_ Epicentres

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Grand Paris, 2017-2020

“"Space is a doubt:
I must constantly mark it, designate it,
it is never mine, it is never given to me,
I have to conquer it".”
Georges Perec - Espèces d’espaces, 1974


In 2007, the announcement of the birth of a Greater Paris is a major shock in a history based on the confrontation of two powerful and apparently irreconcilable polarities: the capital and the suburbs. How to get rid of the centripetal force of the Parisian capital to see it in a larger scale? How to decolonize an imaginary based on an ideology of extension for several centuries?


For ten years now, researchers, artists, planners, architects, urban planners, elected officials and citizens have been questioning the shape of this metropolis that is already there and still to come.


In 2017, eleven photographers decided to take the pulse of this territory that is still searching. They survey its reliefs, attentive to the traces left by the tectonic movements at work in practices, developments or the imaginary. They become seismo-graphs of these transformations, sometimes brutal, sometimes slower.


By changing scale, Greater Paris intrinsically changes its nature, and the city gives way to the "after-city", to an urban condition considered to be shapeless and infigurable. It is therefore a matter of getting down to the task of going through these territories, these places, these histories to propose a renewed visual narrative. An impulse that is immediately accompanied by an obviousness: the invention of a new poetics of experience requires changing the very terms of this experience.


Leaving aside the posture of the solitary author, the photographers choose to work in community in search of this "en-commun" of Paris. The urban and imaginary wanderings don't follow an itinerary guided by the expertise of the places or the inventory of the sites. They rely on the tremors felt together on the ground, rare moments when these artists with sometimes divergent backgrounds find themselves in the same interest, where their views converge. This is how the epicenters proposed here are determined, places both singular and common. Marked by their particular geographical, historical, and political situations, they acquire a metaphorical dimension and each embody one of the sides of the emerging "post-city".


Raphaële Bertho

Lecturer in Arts at the University of Tours.
Historian of photography, she works since 2005
on the aesthetic and political stakes of the representation
of contemporary territory.

Project photographers :

Julie Balagué, Emmanuelle Blanc, Julie Bourges, Pierre-Yves Brunaud,
Claire Cocano, Eric Garault, Marie Genel, Florence Joubert,
Xavier Schwebel, Laurent Villeret et erickflogny