Crate Programme : Lille Residency with Art Connexion
Posted by admin on 2007/1/15 22:22:18 (1634 reads)
Emma Leach spent one month living and working in central Lille as Artist in Residence, the first cross channel link between Crate and Lille-based organisation artconnexion. www.artconnexion.org
With no specific outcome for this month, it was a period of research and reflection, of meeting people and forging possible networks for future practice. Away from the usual distractions on British soil, the artist found herself wandering the streets, somewhat like the character of the flaneur that has interested her for several years. She was situated somewhere between a resident and a tourist, with a status and feeling of place that changed as the month went on, and the work she produced during her stay reflects a highly ambivalent sense of community / boundaries, of belonging / isolation. Linked to this was her interest in Lille’s traditional stance as the socialist heartland of France.
Following on from a project started in Kent, Emma Leach became very interested in Lille’s courtroom, the Palais de Justice. She spent many days sitting through tribunals, or just observing people in the corridors, listening to footsteps, whispers and shuffling papers as well as the language she could not understand. After having her official request ignored, the artist concealed equipment in her (slightly modified) bag and covertly made sound recordings throughout the building.
In another typically covert act, Emma Leach planted 250 tiny red elephants around the streets of Lille one morning, forming a ‘trail of breadcrumbs’ or border line along a pre-determined route. These elephants disappeared almost as quickly as they appeared, picked up by curious passers-by.
On a different day the artist sat by the fountain in the Place du General de Gaulle, her eyes and hands bound with red material. Approached by no-one but feeling vulnerable, she became intensely aware of the sounds in Lille’s main square: the fountain, the wheeled bags pulled over uneven pavement, the occasional siren passing and becoming distant. In a time when covered parts of the body are (particularly in the UK) taken to be politically aggressive, Emma Leach removed the means of defending herself from attack.
Emma Leach is currently living and working in Essex and will return to Lille in the spring to develop these ideas.