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In March 2014, Maresa von Stockert was invited by Le Fourneau, Centre National des Arts de la Rue, Brest, France to lead a workshop as part of the seminar “Arts et espace public” #2 – Un sens politique.

Maresa was assigned a group of university students from the UK and France: Charlotte Ackary Hawthorn, Michail Athinaios, Yulia Bardanos, Juliette Breton, Jeanne Bruxer, Emilie Le Cam, Evelyne Millière, Guillaume Rivoallon and Louis Roux. Their fields of study ranged from architecture to fine art, performing arts management to outdoor arts.

1 with borderThis is an insight by Maresa into the workshop she led from 17 – 19 March 2014:

“For three days I worked together with university students, from various countries and backgrounds, exploring a familiar space from an unfamiliar perspective. At the heart of the exploration was Place de la Liberté – a large public square in Brest, France.

The group and I wanted to be as open-minded and inclusive as possible in our exploration. Firstly, we looked at and talked about the space itself, its architecture, use, the positive and negative opinions of it and what we, as such a diverse group could do in that particular place.

3 with borderWe asked the public to contribute their thoughts about Place de la Liberté, via a facebook page specifically set-up as part of the project. In addition we interviewed passers by who traversed or paused in the square and those using it as a meeting point.

Having started with theoretical discussions on day 1 of the workshop, the group then became an active player in the space on days 2 and 3. I had brought small, flexible objects, such as cardboard and vinyl, with me into the space.  I am currently exploring their uses in a new piece for my company, touring in 2015. We utilised these items to transform the place and allow a curious re-investigation of, and response to, the surroundings. We wanted to draw the eye to the more hidden, or potentially less frequented areas of the space and highlight some of its architectural features in a playful way. 2 with borderAs we looked at the space from various perspectives, zooming in on many of its characteristics, we challenged our own initial pre-conceptions of the place.

We were happy for, and actively encouraged, members of the public to spontaneously join our playground of moving bodies and objects within the static architecture. Those people who we met for a few minutes or even hours during the 2 days, who talked and played with us in the space, contributed a great deal to our exploration and thoughts on Place de la Liberté.

4 with borderOn the 21st March we presented a short edited film showing a small fraction of our investigation. Not meant as an end product, but merely an insight into a research process, the film provides glimpses of our exploration. It shows one tiny facet of the endless creative possibilities one can discover on Place de la Liberté.”

The film can be viewed here. For further information about the seminar please visit Le Fourneau’s website.

The organisers and partners of the “Arts et espace public” seminar were: