Le petit cinema (the small cinema) Roubaix, Lille, France 2004

 

“Le petit cinema” (the small cinema) first came into being in Roubaix, Lille, France in July 2004.

Roubaix, cette chose etranger peut etre serai une des choses plus interessant dans tous la monde, cest pour vous et votre endroit.

Roubaix; this strange thing could be one of the most interesting things in all the world, its for you and your area.

In summer 2004 about 500 of the EASA community were invited to live in a near derelict, huge, old factory called “La Condicion Publique” for 2 weeks to participate in a festival of local utopias, “Petit Utopia”, in the North of France. Patrick Bouchain was the architect responsible for the revitalisation of this massive old structure in what was seen then as a “troubled neighbourhood”, Roubaix, in an old part of Lille. Patrick Bouchain invited the EXYZT collective to help build a living structure out of scaffolding to house the 500 young people who travelled from all over Europe, at the end of this report you can watch their videos about these experiments in structure and space.

The organisers objective was that the EASA groups would create a series of 2 week workshops that would hopefully lead to more of the local community in the neighbourhood becoming involved in the space. As time went on tensions grew between the community living inside the walls of the old factory and the local community in the streets outside. Sadly, some of the EASA workshops were shut down by the “La Condicion Publique” collective due to the view that they were not interacting sufficiently with the local communities, treating the safe space within as a playground of sorts, a safe space, away from the dangers lurking outside. At one stage the nightly football games that had been happening in the football pitch in the street near the factory had to be cancelled due to threats of violence. In the end, these tensions were resolved by simply speaking to the locals in a more respectful way, understanding the local dynamics around games on the pitch, which is a shared space, and an invitation to the local young lads to participate with the EASA community in a local world cup of sorts. This little act of conflict resolution led to the forming of a bond between the local youths and one of the workshops “The Wandering Workshop”, which further led to some small and lovely things happening later. Here is a small 10cm flyer that was given out in La CP about these goings on:

irish_lads_save_the_day

Irish lads save the day
For some time this evening it seemed as if the EASA world cup was finished. Rumours circulated that 3 footballs were stolen and organisers felt it unwise to continue with the games, on hearing this terrible news the stubborn Irish, were were now kitted out for the game, went out and sorted the problem: They talked with the young lads and the lads in the mosque across the road. The games were back on, Ireland beat the Slovenians and then were gracious in their defeat to the superior skills of the local Roubaix footballers in a close 5-4 defeat.
EASA – You’ll never beat the Irish

In reality, problems are just opportunities for positive change and creativity. By stepping in to sort “the footy problem”, an open dialogue was initiated with the community which led to deeper understanding of the local dynamics of the neighbourhood and the people living there. What had been a major node of production during the industrial revolution in the north of France had gone into major decline in recent decades, this led to the old working class French community moving out and being replaced by a majority Muslim immigrant community, mostly from the North African countries of Algeria and Morocco. There were feelings of racism and lack of support from the French authorities as well as some real problems in the area with gangs and violence, which the local community were addressing and trying to resolve. So when “The Wandering Workshop” stepped in and invited the locals to enter the old factory to participate in some projects, there was a supportive nod of approval from the elders. Abdal, Riad, Fabriz, Giay and four other young kids came in from DEHORS, the french word for outside, la Conditon Publique. They explored the different EASA projects and talked about various aspects of their culture, such as how the culture of stitching  was still popular amongst the African-French community, even with the men and boys, a tradition long lost in much of “Modern Europe”. This dialogue led to a wonderful moment where both groups decided to make something together, to combine the skills from the streets with the resources and space within the factory wall. They agreed to create a tapestry, “The Roubaix Tapestry” with those stitching techniques of North Africa, to make a map of where everybody had come from.

Overall the 2 weeks was a great open experiment. The EASA gang had a great time and learned many things. Hopefully their input helped in exciting the local community to take control of “their” space. Below are communications from that time, remember there was no social media then and we had to rely on the few basic online communication spaces we were building and using like blogs and indymedia. Here is a short video about some of the experiments from “The Wandering Workshop ” and the creation of “Le petit cinema” (the little cinema) during a short few, wonderful and intense days of life in “La Condicion Publique“.

