A city installation, followed by a presentation by Isabelle Corten and a night promenade with Stalker Collective/Osservatorio Nomade
18.05.2019, F’AR Lausanne
NIGHT CITY belongs to a series of events from the project SCÈNES DE NUIT, that presents five nocturnal encounters exploring the role of night in the construction of contemporary cities and societies. The exhibition seeks to examine and reflect upon the spaces, activities and media unfolded in night culture, and uses evening events and ephemeral scenography as the main display platform. The scenography was developed by students of HEAD-Genève’s Bachelor in Interior Architecture
The nocturnal dimension of a city is a time and space where the stakes are high. Night is a time of simultaneous light and darkness, sleeplessness and rest. The city at night, what would one be without the other? Widespread artificial lighting has transformed the urban night into a second day, in the image of our time, which sees highways, parking spaces, offices, and streets lit 24 hours a day, abolishing the circadian rhythm of sunrise and sunset. Light constructs a space dedicated to consumption and productivity. Today, new pressures are being exerted on the urban night. Further functions could be imposed on this space-time in a rapidly changing global context.
‘Si la nuit n’était pas noire, il n’y aurait personne pour s’en rendre compte.’
Curators: Javier F. Contreras, Youri Kravtchenko
Assistant: Manon Portera
Students: Audrey Besanceney, Emma Birbaud, Emma Launay, Antoine Matta, Thu Trang Nguyen, HEAD–Genève Interior Architecture Department
Photos: © Lea Kloos
Presentations by Isabelle Corten and the Stalker Collective
In this presentation, Isabelle Corten, head of the Belgian agency Radiance 35 and member of the association Light Without Borders, explains her work as a mise en lumière, i.e. night as the scenography and nocturnal composition of the city. She also presents her collaboration with Lumière sans Frontières to improve the conditions of night-time illumination in developing countries, such as Haiti, illustrating the direct relationship between the quality of artificial light and improvement in social, economic, and cultural conditions.
On a different note, Stalker, the nomadic observatory based in Rome, whose work focuses on the exploration of psycho-geographies in various urban environments and scales, propose a nocturnal nomadic ramble through the city of Lausanne.
Isabelle Corten So, good evening, happy to see that there are still a lot of people here at this time. I'm going to start by introducing myself. I'm an architect by training. Then I started studying urban planning in 1997, and I discovered the world of light and night by chance in an architecture agency in Brussels, and it was something that interested me. It is precisely this other side of urban planning that is so compelling that it made me ask myself a lot of questions about neighbourhoods that are usually forgotten. And with this in mind, I developed an approach that is now integrated into my agency’s work. My agency is located in Liège. Currently there are nine of us, and we work in the area of outdoor lighting. We work almost exclusively for public authorities based on the goal of how to make a city at night more pleasant. I have tried to approach this question from several angles, for instance, what if we work on the lighting of more heritage buildings or forgotten districts, including the very famous Molenbeek photos of which you will see in my presentation. This happens within the framework of two associations, which are developing this approach specifically. Designers Light without Borders, of which I am president, and then another collective called “the Social Light Movement”, which brings together designers who are thinking about how to change the perspective and above all how to unlock budgets to intervene in forgotten neighbourhoods
Today, I was invited because of the theme, ‘The City, The Night’, and specifically because of the walk that will happen later. It’s true that to understand, to develop these three axes and this reflection on how to work in a city at night, the perceptions of architects and urbanists on landscapes, urbanism, the foreground and background are very useful. Of course, there are the technical insights that we learned in relationship to light. What is an external light? What are the techniques? But then there is the necessity of understanding its uses. What are the needs of a city at night, of a specific part of the city, of a unique district? How do we develop methodologies not only to understand these uses and feelings but also to transmit what we do. We were discussing this earlier, before the conference, with the Stalkers. It's something quite difficult to communicate, this power of transformation of light or shadow, since we work with both these elements. So, today, I will explain the different methodologies.
The realisation of projects has a cycle that is identical to that of architecture. That is, we do an analysis of a site, a preliminary project, then there is the construction phase. So, we have developed three moments in time when the following possibilities of communicating with the different users present themselves. The first moment is when we approach the territory ourselves, as outsiders, using the principle of exploratory night walks, which I will explain later. The second moment occurs after we’ve already had thoughts that have arisen either from walking, if we have managed to do it, or from ideas with which we want to experiment with the different users. We have called it the “commented active walk”.
One example is when we do a night walk involving organized exploration with the public authorities, although we never do it as late as today because then we have no public. And then the last step is "guerrilla lighting", which is a methodology that English friends who are part of the Social Light Movement have developed. It's called guerrilla lighting because it's a war on bad lighting, and so it's a kind of "light happening”. We use it more like a kind of "teaser" to communicate with the different users about what a neighbourhood could look like after the construction. We choose to express it in a rather festive way, to demonstrate the pleasure of transforming the material by light. This is a diagram to explain the different steps of our process until project completion.
So, the safety audits, what do they consist of? I would like to say beforehand that this is not at all the first time I have been to Lausanne. We have been working in Switzerland for about ten years. We first came by chance, having won a competition for the Quais du Seujet in Geneva. I'm here once or twice a month, so I know the place quite well. So, what does it consist of? It is a walk that is targeted at users, including our interlocutors from town hall and from different agencies such as the police and the parks department, as well as the different users such as residents, shopkeepers, etc. And so we walk around for about one, one and a half hours because it is this context that allows us to encounter different situations that are reproducible in the rest of the territory, conversations about participants’ feelings about the night, what makes a public space attractive or not, why do we change routes after dark, what are the sensations we have in this public space. Several of us wear yellow vests – earlier we were talking about the connotation of yellow vests now, but hey, we still use them. So then, three or four of us take notes on the comments of the users and compile them into a report.
Since we have been in Belgium, we have done a lot of walking. We have done seven so far in Lille because we had a contract to do a series of safety audits for Lille. And then we've done quite a few since our "first time" in Lausanne. We did one in London, linked with the Social Light Movement and we did three in Haiti linked with “designer light without borders”.
We propose this methodology even when we work on a project that is, for example, here in Antwerp, Belgium. In that case, the walks are done in different languages. We only worked on one public square, but nevertheless, we proposed walking around the different places surrounding the square, to reflect together on what the project could look like. I'm going pretty fast because I think it's more interesting to be able to have a dialogue with you later, so I hope there will be questions and exchanges at the end. So, the second methodology is the active walks. This is an example in Saint-Étienne, where we worked with City of Design on an experiment precisely on how specific changes in the night environment can influence behaviour. It was the first time I had proposed this; it came to me when they invited me to work with them. I said to myself, well, a classic walk is not part of the reflection, so why not go into the night space with the different users and literally activate a section of wall with light, because we were equipped with large portable torches. It was, therefore, possible to see if the perception of the place changed once we highlighted this fresco, for example, here in Saint-Étienne. Or whether it doesn't change at all, and what are the perceptions in that regard. (4)
This is in Bourg-en-Lavaux. We had to work on site, and so we used all the research from a project we had done in Switzerland, from "lake edge. Is it possible, or not, to light up the lake edges? Is it interesting? Not only do we propose things, but we also give users the opportunity to try them out, which allows for a more concrete dialogue between us.
Now here, in Bourg-en-Lavaux, these are the paths from an analysis we had done based on the observation of the routes most taken, specifically during winter from 5 pm onwards. We also make maps of the temporality of the night, to try to understand these uses. In winter, some roads are used a lot, and we will think about how to light them without encroaching on the landscape. Again, this is one of the churches in Saint Etienne. What does it change, if anything, to have this lighting on the wall? Do we prefer it in the dark or not? And so the third participative approach is this guerrilla lighting, which is more festive.
But nevertheless, the intention is to show how space can be changed, as we explain to different interlocutors. And obviously, since we are in a festive atmosphere, we work with festive materials, i.e. faceted balls, coloured gelatin, etc., which will not be used in the actual project. Compared to the other two methodologies, it allows us to communicate with everyone. We don't need to understand the language, and it’s quite interesting because, since it's very festive, we have a varied audience, including children and older people. So how does it work? We target three or four places and think about the concept of lighting. People come in, they don't know what they're going to do at all, we just give them equipment, so these torches, these disco balls, and these coloured filters. They are guided by team leaders who place them in specific locations. I direct and throw the thing with a foghorn, you know that football thing, and everyone turns on their light, so it has a “wow" effect. We always have a photographer capture the moment. Then we turn off all the lights and move on to the next one. It lasts a few minutes, and it's quite interesting, and some people are amazed by the results.
Then we post the photos on social networks. There, for example, you see this is Scharrbeek (Brussels), one of the municipalities next to Molenbeek, where we worked. I was talking about the festive side, and it's true that I love the disco ball. We haven't yet managed to put it in a real project, but I think it has a rather impressive transformative power. There was also a project in Grenoble this winter. We worked on a public square, it was part of three weekends of participatory interventions on the night. So we had proposed having three evenings with three guerrilla events per evening, so 9 in all. We called out to people in the square and told them,
‘Come and discover for yourself the power of light to transform, come and transform a place once night falls’. And this is what it produced. It was easy in Grenoble because this square was magnificent, so there was support for projections that were quite interesting. But what's also fantastic is when all these people see these pictures, they feel very proud to have transformed a place like that.
