A space for initiatives
The destruction of an HLM bar in Chenôve (suburb of Dijon), intended to aerate an excessively dense urban planning, has liberated a vast space in the centre of a ZUP. The municipality has accepted that the Fondation de France be involved in the reflection with a view to the development of this space by a contemporary artist. A group of patrons was formed with local residents, the Chenôve youth association, the housing home for the elderly (Logement foyer mutualiste Georges Sand). This group, after having been strongly involved in drafting specifications for the artist by conducting a field survey of local residents, decided in favour of a collective space, a place to meet, relax and play.
The American artist Vito Acconci came to the home for the elderly to present his work to the group of patrons who were convinced. Particularly sensitive to the context and its inhabitants, Acconci has agreed to study this development and to propose a first project. This was amended according to customary and budgetary criteria specified in the negotiations with the patrons and the municipality. Three models were successively created in 1993 by the artist while an exhibition of his work related to the development of public space, including the projects for Chenôve, was held at the Consortium's Art Centre. In the end, the mayor did not take action, wishing not to "politically" assume the risk of such an investment in an area where social tension had increased.
The mediator proposes to involve the American artist Vito Acconci. Active since the late 1960s, he conceived his first works as minimalist actions in the landscape. Since 1970, he has been using his body to experiment with manipulations and transformations in space, and has filmed them. An important artist of body art and video art, he nevertheless ceased to be physically involved in his projects in 1974. Acconci designs projects for public spaces: its complex installations often integrate materials from urban life adjusted to the human body to create furniture to inhabit the urban environment.