From the école de Marinella Senatore to MétallOpérette
Italian artist Marinella Senatore began her residency at Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers by setting up a ‘school’ which she ran at Les Laboratoires for the entire month of February. It was a no-fees school, open to all, and was based on the participants’ proposals. The school set up an intensive schedule of workshops, with sessions held several days per week, exploring areas such as set design, camera work, Brazilian bracelets, music, make-up, Chinese calligraphy, singing and dance, pooling the know-how of its participants. For some it was an opportunity to create ways of passing on knowledge for the first time, and for others it was invitation to explore new areas or to learn new skills. In this way, the ‘school’ gradually began to occupy our artistic institution, pushing its walls back, stretching its opening hours, taking hold of its space to experiment with a alternative learning system in which emancipation, inclusion and self-training are key.
Like any participatory project, and in particular this one as the timeframe was so condensed, although the chaos it generates might be dizzying on an individual level, on a larger scale it has the potential to completely overturn values and relations of authority. Its very fragility is its basis. It is a resilient, wilful fragility, and all efforts need to be redoubled in order to preserve it and to avoid a retreat into the same old, ready-for-use fossilised forms of production. And if this fragility seems such an intrinsic part of the project it is above all because it is grounded in the promise of future human encounters and collective desires, in the desire to share something free of cost — a rare commodity in our times. It is because it stems from a subtle balance between ensuring adequate conditions that will let new types of relations emerge (and with them, a poetics) and a ‘frame’ which needs to be constantly adjusted as the project develops and made operative in order to encourage the formation of a group and to organise and support the group in realising its ambitions. The artist’s role is a complex one in such a configuration. The artist is very much actively involved in the sense that she has spearheaded a project meant to involve a group of people, but her presence is more delicate when it comes to working with and bringing together so many singular individuals, and the role becomes more effaced role when the artist hands over to the group the actual creation of the collective form.
The group project ultimately produced MétallOpérette, which was set to music with the help of a renowned Italian composer and performed on stage by the school’s participants accompanied by a few professional singers. Set against the history of the former ball-bearings factory that now houses Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, the operetta stages various characters caught up in the social tensions of 1966/1967. Inscribed in the real history of the Malicet & Blin factory, MétallOperette draws on the social and cultural heritage and trade union history of Aubervilliers, as a symbol of an ongoing struggle that needs to be continued. The project’s ultimate form is a film, and the first public presentation is an invitation to attend its shooting. Marinella Senatore, who has a background in film, through her training and professional experience, likes to intertwine disciplines (theatre, dance, music) and mix genres (Brechtian political theatre, escorted by opera music, itself hybridised with modern percussion and amateur contemporary dance).
The project is testament to the type of horizontal approach that characterises the work of Marinella Senatore as a whole, and also to her desire to place experienced professionals in dialogue with newly arrived amateurs. Through the various participatory projects she sets up and the bold energy she brings to each project, she establishes spaces able to accommodate and activate the formation of a collective body. She invites participants to contribute to the formation of this collective body via the sharing of skills, piecing together, through bricolage, a common form, which ultimately comes together through the sheer force of ambition, dedication and care that the participants bring to the project.
Mathilde Villeneuve, Aubervilliers 2016
During the open day, the 23rd January, L'école de Marinella Senatore introduced her project for Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers. The public, the neighbours and other interested persons were invited to come and share their know-how through one or several workshops or to participate in these workshops. A writing workshop took place 3 times per week and imagined the final event which involved most of the participants and the participant "teachers". The result is a show called MétallOpérette on the music composed by Emiliano Branda for this specific event. The public performance takes place at Les laboratoires d'Aubervillies Saturday 26th March 2016.
Alya Ait Abdesselam
Anicia Ait Abdesselam
Tanguy Colas des Francs
Lycia Lhadj Mohand