This is actually the first guerrilla lighting we did ourselves because, before that, I participated in a series of guerrilla lighting events with my English colleagues. And this one is in the district of Schaerbeek, a disadvantaged neighbourhood that is just next to the North Station in Brussels. For this project we proposed work on a kind of scenography, a reasonably finished project, with lights that go from white to orange, punctuating the street. In the teaser for the site we used some elements of the language of the project, but we added this festive dimension. What is interesting in this photo, compared to the previous one, is to show that it is about everyday architecture. Here, all the people from the neighbourhood also came to see it, and it was interesting. And then at the end of these walks, these guerrilla lighting actions on the festive side, we distribute glow sticks, so the audience is involved, and we take a photo of light graffiti, which is quite impressive. A little anecdote, about the guerrilla lighting we did in Molenbeek, and about the guerrilla theme, which we managed to organize just after the 2016 attacks in Brussels. So, I might as well tell you that when I proposed guerrilla lighting to the Commissioner, it was a little complicated. So we had to change the name, and we called it a "light happening'', it always goes down better. But we still had to fight to do it and explain that it was something festive because the name can be confusing, especially in these neighbourhoods.
Here I did a preview, and I ended with this sentence by Nelson Mandela: ‘It always seems impossible until it's done.’ But here is a quick overview of the different methodologies used to understand the spaces we work with. This is the triple approach that I have been leading for twenty-five years in the night space, and the work within my agency, Radiance 35, within the Social Light Movement, but also as a lighting designer without borders. We have chosen to finish with some photos of the actions we are carrying out in Haiti.
Designers Light Without Borders: this association is made up of a group of designers who met a little over ten years ago; it is based in France. I have been part of it for about eight years, and since then I have become its president. The principle of the association is to transmit our knowledge, as lighting designers, to people who cannot afford the fees of a lighting designer, and to develop a series of projects. When I arrived, I joined a project in Bamako, Mali, and then we developed a project based in Haiti, so here are just a few pictures, but you can see more on the association's website directly. Since 2010, precisely the day after the earthquake, we have been returning regularly in teams of 2 or 4 people to work on this mission, alongside a local association, in a series of districts that are in huge need, because there is almost no light and yet there is an active life as soon as the night falls. We approach the project in the same way as our others. This is a group of women, with whom we did an exploratory walk, and so we discussed with them the issues they were facing, especially in these informal neighbourhoods. And so we proposed solutions in partnership with the local association that we helped to form. These are sustainable solutions because they are the result of this participatory process I described, and also technically viable since we enter into dialogue with the various local distributors so that the equipment distributed is durable. We also make sketches on reflections around light, to find solutions that must be creative, because the budget is not necessarily the same as in our country. So here we are, I think there are no more pictures. Thank you all for listening, and don't hesitate if you have any questions.
Audience Good evening, I would have liked to know how you came to the walking medium as a way of exploring urban night lighting. Was there another way or another attempt before you got to the walking?
Isabelle Corten Yes, at the beginning I was participating, let’s say, "in the room", which is the classic form proposed by the city; we meet with the residents, the different users, then we discuss. But I realised that, as I said, I come from the world of architecture, so I had already participated during the day, but then at night it's even more complicated to share perceptions because at first, nobody remembers, and there is a kind of dematerialization of what the city is, and I was dissatisfied with that. So, I started to look for what other methodologies existed in the field of sociology. Then obviously the walk came up, which I did not invent at all. The exploratory walk existed but not so much specifically on the theme of the night. We’d already been labelled "designers for difficult neighbourhoods” for years, and so I was called to Mulhouse by con-sister to think about the question. I said to myself, ‘Well, we're going to test it, we're going to test it in Mulhouse’, and so it was our first step. Since then we've done about thirty of them. Each time we try to improve the techniques, we try to record, to note, we have worked in all different climates.
But what is essential in a city, a city is so complex, you will see that when you go out later. But also, to walk outside with the different users allows people to remember things, it's not a representative sample. Being in a place, and asking them questions: ‘What is happening to you, why are you changing?’ Speech is much freer outdoors and much more complete. Its dimensions too, like sound, the night sound changes a lot, so some reflections come from experiencing it. The experience is more enriching for everyone because we are not used to seeing the city in this way. And it's always interesting to get feedback. I remember in Mulhouse, many of the participants had never been to the places we took them, because everyone, even all of us, typically has a fairly regular route, often from where we work to where we live. These walks allow us to see something else, or as in the last walk in Molenbeek, where the perception before going out is often "negative" in these neighbourhoods, it often changes while we are walking. Most people say, ‘Ah, well, it's not so great after all, but it's not so bad…’ The fact of going out, that's what feeds our approach and the way everyone looks at it.
