The French American Creative Exchange has built over 40 projects from its inception in 1999. This is a selection of projects and actions including urban walks, thematic meals, concerts, performances, video production, photo-journalism and a multitude of other forms.
These actions and interventions work to build a dynamic creative exchange that questions art and creativity as vectors for discussing issues concerning urban planning, architecture, landscape, ecology and participation.
FACE’s Think Tank workshops involved a wide variety of participants and revolved around the actions of Moulin Fayvon and the connection between FACE and the United States. Participants in these discussions included: professionals, architects, artists, planners and the association's stakeholders.
One workshop was held in 2006 and led to many of FACE's later projects. Another was held in 2012 to determine future projects. In these labs, discussions centered around various ideas for improvements and the future.
Working with adolescents in la Courneuve, artist Mike Sajnoski leads workshops that look into aspects of fashion, dress codes and taboos. From these encounters a series of portraits will be realised along with a work on stylism.
Rich in ethnic and cultural diversity, the young residents of La Courneuve have created and defined their own unique style, accompanied by a set of attendant dress codes and taboos. These workshops work around this theme, gathering together groups of young men and women in an attempt to define, among other things, notions of fashion, its influences, ethnic and religious belonging, luxury and integration.
Biotextile is, above all, a way of talking about oneself – of how we view ourselves and how we want others to view us – exploring the complex relationship between style and image. A clothing historian gave a demonstration on the origins of clothing and there was a collaboration with a ‘street’ clothing designer with whom we created a collection of t-shirts.
Prenatal Singing Class inspired by community intervention efforts
In this class, the women learned many new practices such as: an introduction to vocalizations, breathing exercises, an awareness of the position of the baby in the womb, and how breathing exercises can be combined directly with music. A young cellist at the Conservatory of Versailles presented his work with his cello, which is regarded as the instrument that most closely mimics the human voice. We also experiemented with laughing and crying as different types of exercises.
All of these exercises worked to help and strengthen the perineum, to facilitate childbirth, and to help with pelvic floor rehabilitation.
The audio captured in this class will be used in as a sound installation to be played alongside the cellist's music in a piece called "The Imitation of laughter and tears of the mothers and children of the city."
Created by Lucas David, circus performer and landscape designer, L’homme arbre is inspired by mangrove trees and proposes the evolution of a half human, half plant presence - a mystery which breathes and balances on unfixed canes.
A eulogy of slowness, of a distant time to that of humans, of destitution. A return to the essence of the circus and humanity. This sensitive research casts a sideways look at human beings and ‘normality’; at those who appear monstrous to us; and at the rooting and uprooting of man, animals and vegetation. L'homme arbre is the basis for the project 'Le Cirque Vegetal' - a space for reflection, research and creation based on a circus/garden.
The ambition of this project, set in the heart of La Courneuve, is to create a dynamic of exchanges around vegetation. This will be achieved by way of a series of residences, research and workshops conducted amongst and between the area’s inhabitants, green spaces and centres of art, science and education.
ÇA PÈTE, ÇA PÈTE PAS?
‘Ca pete, ça pete pas ?’ or ‘Ya’ Blown’ it up or not ?’ Series of actions, think-tanks and workshops organized by artist Monte Laster, concerning the impending demolition of the government housing building ‘Balzac’. These will take place from within the building, in the surrounding green spaces, and at the Joliot-Curie Elementary School, located at its base.
For over four years, the state and city have been planning the destruction of ‘Balzac’, a massive complex which has borne witness to drug-dealing, violence and a series of murders. In 2005, a politician was once famously moved to comment about ‘cleaning the scum out with a pressure-washer’.
This project attempts to accompany the local population through the emotional and psychological impact of this hugely desired, yet much debated, demolition. The work will act as a catalyst, inviting the input of concerned professionals including architects, urban planners and teachers. This process will be photographed and filmed, leading to the production of a video installation.
This is a project on the theme of water and water issues: its history, its future and especially its importance. The children in the classes of CM1 at Robespierre Elementary School in La Courneuve participated in multiple workshops that engaged them in the topic of water conservation. In the workshops, the children made installations that could recover rainwater that fell in the area, planted chestnuts, and had a discussion on the topic and underlying themes.
AQUA: ABONDANCE II
This was a "fooding" dinner on July 4, 2009 with chef Pascale Ducreau in which ideas and solutions about the importance of water were discussed. The event began with a video presentation which then led into a discussion around this topic. The participants included: local politicians, artists, architects and members of the FACE Association.
PRINTEMPS DES POÈTES
This was an event was held at the Moulin Fayvon on March 13, 2009 in collaboration with Kazem Shahryari, an Iranian poet in residence, along with two additonal Iraqi musicians. Our "Spring of Poets" day also included a meal made by women of Chinese origin from La Résidence du Parc.
