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Le Printemps des Laboratoires #3 - Performing Opposition

The third edition of the Printemps des Laboratoires, Performing Opposition, will be devoted to exploring how art relates to the ‘polis’, in opposition to instituted powers. From the emergence of avant-garde movements in the nineteenth century to artists’ engagement in more recent protest- and social revolt movements, art has been renewing its strategies and its forms of opposition. By putting into perspective certain historical and artistic legacies (agit-prop, spaßguerilla, Situationism, Indignados), Performing Opposition seeks to bring into focus a current dynamic that contributes to opening up gaps in the regulated continuum of public space in order to (re)occupy and appropriate it. The question of ‘performing public space’ is central, especially in the digital age with its changing strategies of visibility and representation. Performing Opposition will be foregrounding the antagonistic movements that reconfigure, across the globe and from one local to another, the map of a power that is now diffuse and molecular — an art that is also capable of eluding its ties to the institution in order to continue to develop therein, in spite of everything, critical and operative strategies. 

This edition of the Printemps des Laboratoires will set up a dialogue between diverse experiences and perspectives. Our guests include specialists in the fields of activist movements (Brian Holmes), avant-garde movements (Marc Partouche), digital cultures (Marie Lechner, Nathalie Magnan), and also the links between theatre and political modernity (Diane Scott). These theoretical perspectives will link in with the artists’ testimonies, which will include artists engaged in popular revolts (Burak Arikan), artists participating via their practice in building communities of thought and action (Marinella Senatore), artists using the art institution to propose ways of occupying public space (Thomas Hirschhorn, Renata Lucas) or artists working in the field of theatre, literature or poetry, as a privileged site for observing society and its injustices (Motus, Nathalie Quintane). Finally, we believe it crucial to investigate these problematics from the perspective of the institution, that of the Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, of course, which seeks to establish the conditions of emergence and support for free artistic forms, but also from the perspective of like-minded centres engaged, via the work they carry out in their site, in building a slow revolution (Beirut, in Cairo).

These discussions will take shape amid a varied programme which will include a musical accompaniment by pianist Alexey Aasantcheef, presenting a set composed of works by Cornelius Cardew, punctuated by revolutionary pieces which the audience will be invited to sing; performances by students of the Oslo Academy of Fine Art; an evening meal open to all; a screening juxtaposing contemporary films (Egyptian filmmakers Jasmina Matwaly and Philip Rizk and the Palestine-based DAAR collective) and a documentary about a major 1970s play (Paradise Now by Living Theater). Prior to this edition of the Printemps des Laboratoires, Turkish artist Burak Arikan will be running a workshop titled “Graph Commons”. 

We would like to express our warmest thanks to all the participants for responding to our invitation and to the members of the reading workshops run over the course of the year, which have played an important role in developing this programme. We are delighted to be hosting this two-day collective reflection which we hope will be an opportunity to decipher the ways in which artistic actions and politics inform one another, and to envision together the actualisation of their action-potential.

Alexandra Baudelot, Dora García, Mathilde Villeneuve (Co-directrices of Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers)

Participants include: Alexey Aasantcheef (pianist), Burak Arikan (artist), Thomas Hirschhorn (artist), Marie Lechner (journalist), Renata Lucas (artist), Nathalie Magnan (media-activist), Marc Partouche (art historian), Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk (filmmakers), Daniela Nicolo and Enrico Casagrande (Motus / Italy), Nathalie Quintane (writer, poet), Diane Scott (critique in theatre), Marinella Senatore (artist), Antonia Alampi (director of the Beirut art centre/ Cairo), DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency / Palestine), Christopher Wachter and Mathias Jud (artists), Sophie Wahnich (historian) students from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts.