connected to the worlds revealed by the microscope. Helped by the illustrator, the class must devise a story of 24 pages incorporating the following restriction: the comic strip has to alternate one “silent” page (without dialogue or narration) and one “vocal” page. For this stage of the project, imagination needs to take over and the students are invited to alternate different workshops (drawing or text), individually or in groups. At this stage, the illustrator can adopt a graphic mode accessible for everyone or take charge of certain frames with the students’ assistance.

Outcome:
The various projects produced by the classes, from “The Géant World” to “Zoomologies” are incorporated into a large comic book printed in A3 format and entitled “Les Microscopiques”. Each class had several dozen copies to distribute in their schools and at the same time, they planned meetings/discussions to put forward their ideas and present their original comic-strip panels. 

 

Outings (selection):
- CONFERENCE: “UN PEU DE SCIENCE DANS VOTRE FICTION”, PALAIS DE LA DÉCOUVERTE 
- EXHIBITION: “L'ART DU STUDIO BLUE SKY”, MUSÉE DES ARTS LUDIQUES 
- PLANETARIUM, CITÉ DES SCIENCES ET DE L’INDUSTRIE
- TRIP TO THE EXHIBITION “LES INVISIBLES”, LE 104

Participating schools:
- Class 6, Collège Evariste Galois, Sevran
- Class 4, Collège René Descartes, Tremblay-en-France
- Class 5, Collège René Descartes, Le Blanc-Mesnil

 

Photo: PIERRE ANTOINE

Microscopic