This event allowed people who were learning French to both meet artists who also knew very little French as well as enhance their knowledge of art.
F.A.C.E. constantly seeks to create meetings such as this one in which the existing cultural diversity can be shared between cultural subgroups, thereby pushing the usual barriers found in other cities.
RAP 93 AND WW
This project was designed to help young rappers from the city of La Courneuve make video montages and photos for a blog that will allow to promote their music.
During this process, the rappers worked with the architect Olivier Boucheron to design a space, entitled "Writing Workshop," dedicated to writing rap. This space would be located in the heart of the city and open to the public.
Following this work, the project was presented in the summer of 2009 with the assistance of the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
This interactive exhibition was a presentation of all of FACE's completed projects between 2007 and 2009.
The projects featured included: Futures histoires, Destruction/Creation, Aqua, Le monde des bêtes, Rêver, Polylogues, Chœur divisé, Le cycle, Karnivorus, Traces and Urbaniste toi-même.
During this exposition, round table panels with both stakeholders and the inhabitants of La Courneuve were also held to reflect on past projects, discuss both future projects, and determine how to improve the impact of actions. These panels were also held in the United States
As a true artistic laboratory of urban practices, the Karnivorus project is expressed by a series of works on biodiversity in urban areas. This project was led by Monte Laster in collaboration with a specialist in carnivorous plants named Alain Kern. The final project is the result of work carried out with school children Robespierre in La Courneuve. The children were given the roots to raise in incubators. They observed their growth by keeping a journal and were left to discover on their own that they were carnivorous plants.
The installation was created for the Palais de Tokyo and was featured in the Banlieue is Beautiful exhibition.
TROP BELLE POUR TOI
This workshop was hosted under the theme of education and prevention. The goal of FACE in this workshop was to educate young residents of La Courneuve on the problems of our society.
The participants were able to make artwork by etching on glass plates and making candle holders with old car parts. The photographs taken and the glass art pieces made at this workshop are kept at the Moulin Fayvon.
F.A.C.E. organized an urban walk that allowed both inhabitants and parents who had children in the Robespierre elementary school in the city of Courneuve, to experience the city of 4000 Nord physically and virtually. In the virtual sense, the participants were exposed toan interactive multimedia installation, accompanied by audio commentary via MP3. Physically, FACE arranged a walk that took participants throughout the 4000 Nord neighborhood.
URBANISTE TOI-MÊME: CENTRE DE LOISIRS LOUISE MICHEL
This workshop on urban studies was the last of a three part project. This project component was conducted with the children of Louise Michel elementary school. The children imagined the future of the Moulin Fayvon and its surroundings through drawings and sculpture collages. This workshop took place in both their school and at the Moulin Fayvon
The work done by students is kept at the Moulin Fayvon.
URBANISTE TOI-MÊME: ESA / ECOLE SPECIALE DE L'ARCHITECTURE
In this second workshop of the Urbaniste Toi-Même project, FACE worked in collaboration with schools that focus on architecture, landscape and art. Specifically, we worked with Saint Martin's-London, l'école spéciale d'architecture, l'école spéciale d'architecture of Belleville Paris, and the National School of Architecture and Landscape of Brussels.
This project allowed students to think and create projects that would be feasible in La Courneuve with a reflection on and comparison with real projects that were culminating there.
URBANISTE TOI-MÊME: LIEU NON-LIEU
This workshop was the first of three workshops in a larger project called Urbaniste Toi-même, which focused on the micro-urbanism of La Courneuve. These projects center on the idea that the participants are city planners for La Courneuve.
The students in this particular workshop focused on the distinction between a "place" and a "non-place." They reflected on the idea that a "non-place" is a run-down area that is neglected by the public or the city. They then proposed architectural projects or renovation ideas for the places that they deemed "non-places" in La Courneuve. The goal of this project was to improve the perception that the participants had of their existing environment.
FACE hosted a "fooding" dinner in collaboration with Pascal Ducreau that centered on the theme of dreams and the future of Mill Fayvon. Politicians, artists, architects, landscape architects, and international philosophers came together in collaboration with Stalker in Italy.
Large sheets of paper in the workshop of the Moulin Fayvon were used for sketches, tracing, and noting ideas. Drafts and plans were sketched throughout the dinner. These sketches remain at FACE.
TRACES: BALADES URBAINES
In this second workshop of the proposed urban walk project, children of the 4000 Nord and "The Flash" football team traced the journey of "The Croult" River in the town of La Courneuve with the help of a plotter of sports fields.
