ISSUE #18 – Art in practice

With modernity, the understanding of art practice has largely been reduced to the expression of individual subjectivity through the production of objects or events designed for institutions or the market. The two interviews in this feature testify to the revival of other approaches, in which art reclaims ancient functions linked to ritual and the creation of commons: an art by use.

Mathilde Chénin is the author of a PHD thesis (HEAD/EPFL) which she defended in 2022. In her thesis, Chénin examined the question of the future of art in communal life and art-practice experiences between artists. Using two examples of artists’ collectives and the tools of pragmatic sociology, she studied displacement as it takes place through use and in the imaginary within the common project of building a place to live and work.

Gene Ray’s interview with Isabelle Frémeaux and Jay Jordan focuses on their singular experience on the Notre-Dame-des-Landes “zad” (zone to defend) in the Loire-Atlantique region of France. The duo of artists, activists, researchers and educators have been living for several years in this zad, created to oppose the construction of an airport on this territory. Frémeaux and Jordan talk about their commitment to ecological activism as well as the various artistic experiments carried out in this space based on self-management. Art is very present in the zad and takes various forms, including that of a collective celebration of life through ritual. Frémeaux and Jordan also consider artistic pedagogy at large.


Forms of artists’ lives

Rural Riots, Animist Rituals and Teaching from the Territory