PEROU – Pôle d’Exploration des Ressources Urbaines
PEROU – Pôle d’Exploration des Ressources Urbaines live and work in Lyon, Marseille, and Paris, FR
Ris-Orangis, a suburb of Paris, spring 2013. A plot of land—among those referred to as vacant. A vacant lot is a place in the making, a potential place, waiting for something. But when men, women, and children decide to live there, out of necessity, to have a roof over their heads, to work, study, gather, and sometimes even dance, the mayor of the town issues a decree to interrupt what is vacant—up for grabs—about the lot. Municipal decree no. 2013/147 serves as a reminder about who the owner is and who has the power to issue an edict against the right to live. It gives voice to the various layers of regulation produced by certain human beings—rich inhabitants of Europe—which seemingly protect other human beings who are trying to live there in destitution and who have had to invent their own way of staying alive, of breathing, of laughing. The decree reminds us of the fragility of the shanties, the risks of fire and electrocution, the proximity of the highway—in short, the dangers that threaten these lives. And yet it does not care for these lives, because they are forbidden. It only protects those who enact violence against what is alive, what constitutes society, on this vacant lot. What the film shows, the decree ignores—this is not its story.
Everything that was built here will ultimately be destroyed. This is the performative power of the decree. On April 3, 2013, at 6 am, the civilian police disperse those who live here, and the excavators get to work. They turn the shantytown back into a lifeless, vacant lot. What remains are the images of celebrations and the knowledge that will have to be transported elsewhere in order to continue imagining lives in the interstices of this version of Europe.
Dans le Tourbillon du Tout-Monde, 2020, Académie de France à Rome – Villa Medici, Rome (IT)
Réinventer Calais. Commande photographique CNAP-PEROU, 2019, Centre Photographique d’Île-de-France, Pontault-Combault (FR) (solo)
16th Venice Biennale of Architecture: Freespace, 2018, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice (IT)
Des Actes, 2018, Le Consulat Gaïté, Paris (FR) (solo)
15th Venice Biennale of Architecture: Reporting from the Front, 2016, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice (IT) (solo)