The problems encountered by new project spaces
Inverting the Imperatives by Philippe Henry


Published in Passages, a Swiss cultural magazine from the Pro helvetia foundation, number 33, winter 2002.

Extract :

" Alongside the established network of public cultural facilities, and intentionally departing from its preconceived ideas andmanner of functioning, a number of artistic experiments have recently been taking place. In France, where for the most partthe public sector (above all the national and local authorities) still have the upper hand, it is only over about the past ten years that this development has made any headway. Each of these artistic “project spaces”,1 often having appropriatedsome industrial wasteland for their purposes, rests assured of its singularity. A boast that is belied by the recurrence ofseveral elements. For instance, from the start, these undertakings have tended to lodge themselves in the gaps offered by the already established cultural infrastructure - notably the lack of sites for bringing creative processes to fruition andof venues for experiments in unfamiliar formats - or in spaces where public facilities are in short supply. Then, too, theyunanimously reject the concept of the autonomy of art: instead of “art for art’s sake”, they seek to recreate stronger ties between a multiplicity of aspects touching upon not only artistic but also social, political and territorial dimensions."

Philippe Henry has been a senior lecturer in the Drama Studies Department of the Université de Paris 8 - Saint Denis since 1993. In 1981 hecofounded (and until 1999 remained president of) the Théâtre du Mouvement (artistic directors: Claire Heggen and Yves Marc).

His main line ofresearch: the socio-economic analysis of non-mainstream theatre organizations, including the relationship between artistic projects and administrative practices.

His recent publications include: “Les espaces-projets artistiques. Une utopie concrète encore en friche”, Théâtre / Public no. 163, Jan.-Feb. 2002, pp. 60-71; “Nouvelles pratiques artistiques. Simple aménagement ou réelle mutation?”, Théâtre / Public no. 157, Jan.-Feb. 2001, pp. 63-72;“Théâtres de ville et compagnies théâtrales: des acteurs décisifs pour le développement démocratique des arts de la scène”, Théâtre / Public no.153, May-June 2000, pp. 57-74.

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inverting imperatives
Modified on Saturday 10 September 2005