Beaulieu campus building materials
The students of the Carrières Sociales IUT found that there was a lack of communication between individuals in a same year, those in different years (1st and 2nd year), and those studying for a DUT or an occupational degree. By commissioning a work of art by a contemporary artist, they wished to initiate change and to signify the spirit of openness driving their training. They argued that this approach should provide an opportunity to reassert certain values, such as getting to know one another, identifying as a group, and talking to one another. They therefore wanted to be actively involved in the creation of the work of art. The New Patrons programme can provide students with valuable commissioning experience. It allows them not only to follow a procedure and to participate in the creation of a work of art throughout their two years of training, but also to work, through the art, on the questions underlying their training, such as use (of space, norms, relations with other departments, etc.), time frames (with the creation of ties between training groups), the relay between the successive years, and the promotion of the renewal of practices in the socio-cultural field. The University of Rennes 1 campus consists of many widely scattered buildings surrounded by lawns, separated by roads for cars and pedestrian paths. Given this singular space and the lack of internal and external communication witnessed in the Social Careers department of the IUT, particular attention was paid to the geographic context and to the location of the work, so that it would be both visible and used by as many people as possible: students of the IUT (Social Careers and Business Management), staff from the other departments, contemporary art professionals and outside visitors. Apart from the open spaces and work process, the artist wanted to take into account the temporality of the university system, with a proposal that integrated the question of transmission to future students of the IUT. His artistic proposal can be seen as a perennial work or a temporary one to be reactivated periodically, for example annually. On a 40-cubic-metre proposal, the artist Lara Almarcegui was chosen by the sponsors to fulfil this commission.
The artist's intention "I find that on the Beaulieu campus, as in many towns, there's a missing link between the space's design and its users. I'd like people to be more aware of what's going on at the level of the design and construction of space; to offer students an experience that affords them a stronger relationship with the physical changes of the place. The campus is a place of transit. I'd like to work with the connection to the past and the history of the place, to give the students the possibility of building a stronger relationship between the area's past and future. The project has to be situated in its past-future tension. The buildings and materials' development will be affected by natural entropy and decomposition processes. The debris, the rubble, are changing. I'd like to look at how a construction, once it has decomposed and become a sculpture, connects with nature and the place. The question of the underground: What happens under a building? In a wasteland there are different more or less hidden levels of ground; they're interesting because they indicate the disappearance of former structures and the past of the place. But they also say something about the relationship with nature. At the foot of a building there are foundations, technical, electric, gas and water installations, etc., but there is also a natural ecosystem. It's important to talk about the relationship between the construction and the geological layers of the Beaulieu campus – a place of passage without much anchoring – where the buildings on piles don't seem to touch the ground. The question of the transmission of the project, after it's been produced. Sometimes students remember that there was a building on the campus buried under the lawn, that other people don't know about, or they don't remember exactly where it was buried. I find it interesting how the project becomes a history, perhaps true or perhaps invented." Excerpt from Lara Almarcegui's study.
The Artist Since the mid-1990s, Lara Almarcegui has had an interest in urban and suburban interstices: wasteland, underground passages, ruins and building sites – all spaces that are usually overlooked. She studies them rigorously to convey the experience thereof. After being invited in 2010 to carry out research in the Ivry-sur-Seine area, she turned her focus to the underground reality of the town.