Les enfants d’abord ! 2018
Directed by Sylvain Huet / Avis d’Eclaircies
The Children Matter exhibition brings together artists who interrogate the place that contemporary society accords to the child, and, through this, the fundamental values of the adult world and its models of education and transmission. The exhibition lays out a non-exhaustive panorama of the visions of artists, philosophers, theorists and architects whose productions raise questions around emancipation.
Several works presented at the LiFE seek out ways of giving the floor to children. In Ane Hjort Guttu’s video Freedom Requires Free People, young Jens, reluctant to the school system, has a liberated speech which seems to point out a paradox: how can you learn to be free when educational models (in the family and at school) imply a relationship of subordination?
The success of alternative educational models like those of Freinet or Montessori, and a renewed interest in Jacques Rancière’s The Ignorant Schoolmaster, has highlighted the notions of reciprocity and equality in the acquisition of knowledge. Artists and art institutions have picked this up in recent years in the ‘educational turn’: a collaborative way of working in which art becomes a knowledge-producing space and education a possible space for creation. Developed using this approach, Adelita Husni-Bey’s Postcards from the Desert Island shows the limits of this freedom offered to children. Similarly, Marie Preston’s installation Un compodium proposes to think about new forms of collaboration between the different actors that accompany the child’s life.
In his book Taking Care of Youth and the Generations, Bernard Stiegler points to a generational inversion: adults taking less and less responsibility in the face of their children’s consumption of the ‘programme industries’ (television, cinema, Internet and video games). These tools to produce and sell ‘lifestyle’ consider the child as a target for marketing. In their own way, Priscila Fernandes and Liz Magic Laser draw the invisible thread between liberal economy and individual freedom, which crosses current generations. Priscila Fernandes’s video For a Better World reveals the excesses of business and commerce in conditioning children for the 21st century economy. The young boy shown in The Thought Leader by Liz Magic Laser uses personal development methods derived from business management to address an adult audience, returning to them the absurdity of the situation and the search for meaning of our society of the performance.
Finally, a new forum and knowledge sharing structure has been conceived for the centre of the exhibition, that articulates documents, texts and archive material gathered by three researchers around the theme of childhood and the urban environment. Evoking several important historical experiments (the architect Ricardo Dalisi, the district of La Villeneuve in Grenoble …) this central space testifies to the way in which the questions of the society on the educational models reflect and incarnate in the social space of the city, through the built forms of playgrounds or school architecture, across Europe and in Saint-Nazaire.
With a programme of events to discover the rich and compelling history of the debate around education, the exhibition Children Matter proposes to consider recent artistic approaches, without concession on our current world which strongly recall the topicality of these questions and the urgency to seize them.
Exhibition curators: Sophie Legrandjacques (chief curator), Amélie Evrard, Laureline Deloingce
The Forum is made with the contributions of:
Marie Preston, Artist and Research-Teacher at Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis (AIAC/ Teamed).
Aurélien Vernant, Art and Architecture Historian, Author and independent Curator ; Associated Curator of La Biennale d’architecture d’Orléans (2017).
Marie-Laure Viale, Art Historian, Curator in contemporary art public, Co-director of the association Entre-deux (Nantes).
8 min 19 s
Video installation, SD video transferred to DVD
22 min 23 s
Oil on canvas
150 x 250 cm
KADIST's collection, Paris
Featuring actor: Alex Ammerman.
Script written by Liz Magic Laser and inspired by Carnets du sous-sol (1864) of Fiodor Dostoïevski
Coach vocal: Kristian Nammack
Directors of photography: Chris Heinrich et Tom Richmond
Sound engineer: Nikola Chapelle
Sound mixing: Scott Benzel
Sound effects editor: Molly Fitzjarrald
Calibration: Alejandro Wilkins
Production manager: Anna Riley
Production assistants: Esther Hayes, Jasmine Kyoko and Samantha Rosner
Film shot at Kickstarter, Brooklyn, NY
Extras: Cole Akers, Kelela Blake, Tyler Booker, Travis Branch, Virginia Ferrer, Sein Gay, Jessica Gallucci, Ryan Healey, Joseph Henry, Minki Hong, Kelvin Lofton, Rebekah Loy, Roberto Mugnai, Job Piston, James Pyecka, Mike Quinn, Hobson Riley, Khalid Rivera, Alexis Rosenbaum, Malaika Said, Stephanie Samford, Noriko Sato, Isaiah Seward, Charlii Tv, Alex Xenos et Liz Zito
Thanks to Kathy Ammerman, Sanya Kantarovsky, Owen Katz, Ken Laser, Ella Maré, Fabrice Nadjari, Wendy Osserman, Chadwick Rantanen, Anna Riley, Hobson Riley, Hong-An Truong, Esther Kim Varet, Joseph Varet, Tomasz Werner, Kate Wilson, Spencer Wolff et Kickstarter
Courtesy Various Small Fires, Los Angeles and Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam
French adaptation: Production CAC Brétigny
Translation: Adèle Jacques
Installation, wood, color photograph laminated on aluminum, steel, documents
201 x 60 x 190 cm
Production European School of Art of Brittany and CAC Brétigny
Born in 1981 in Portugal.
Lives and works in Rotterdam (Netherlands).
Ane Hjort Guttu
Born in 1971 in Oslo (Norvège) where she lives and works.
Born in 1985 in Italie.
Lives and works in New York.
The artist is represented by the Galerie Laveronica (Modica, Italy).
Liz Magic Laser
Born in 1981 ain New York where she lives and works.
Born in 1980.
Lives and works in Pantin (France).