Merci Roubaix

ALLEZ LES PIRATES!!!
(LONG LIVE THE PIRATES)

Dunk, Curitiba, Brazil 2016

Links:

** Informal communications during the 2 weeks:

Presented workshop: THE WANDERING WORKSHOP
A-B, know where B is, direct route in today’s world.
Wander: leave a, don’t know where are what b is, the journey is the important.

@ 13 people signed up, vague, liked the looseness and openness of workshop, possibility of much the crossover with other workshops, idea that it could go anywhere and was interacting very much with the outside world with the intention of encouraging them to come to “la condition publique” and from that that they could start to participate with the workshops therein

A shopping trolly was found and so also was a large amount of material, with some messing about in the street an idea developed and soon it had become a reality: a shopping trolley with a box and a little tail: le petit cinema was born.

3 turks, 2 paddys and a romanian left the building with the trolley, more chatting was had and a very nice bizzare an ominous thing happened when the group was discussing the idea of new agora and thinking of where to do it when we stumbled on a public space complete with old temple to screen projetions on, connections with indymedia were attempted, the EASA radio group and others. The original plan was to take the trolly into lille and do the cinema there, we went onto the tram and some people thought that the metro would be quicker so we upped and out, down to the metro and we turned we were forbid from going on due to the trolly, so after a bit of talk we left, back up to the ground level, minus our turkish girls.

We walked up and down the main street with the trolly and at the top did a little bit of “theatre of the oppressed” the radical communication tool devised in brazil by augusto boal, we got some looks, none of the participants had done this before

We walked down the street, it was @ 6.50 and we could not get any juice, so we crossed over the street and the turkish lads said they needed a break so they went away, we stayed for a beer and asked a turkish kebab shop nearby could we plug in, they said the cord was not long enough so we headed home.

Went out for a few beers and then had the idea to go over to the shop on the street corner and we asked him could we PLUG IN, he was very decent and said yes, so we did, about 20 EASA people came out and watched it, some of the kids came over and so too did the adults of the area, we started with planxty, then picked things up with “padre pio” from the warlords of pez, then indymedia dublin’s “the need for independent workshops” …..

Wandering workshop report, the story so far…

The first one put on inside the condition publique; to the EASAians, as it was more important for us to work with the outside world,

EASA and the architectural community are in a position to improve things
for the most part i do not like these communities as they are not interested in trying to really change things

those working for global justice are the ones that inspire me; it is a pleasure to work with them, it is only a matter of time before the ark community realise whats going on, or what went on,
hopefully they wont just read about it in books but they will actually be part of the growing network that is changing the world

Allez les pirates



The Diary of the wandering workshop…..

Sunday
Arrived

Monday
Met mayor, drinky drinky breakfast, presented workshop:
a-b, know where b is, direct route in todays world
wnader, leave a, don’t know where are what b is, the journey is the important
@ 13 people signed up, vaque, liked the looseness and openess of workshop, possibility of much the crossover with other workshops, idea that it could go anywhere and was interacting very much with the outside world with the intention of encouraging them to come to la condition publique and from that that they could start to participate with the workshops therein. Also the idea that the main road was to become an openevolving gallery with possibility of others interaction
night of drinking

