2007 -2010

“How to reframe the real?
waiting at the laundromat,
shopping for groceries,
filling up with petrol,
the mid-morning pint at the bistro,
an appointment with the podiatrist,
couple's kebab night…
In the street, trust is established through a series of numerous, very small contacts whose theatre is the sidewalk.

How to reframe the real? pacing the road,
guided by chance encounters,
capturing monochromatic impressions of a bleak landscape,
stubbornly looking for non-existent traces of history, at the archeology of strata,
losing myself in an urban amnesia.”

As a series of artistic hikes of over 10 km each, Witness / N14 proposed walks for dreamers in search of decadent spaces and unusual encounters. Witness / N14 was also and foremost, a large-scale neighbourhood project, with installations proposed by the authors (Sarah Harper, Juliet Dieudonné and Erwan Quintin) in collaboration with local inhabitants, inspired by research, collected testimonies and chance meetings made during our exploratory rambles. Subsequently installed into the very sites they were discovered, with the help of the residents, artworks and accompanying performances mediated the spectator's vision of the road's heterotopia, its neighbours, and its possible encounters. The forms were multiple. Photos in giant or tiny formats, soundscapes, videos, texts, and performances punctuated both public and private spaces along the route and in homes, courtyards, gardens or shops, with traders or inhabitants becoming accomplices of the work.

The project explored how roads and the ever-shifting axis have influence people’s lives, in turns linking and isolating communities and limiting mobility as much as it enables travel.

A walking project to witness and artistically reframe life as it is lived in suburb, periphery and rurality of the axis Paris-Rouen, a 2000 years old trade route, fragmented and usurped by a B road (the N 14) and subsequently by a motorway, A year walking alone from Paris to Rouen, to meet 'neighbours', living along the N14.  Impressions, memories and anecdotes, were collected from whoever was ready to talk, or make introductions to others. The project grew and deviated through the rhizoidal nature of these introductions. With Juliette Dieudonné and Erwan Quintin, we returned to create installations with those neighbours, about themselves, using film, sound, photography, urban graffiti, in-situ texts or theatre.

The resulting three art walks invited a wider public to experience urban, suburban and rural landscapes, meeting inhabitants both 'live and in the flesh' as well as through art installations exposed by locals 'chez eux', on walls, in back gardens, front rooms, windows, local cafés, laundromats, bus stops, factory courtyards, garage waiting rooms, shop windows or hotel bedrooms…

First Walk: D'içi là! A city walk in Rue de Tocqueville, Paris 17ème, with installations in the local shops and a final large-scale multi-media installation in l'Avant Rue.

Second Walk: L'autre côté du périph A 10km suburban walk from the périphérique through Clichy-sous-bois, Asnières and Gennevilliers.

Third Walk: Un pas de côté A 10km rural walk from Vigny to Cléry  in the Vexin.

    Creative Team & Partners

    Local immersion and artistic direction: Sarah Harper

    Local immersion, photography, graphics: Juliette Dieudonné

    Local immersion, sound creation, Erwan Quintin

    Production: Clothilde Fayolle

    Administration: Pascal Laurent

    Technical installations:  Groupe LAPS ( Pierre Froment, Nadir Bouassria, Peirluigi de Palo, Thomas Veyssière)