Au milieu des bureaux empilés (In Between Desks) is an interdisciplinary project born of the conviction that it is imperative to populate schools with these singular conversations where speech attempts to unbuild and rebuild what society could be, in order to allow young people to reclaim the power associated with their speech.
Each phase of the project is initiated according to a predefined protocol. In each secondary school hosting the project, Verviers uses a classroom in an attempt to create a safe and alternative intellectual space where students can rethink the school system within the very institution responsible for its implementation.
At the beginning of each workshop, the artist and the young people listen together to excerpts of a conversation from another school: these words transposed from one classroom to another serve as a starting point for new exchanges. Over the course of the project, the young people weave together an audio archive that intertwines their experiences and ideas.
The present exhibition elaborates a political postulate on our relationship to education through the presentation of drawings of conversations, extracts of young people's speeches, traces of the process and a video essay. It is the culmination of a long-term project developed through conversations in schools in Quebec and Switzerland.
The new installation is composed of five viewing stations; five wooden structures connected by crosspieces. Each of these stations allows for privileged contact with one of the groups of students who participated in the project: Montreal, Carleton, New Richmond, Wil and Wattwil. Each station presents 3 to 6 drawings of conversations on tracing paper which are superimposed and backlit. Headsets allow for audio excerpts of the conversations that led to these drawings, providing an intimate connection to the students' debates, stories and ideas. Moving from one station to the next, visitors experience the differences in dynamics, pace, concerns and approaches of the different groups and thus, the different communities represented; differences that are also perceptible through the variations in structure between the drawings.
Au milieu des bureaux empilés (In between desks). Chairs used in the schools.
Russian birch plywood, nylon thread, carpets. Dimensions variables.
Id. Drawings of conversations.
Ink and graphite on velum paper.
61cm x 91cm, 45cm x 61cm (each).
Id. Excerpts of conversations.
Stereo sound. 33 min 31 sec.
Id. Sheets of code.
Ink on graph paper. 22cm x 28cm (each).
Id. Artist's sketchbook.
Ink and graphite on paper. 28cm x 22cm.