From Hand to Hand Project

Through the Roadblocks – Paris

From Hand to Hand project is curated for NeMe’s Through the Roadblocks and takes place in France’s regional cultural centres and especially those situated in the outer suburbs of Paris which are ten times larger in population than the centre. It involves the dissemination of a specifically designed post card which requires a written or verbal response from the participant to the question What does the phrase ‘Through the Roadblocks’ mean to you?

Although there are no acknowledged borders in the conventional sense; there is nevertheless, a division between the centre and the periphery, even though they are situated only a few minutes apart from the ring road which separates them. This is because the ring road of Paris acts as an unintentional demarcation line, as a kind of uninhabited zone.

Visiting these places around Paris with the question of borders in mind gives the opportunity to have a more analytical point of view of the area especially the relationship to the established cultural centres and their visitors. The dialogue between these factors reveals several interesting aspects and observations: for example, art centers considered to belong to the periphery are actually geographically close to the center and it is our perception that places them as afar, inaccessible and isolated. Furthermore, and according to the Directors of these centres, attendance at events is mainly from outside the immediate vicinity with little local support and interaction.

Acknowledging that the outlying suburbs of Paris do have more urgent issues to address, this project nonetheless, aims to investigate what is the role, focus and interaction of these cultural centres with those from central Paris.

The methodology used in From Hand to Hand is to engage in direct dialogue, it is a more dynamic action and contributes to immediately create discussion and exchange of ideas between people. That’s why the postcard is delivered personally by the curator, from hand to hand, thus forming a discourse that may be seen as both a real and symbolic chain between the participants. Because of the manual nature and intimacy of this project, the element of “slow time” comes into operation which is used here as a direct avoidance of media technology, so pervasive in our society including the art world. Without using intermediaries, From Hand to Hand overcomes the use of any third parties, making communication and exchange a vibrant, personal and immediate process.

Special attention will be given to the collection of archival material comprising of the participants’ testimonies and experiences. This documentation is an essential component of this project as it will serves to focus the aspects of separation characterising the ambiguous and often neglected spaces comprising the periphery.

Curator: Andri Michael

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