CONTENT AND FORM : Artistic and esthetic challenges
The project is based on a real program of exchanges between artists and cultural operators : the artists are proposed by the partners and they will be proposed residences in one of the partners‘ countries. [ lire la suite... ]
A universal yet controversial subject matter…
Love is admittedly a universal theme, but when it’s incarnated by bodies, it immediately becomes less consensual. The representation of the amorous feeling, as it goes through sexuated bodies, soon gets subversive. Even in our supposedly liberal societies, censorship and moral enclosures build up structures that fluctuate as time goes by, but are not to be transgressed.
This project, which circulates between both sides of the Mediterranean, therefore questions representations, prejudices and taboos in our societies. Our relationship with the body is not self-evident on either side of the Mare Nostrum, and this goes a long way back. Since Plato, occidentals have been raised with the idea that the Body is treacherous and that Truth is accessible only through the Spirit, that true Love can only be disincarnated and ideal. Heiress to this vision, the Catholic church has been, for centuries, expressing its defiance, not to say its hatred, for the flesh. It has repressed sex as the place of all impurities and stains. Religion achieved a degree of tolerance only within the scope of the necessary perpetuation of the specie, and it still is the case, today, whatever the human price may be. As a major taboo, sex has for centuries been the Unnamable in the first sense of the term, in spite of its constant evocation.
Contrary to simplistic popular opinion, Islam appears to be much less repressive and frustrative on these questions. In the Koran and the Hadiths (comments and examples taken from the life of the prophet Muhammad) sexuality is in no way shameful, sex is neither separated from feelings, nor from the quest for pleasure. Puritan interpretations of the Book by fundamentalist movements hints much more at political interests than sincere faith.
Desire is nothing but the desire for/of the desire of the other
The set of themes of love and alterity stresses at once the universality of our need for the others and the irreducibility of our being. As intense as it may get, an amorous encounter is only possible once the separation between each existential territory is acknowledged.
Literature, philosophy, psychoanalysis have abundantly cast light upon this paradox: the desire for the other cannot be carried out without a loss for the ego. Love is probably the only source and destination our beings seek. It resonates with our thirst for Ideal. But we love poorly. As Louis Ferdinand Céline puts “Love is the infinite within the reach of poodle dogs”. Aye, we seek happiness and then we put up obstacles so not to reach it.
Let us not hope that the miniatures provide this unfathomable question with an answer. Each artist involved in the Miniatures project knocked up to cast some light on an impossibility, a limitation, an imperfection, a want, a misunderstanding. Inevitably
unsatisfactory for those who’d seek certainty. Basically human for the others.
Each miniature opens a sensitive track to better seize this “unthought”. The artists are invited to be inspired at once by their “autobiography” and their subjective experience, this tension between interiority and externality. They must also resonate with the territory in which they evolve during their creation residency. To do so, they can use various artistic media, they may intertwine live show, performance, installation… Moreover, the pieces are intended to be exhibited in an unconventional space of representation, such as a gallery or a museum or any other place which would allow to recreate one of the formats of the exhibition. The projects must therefore integrate constraints of production, space and time. Each artist has to contain his or her desires, adapt his/her desires to this particular context. This capacity for adaptation calls for the development of other answers. As Enrico Tedde puts it so well: “we must then invent other modes of relation to the space of representation. As it is constrained, the body organizes itself and discovers other ways which are equally, if not more, interesting”.
The part of a whole
The whole body of these miniatures will then be arranged between themselves as many points of view on this inexhaustible subject matter. The coherence of the ensemble is ensured not only by the community of themes, but also and mostly, because it is supervised by l’Officina. To each residence, the producer’s outlook on the proposition ensures the bond with other Miniatures. A thread is thus woven. Each miniature becomes part of a work which will reveal its whole meaning at the time of the presentation of the whole ensemble of forms. Cohesion will be all the stronger as all the artists will meet for one week to work over the final presentation of the project.
Doesn’t this mosaic-like form open a privileged access for us to comprehend a definitively fragmented and hybrid world? Erri de Luca writes in Rez-de-Chaussée “Each one of us is a crowd. The obligation to be individuals, to answer a name and only one, accustoms the variety of people who pile up in us to remain quiet”. Facing this lost unity, and the infinity of possible interpretations, in the presence of the scattering of plural identities and the juxtaposition of states of consciousness, do we have another alternative but to consider kaleidoscopic configurations, rhyzomic, acentric and non hierarchical? To compose with this multitude, not to let it overwhelm us, but to try to tame it ?
The bodies expressing themselves in the Miniatures are equivocal. They often go through metamorphosis. Shifting from one state to another. In turn they summon man and woman, sometimes blurring the tracks between sexual genders. They equally evoke our animality, our quest for an ideal, our own tearings, the longing for the fusion of two beings.
The artists simultaneously negotiate with the most intimate part of their beings and the eye of the other beholders that make them exist. And it is with their bodies, at once sexuated, speaking and imaginary that as dancers and choreographers, they put, in stageing and in acting, this “being to the world” at stake, desiring bodies, affected by the desire for/of the others. Bodies expressing our singularity and our belonging in the human community. Bodies that are inalienable and bound. Archaic bodies whose science never cease stretching the limits. Body subject, but also object, a merchandise exploited by pornography
And if love is a celebration
If loving consists in entirely acknowledging the Other, and stepping with him or her into a relationship of benevolent exchange, then art represents a perfect metaphor of this feeling. Its strangeness is basically an awakening. It shakes our certainties, undermining the very principle of univocal and ultimate identity. It is therefore necessary for us to compose with multiplicity. And we will probably never exhaust the fields of experiments and possible interpretations of the world. We will never come to an end with the Other. Vertiginous prospect, but so exciting. Therefore festive.
HERE AND ELSEWHERE: Challenges of coproduction and cooperation
This project is based on meetings, exchanges and creations. We wish to establish and enrich each other by elaborating partnerships with other artists and their cities, which are connected to Marseille in some way, and with whom we have or we want to establish artistic and professional relations so as to give form and direction to our creative project. [ lire la suite... ]
A democratic process…
The diversity of the miniatures will provide prisms through which this set of themes will be envisioned. Through the accumulation of approaches and artistic points of views, the public will be able to grasp what is at stake when it comes to the subject matter of Love. This horizontal approach with no attempt at hierarchy, will allow comparisons, connections between various artistic insights. The public will thus move freely between aesthetics to better make them its own.
This principle of production is utterly political. It corresponds to a vision of the artistic creation, springing from the refusal to work the way obsolete models of “distinction” or “legitimacy and cultural illegitimacy” would. The Miniatures Officinae project thus clearly dissociates from strategies of artistic excellence which aim at imposing an aesthetic model. To the vertical cultural democratization principle, claiming to bring a “higher form of culture” to people who are deprived of it – without taking their own aspirations into account, the miniatures oppose a concept of cultural democracy which involves the ensemble of relationships and artistic exchanges that are at stake within a given society. It is not about imposing a conception of Art.
… And cooperative
In its engineering itself, the Miniatures Officinae project relies on an open and flexible methodological framework, which each partner can use and adapt to his or her own cultural and artistic way of thinking. How can we claim to implement cooperative projects between the two shores of the Mediterranean if the approach is one-sided, with the Northern side partner imposing its vision and aesthetics to the others ?
Each partner is free to make the project his or her own, not to change its very nature, but to make it resonate on his or her territory. Springing from a common basis, the project radiates and develops itself according to this particular context.