We are a cooperative working in the field of cultural urbanism: we use art as our modus operandi to work with local populations and on a regional planning level. We develop strategies for how sites will be used, and are involved in planning, consultation, programming and regional strategy, setting up contextualised and contributory artistic programmes with local residents, users and stakeholders. Our aim is to effect a long-lasting and structural impact to enhance the region, sociability, and public policy.
In collaboration with our associate artists and other partners, we create tools to work with local populations and to broaden the context of art. We prefer to conduct fieldwork rather than diagnoses, to create prototypes rather than give speeches, to promote the notion of contribution rather than participation, of shared interest rather than general interest, of experimentation rather than any long-term plan of action. We are convinced that urban planning can be enriched by a diversity of visions and approaches. We are also convinced that artists have much to gain by experimenting with these ever-changing environments and being involved in creating art that is useful to society and serves the places where it is installed. The fact that we are structured as a cooperative reflects our commitment to social and economic innovation and modes of shared governance. We have offices in Paris and Rennes and most of our projects are based in these regions.
Alexandra is a producer of contemporary art events, with degrees in ethnology, cultural project management, and modern literature. Deeply committed to questions surrounding art and politics, in 2013/2014 she studied artistic and political experimentation at Sciences Po in Paris, on a course created by Bruno Latour. Before founding Cuesta, she spent ten years working at the production company Arter, where she produced and organised many exhibitions and art productions, frequently in public spaces.
Agathe is a trained urbanist, with degrees in modern literature and cultural project management, and an expert on issues of art, culture, and urbanism. She is a passionate cyclist and committed to all forms of cooperative ideals. In 2013/2014 she participated in an I-team training on cultural, economic and social dynamics in Europe run by Relais Culture Europe, Paris. Before setting up Cuesta, she was involved in Dédale, a project bringing together art and technology across different regions. She also developed a cultural development hub for the Arter production company, where she was responsible for organising advisory panels for major development projects.
A cultural engineer by training, Ludivine studied at the Beaux-Arts school in Rennes and at the Institute of European Studies. She is passionate about cartography, infographics, illustration and blueprints of all kinds. She has worked for the last ten years with artists and collectives on artistic urban planning projects, including Tamèrantong!, OCUS, and Si tu t’imagines.
Cultural mediators, urbanists, graphic designers, managers, builders, translators, photographers: these are the people who currently, or in the past, have been involved in the cooperative:
Léa Martinent, Flavia Nowik, Noé Talmont, Camille Prigent, Manon Pestel, Pauline Olmedo, Léa Finot, Jordi Frances, Aurélie Lemaître, Mathilde Godart, Johanne De Place, Virginie Redois, Stéphanie Braka, Valentin Delaunay, Véronique Villedieu, Alice Pfeiffer, Gwen Le Goff, Juliette Cadic, Mélanie Aumont, Olivier Borde, Flavie Tertrais, Fabien Gougeon, Benjamin Marie, Natan Kerbellec, Anna Michalak, Natasha Lehrer, Nathan Kerbellec, Elsa Noblet, Juliette Maroni.
Maïda Chavak, Nil Dinç, Alexis Fichet, Sylvain Gouraud, Axel Meunier et Léa Muller have been closely involved for the last five years in the cooperative’s projects. With their help, we have developed tools and strategies, and brought to fruition fertile collaborations.
A set designer by training, Maïda creates things out of images: exhibitions, publications, games, educational games, stories, rural and urban installations, and even occasionally tombolas. In the different places where her work is displayed, her assemblages form a portrait of the sites and the ways they are used, bringing together documentation, knowledge of the terrain, and an immersion in visual, local and family archives.
Nil is a theatre director who coordinates the group of artists and researchers who make up GONGLE, whose work involves reconsidering the functions and modes of making theatre by creating spaces for dialogue and confrontation, in ways that are both contextual and experimental. Focusing particularly on the links between art and sport, GONGLE is behind the initiative that set up the art-sport network in Seine St Denis.
As a doctoral student in design at Goldsmiths, a researcher at the medialab at Sciences Po, and an artist, Axel’s practice is articulated around his involvement in several collectives. His work explores joint research situations using diagrams and maps, the design of collaborative workshops, sound recording and social media, in order to integrate new narratives, as part of the creation of new site-specific collectives.
A writer and director, Alexis is a founder-member of the collective Lumière d’août. His writing interrogates the relationship between humans, the animals around them, and the environment. Alongside his writing and theatre, he develops hybrid projects that blend art, sculpture and performance.
At the crossroads where art and social sciences meet, Sylvain’s practice is based on using photography as a means of investigation. He takes deep dives into different social milieus in order to construct, in collaboration with local stakeholders, a just and fair representation of the complex issues under examination.
Deeply concerned by the urgency of reformulating our relationship with nature, he anticipates practices in which human beings need to negotiate their place on earth with non-humans.
A trained landscape designer, Léa experiments with the discursive production of new ways of creating towns and regions through a practice that is close to craft, focused on experimentation, and pays close attention to modes of representation, notably through drawing and mapping.
Many collaborations have actively nourished the work of the cooperative in the years since it was founded in 2015:
La 27ème Région, Actors for urban change, Agence Ter, Baptiste Alchourroun, ANPU, éditions Apogée, Au Bout du Plongeoir, Bétonsalon, Céline Bodart, Camille Bondon, Bureau Cosmique, Sophie Cardin, les Chaudronneries, Clichés urbains, Antoine Cochain, Council, la Criée, Cécile Demessine, Cie Dicilà, Léa Donguy, L’Ecole parallèle Imaginaire, European Alternatives, Folk Paysage, Johanna Fournier, le Gerphau, l’Hôtel Pasteur, Indiens dans la Ville, D’ici là paysage, It’s ok !, KuB, Benoît Labourdette, Myriam Lefkowitz, Lumière d’Août, Master Projets culturels dans l’espace public, Micro-sillons, MiosHe, la Paperie, le Polau, Sophie Ricard, Relais Culture Europe, Esther Salmona, SPEAP, collectif Tempête, Emmanuel Vergès, Villes Innovations, Le Voyage métropolitain, ZK/U Berlin.
ARTER, a production company dedicated to artistic and cultural projects, was closely involved in the founding of Cuesta in 2015.