Participants also included Monte Laster and both Ms. Huy and Ms. Christelle Jean-Baptiste Fernande, who are teachers at the Ropespierre elementary school.
Histoires de resistance a la Courneuve
Monsieur Boste is the last surviving resistor from WWII, and we worked to both record his memories of the American liberation effort in La Courneuve in an audio/visual format as well as archive of all of his photos from that period. A new visual record and an archive of vintage photos documenting the work of the American troops at the end of the Second World War were produced.
In this workshop, FACE brought together professionals (musicians, composers, singers) and amateur hip-hop music artists. With the help of these professionals, these amateurs designed and recorded a sound piece that mixed hip-hop records and baroque. These same amateur rappers performed a concert in front of the Verlaine building in 4000 Nord during the Chœurs divisés concert on August 21, 2008.
This workshop was part of the larger Abondance II project that attempts to build the social bond within the 4000 Nord. In this perspective, FACE relies on multiple workshops to implement operations on "proximity" to bring together the energies of the residents of 4000 Nord. These actions are an opportunity for people to participate in the enhancement of their quality of life with people outside the 4000 Nord, such as professional artists and social activists and cultural leaders.
This was one of two workshops that addressed the theme of the cycle of life. Six trips were made on a litte train in the town of La Courneuve with students from Robespierre elementary school and the Joliot-Curie school as well as Monte Laster and other, external participants. These trips retraced the cycle of life and emphasized conservation efforts.
This intervention series led by Melik Ohanian, an artist of Armenian origin, was held every Saturday afternoon during the month of October, 2008 at the Moulin Fayvon. At these interventions, many debates concerning various issues were facilitated and discussions grew from these debates. aparticipants included: directors of art centers, museum directors, gallery directors, artists, and planners of the Ile de France.
FACE organized this concert on September 21, 2008 in front of the building Verlaine in La Courneuve. The concert was the culmination of several months of work between three rap groups of Courneuve (Lc Crew, Talent Lyrical, and The Majestik) and a baroque vocal ensemble that explores the Venetian repertory of Cori Spezzati.
93120 SUPERS HÉROS
The workshop "93120 Superheroes" consisted of thirty children of the association Synergy + in a quarter known as the "Residence Park" in the northern suburbs of La Courneuve. We asked children to envision themselves as a superhero with a unique power, and then to imagine how their lives would change with their power. They then drew their heroes, and animated a story using stop motion animation. Two videos were created from the project.
This workshop was developed in 2007 as a collaboration between the inhabitants of the town of La Courneuve and various artists and professionals, such as Gilles Clement, Jerome Jacquemin, Laurence Vielle and Monte Laster. These discussions centered around creation and destruction and took place on the wasteland of the former Ravel building, which had been recently destroyed in Courneuve.
NUIT DE FÊTE
This workshop was conducted in the geographical context of the "Mesh Fontenay" in the city of 4000 in La Courneuve. It was organized in cooperation with children from the ASAD association who were 4-12 years old. A South African photographic association, Vanberk Vivian, led this adventure in conjunction with Monte Laster.
This is a project that was held with 22 students from one of the CE1 classes at the Joliot-Curie elementary school in La Courneuve. The children were able to express their vision of the future— both personally and collectively— through drawings, sculptures, texts or just words. This resulted in an archive of various documents, sculptures, sounds, videos, and photos made during the course of the workshop.
The workshop began with a questioning of the future through the writing of a fantasy story. Then, the students made self-portraits in clay. The hands of the children as they worked and their reviews after they were done were recorded. The outcome of this workshop will lead to the production of video and audio installation based on creativity.
LES GOUTTES DE LAIT
In 2003, FACE held an intervention with the children of the association "Ar Games" (an organization that supports schools) in the southern districts of the city of 4,000.
This workshop entitled "The drops of milk" was designed around the story of a building of the same name that is in the neighborhood of 4 routes in La Courneuve. During this project, the artist Monte Laster created a removable fountain (2.50m by 1m) designed around the theme of "the nourished mother."
It was built with expanded foam and other objects (flowers, butterflies, leaves, masks, etc.) made from different plastic materials. The fountain was designed with a sprinkler system of "drips" as in a garden to produce a "Grotto" effect; a recirculation pump served as the fountain's water supply, which was mixed with white paint to create a milk dripping effect.
This workshop was one of the first projects undertaken by FACE in 2002. It was a collaboration between Monte Laster and Vivian Vanberk with children from the Ar Jeux association, which supports schools in the southern districts of the "city of 4000." The objective of this work was to demonstrate that creation need not be resource heavy. We used the movie "Cirque Calder" as a basis for the workshop.