Tuesday
The group that formed outside in the street were eoin (ireland), octavian (romanian), luis (el salvador), alper (turkey), alece (italy) duncan (ireland). We also qiuckly claimed space, that of the fence under the outside of the office in the main street for the exhibition.
@ 2.00 the first idea was given out -ART
octavian (romanian), luis (el salvador), alper (turkey), alece (italy) duncan (ireland) went for the first wander, down through the streets to the canal. We met some fishermen and talked a bit then sat on a timber deck alongside the canal and had a general talk about art and where it fits in to life etc
more on that later
we left and went into a corridor of life, lovely little urban surprise, then into a corner café and had a beer and another chat, went up a street and there was a corner building with its door knocked down and kids playing around it, we talked a bit with them and they told us that it was only opened recently and was a place for them to play.
I was on the door so used it as an opportuniny for some “new agora” work, books were put up, a few films were played, discussions were had- powers of ten, radical priorities-noam chomsly, age of consent- george monbiot, network age, asterix, socrates in the agora, tao te ching-lao tzu, indymedia festival dublin may 04
Back outside for sunset and watching the life outside, the people sitting outside their buildings and comings and goings, a gentle subvert was done of a bus shelter add, the woman in an embrace now said “oui, j’adore la famille d’EASA” and “quest ce que cest la chose plus interessante dans tous la monde?” a few kids cycled up and we had chats with them as to what was going on, we told them that hopefully there would be a chance for them to make some tv soon, flyers were given out.
More boozing
A fine night was had @ the romanian cube, a shopping trolloy was picked up by lucy (england) and she picked duncan up and drove him around, he insisted on been driven around the islands and required an oar for getting through the sea, a sing song happened and a considerable amount of the romanian booze palinka was consumed, with octavian being the chief supplier, rumours are that he brought 1 whole suitcase of it with him?

Wednesday
Up around 8- the “heavy palinka manifesto” was written and printed, first things were added to EASA blog, and first post to indymedia lille.
Printouts were made and put on exhib space
A shopping trolly was found and so also was a large amount of material, with some messing about in the street an idea developed and soon it had become a reality: a shopping trolley with a box and a little tail: le petit cinema was born.
3 turks, 2 paddys and a romanian left the building with the trolley, more chatting was had and a very nice bizzare an ominous thing happened when the group was discussing the idea of new agora and thinking of where to do it when we stumbled on a public space complete with old temple to screen projetions on, connections with indymedia were attempted, the EASA radio group and others. The original plan was to take the trolly into lille and do the cinema there, we went onto the tram and some people thought that the metro would be quicker so we upped and out, down to the metro and we turned we were forbid from going on due to the trolly, so after a bit of talk we left, back up to the ground level, minus our turkish girls.
We walked up and down the main street with the trolly and at the top did a little bit of “theatre of the oppressed” the radical communication tool devised in brazil by augusto boal, we got some looks, none of the participants had done this before
We walked down the street, it was @ 6.50 and we could not get any juice, so we crossed over the street and the turkish lads said they needed a break so they went away, we stayed for a beer and asked a turkish kebab shop nearby could we plug in, they said the cord was not long enough so we headed home.
Went out for a few beers and then had the idea to go over to the shop on the street corner and we asked him could we PLUG IN, he was very decent and said yes, so we did, about 20 EASA people came out and watched it, some of the kids came over and so too did the adults of the area, we started with planxty, then picked things up with “padre pio” from the warlords of pez, then indymedia dublin’s “the need for independent workshops” …..
Then a little more drinking and messing till the wee hours

