As part of The Aesthetic Experience project, the Evens Foundation and the research centre Theatrum Mundi establish the Voi[e,x,s] Research Fellowship to investigate how a shared aesthetic experience could make emerge forms of togetherness.
At the core of Voi[e,x,s], the creation of a new major sound art work, a collaboration between professional musicians and a group of residents - permanent and transient - of the Parisian La Chapelle area.
Whilst the disused railway depot known as Chapelle-Charbon begins its transformation into an urban park and housing, the opera company MDPA - Alexandra Lacroix, composer Marta Gentilucci, and Theatrum Mundi, the research center founded by Richard Sennett, propose to capture the history of this exceptional space, and create new memories for the people living in the neighbourhood.
The artists and researchers are building a new type of sound and performance work combining the names of local inhabitants with sonic materials derived from the site itself, taking the form of a multi-channel electro-acoustic installation and live vocal performance. Collaborating with groups from local schools, community centres, as well as newcomers and migrants from the nearby refugee camp, they have recorded hundreds of names that are made audible in the space as a way to mark the presence of the people they represent on a new public site that until now has been silent, empty and unknown.
With its first outcome culminating in a large-scale public performance in 2020, this project is a long-term process of artistic creation but also of knowledge production. The Evens Foundation, in partnership with Theatrum Mundi, has initiated and commissioned research integrated into the project. This research is aimed at developing an understanding of how performance could offer a set of creative and participative tools to enrich in the relationship between people and a brand new public space. In other words, how performance could be a kind of urban design in itself.
One of the key objectives of this research is the development of a critical handbook aimed at a broad audience of practitioners, public authorities, and citizens, showing how and why such a performance-making process affects people’s relationship with each other and their environment.