Thursday
Received “network laws” from alex, wrote law 5- “selforganisation” on a timber plank, hoiste d on top of the shed beside the kitchen and the scaffold otherside, thereby making the “network portal”. Tried to Organise ourselves and eventually we went outside, plugged in, powered up, made some more posters for the bus shelter
“roubaix, cette chose etranger est ce peur vous et votre endroit special, je pens que peut etre que il serai une des endroits dans toud la mande, enshallah”
we left and went into the main street again, eoin, octavian, dunk, isabelle, french lady in a rush. We got there and bumped into a few of the lithuanian mad hatters and their mellon, we went to the stairs to the car park with the elecricity, we plugged in but there was no power for us so we moved down to regis who allowed us to use his elec source, he has the confectonary shop.
We unrolled the carpet, @ 30metres and hooked the end up over the urban furniture, street lights, bins, metro signs. The security guards came and asked us what we were doing and that this was private property, we just said we were with condition publique and continued doing what we were at. Eventually the boss/ chef of the shopping zone came over, (we had planxty on the go by this stage) we had a grand chat result of which was he said more or less “this is great, if you want to do it again, give me a call we can sort electricity and chairs for you”.
Later the main guy from the metro station came up and we had to fold back the carper
This all was a great lesson, as rather than talking about the issues of hidden layers to urbanism the workshop learned them by doing something that provoked a very real reaction, the methods of commmunication are also hugely important and perhaps something that is overlooked in the architectural schools.
It was here that we came up with the name “le petit cinema” and a few of the kids on the street helped us make the sign.
We also stuck down a plastic sheet with the photos of the theatre of the oppressed from the previous day, alongwith rule5 again.
We showed the imc mayday film
A few people talked with us and we told them about the condition publique, what we were trying to do etc. a few young lads stopped and watched the films. We then folded up and headed up to get some beer, the 3 of us went into the geant shopping centre with the trolly but were asked to leave because we had the trolly so eoin went out and octavian and duncan went and got a load of pirate beer. We then walked down, eoin went back and o and d sat on a step, they had a beer and met a few polish girls, then a homeless man came over as they were playing with a map of europe and playing with the idea of making a giant map. It was then that the next idea was thrown out: “le monde”. They said they would draw it the next day and that the homeless man who was from casablanca would be the first to draw his route.
They left to come back to the condition publique, but that was not to be……..
The lads decided to drive up the nice road with the trolly, the one with the building that was open, they arrive up and the door had been filled in, it was about 9.00 at this time, they asked the kids what was the story, a family left it 2 months ago, junkies moved in and they had been sent out the previous day, they then asked us what was in the trolly, we got chatting, and even though we were quite shattered and hungry we said “fuck it, will we show the “petit cinema” again. So we opened up and put on a few animations, one of their families took in the “tail” the electricity cable and we set up, egg cartons for seats. It was a really really lovely thing to be able to do, we asked them about their cats and dogs andsaid we would like to make a little film about life on “rue de desbonnes”
Arrived home and cracked open the pirates, then as one man said “all hell broke loose”, we arrived and had missed dinner (again) so we said we would open up the cinema again, we put on indymedia mayday film and it was followed by quite a heated discussion, later we put on globalisation and the media, apparantely things went on till 3am and calls were made at the noise??
Its all a little hazy, the pirates, the wine, the rest is to blame……..

(See film above for how things progressed from here, emergency meeting dealing with the calls to the police and the subsequent “petit cinema” action in the streets.)

https://i2.wp.com/www.indymedia.ie/attachments/jul2004/heavy_palinka_manifesto_2.jpg

** The Roubaix tapestry

@ 3 days ago abdal, riad, fabriz, giay and @ 4 other kids from dehors (outside) la condition publique entered into the buildings public street and together with EASA people the roubaix tapestry was started

as tutor of the “wandering workshop” i felt this was one of the most important workshops to happen, having talked considerably with laurent, manu, monsieur albatros and the team francais giant, i gathered that C;P hoped that we, EASA, might be able to make something magic happen, that perhaps we could make very direct strong connections with the buildings surroundings and with that create a situation whereby the people started to interact and use the building more, in time it would become their playspace.

roubaix, cette chose etranger peut etre serai une des choses plus interessant dans tous la monde, cest pour vous et votre endroit,
roubaix; this strange thing could be one of the most interesting things in all the world, its for you and your area

above is what i wrote on my second evening here at the condition publiaue; i had hoped EASA would really interact with the city and the people, some workshops did but i think overall it is a bit disapointing,
maybe easa and architecture will always only be a playground?

anyway we in wandering workshop tried our best…

but due to a petit incident the workshop was interupted
i will be coming back in septe,ber to finsih, or at least continue where i left off this time…….

beidh me arais
inshallah


Never mind the Bayeaux tapestry

Heres the Roubaix tapestry

Or the beginnings of it at least

*** Further areas to be written about:

  • Solving the problems.. CP says EASA fuck off.
  • 1 Workshop has been ended by CP because…
  • “Mom, I made art last night..” the creation of the “wandering workshop” video
  • Come to la CP
  • LINKS: EASA poster in Lahinch

**  EXYZT VIDEOS: EASA 2004

  • THE COLLECTIVE CONSTRUCTION GAME …
  • LIVING IN THE MICROPOLITAN SPACE CHEAP ! …

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