Audience I have two questions. I love the night, and I love the city. Everything I have heard from you is very interesting, it has helped me a lot, but on the other hand, I retain two things. What you have presented is about the ephemeral, and I would like to know if this temporary aspect is then used. If it becomes more permanent in the lighting of individual neighbourhoods? That's my first question. The second is:
Do you collect all your research on night lighting thinking about people who don't feel safe at night and for whom light can feel more comfortable?
Isabelle Corten So for the first question, yes, these ephemeral approaches do lead to a project, so in fact, they serve to set up the plan that is then realised. You saw the process for the project, and in fact, in the end, it was completed. So it feeds our approach, it feeds our reflection, and it also calls us to question specific certainties that we can have. Therefore, all these steps, whether it is walking, commented walking, or even guerrilla lighting, are things that ultimately lead to the realisation of a project, which will change the lighting of a neighbourhood. So that's the first thing. As for the second question, that's one of the reasons why I was interested in problematic areas. When I started my urban planning studies again and started working on light, I did my final work on “light and insecurity” because it was something that interested me and challenged me.
So, is the answer to insecurity lighting? I always jokingly answer no, because otherwise, we would be very rich, if we could solve the problem of urban insecurity just with light, can you imagine how many lighting designers there would be? What we're focusing on, which is why I say we're thinking about how to make cities more pleasant, is that we're trying to change the sense of security, and it's already huge. And precisely to think about, with the different users, what makes people of different genders feel good or not in a space? And what can we contribute to remedying this? This is our view of objective or subjective security.
Audience My question, related to the previous question asked by this gentleman, is indeed what happens after these walks? Does the dialogue that was initiated during the exploratory walks continue, or do you have to make the project more realistic and take it another direction, so you move on to something else?
Isabelle Corten Yes, yes, I have sketches, we could talk about it for hours, so yes, we do the walk and then there is always a second pass, or we come back to the users, who are not always the same. In some cases, like in Carouge, we had the opportunity to take walks after completion with some of the people who were there from the beginning; it was very interesting to get a feel for what we had done. And again, that's something that we should integrate, in general, amongst people who are in the profession, to welcome this return, and not say: ‘No, they didn't understand, we're the ones who know’. Unfortunately, it is rare, we are never asked by our project managers to follow any of these steps, it is always us up to us to suggest that it would be interesting, even essential to do. In general, it works, they accept, but then you have to carry it out effectively, to have the follow-up, but for us, it’s vital. Sometimes it’s informal. If I come back to Molenbeek, we have been going back and working there for twenty years now, and therefore we go back to the last step we took, which is to discuss projects that had been realised ten years earlier. It was interesting to see the longevity, and so here we are.
Stalker I am Lorenzo Romito, I am here with Arthur Deburenn and Morteza Galegui. We are here representing the collective, this spirit that has been active for twenty-five years now and goes by the name of Stalker. This film, or this extract of the film, was filmed just a week ago. This is a very interesting place in Rome, near our space, it’s a squat where one hundred and eighty families live, probably sixty adults, seventy-eight kids, eighty percent immigrants. It was left without lighting due to an intervention, not by the city, but directly by the minister of the interior of the country. Coincidentally the building is connected to a large military barrack, just in front of the building, so it has access to the network that allowed the minister to turn off the light and then leave the people without light for a week. So, we, like a lot of other people, broke in to explore this building without light. I'm saying this just to put you in a frame of mind, to think about where we are, because I think we are living through a very strange moment. Even with all the knowledge we have acquired in our professions, all the control references that have been important in defining ourselves and understanding the world are becoming less and less useful. It’s been thirty-five years that Stalkers have been architects, since we started to explore these possibilities of making experiences of the night.
There are two words that I would like to put in relation to one another: one word is "creek", which means "reveal", "shed light on”; the other is "latsuma", which comes from where I am from, it’s the alter ego of the city of Rome, and it comes from the Latin word "latere ", "a light". It’s a dimension that the Romans, since the birth of the city, have respected secretly. An alternative to preservation, that is, to be ready for a shift, for a change. So, I think this is very important, coming from Rome, bringing this kind of knowledge. We have been criss-crossing abandoned areas close to the city of Rome for ages, twenty-five years, something like that, we started in ‘95. Where the clandestine, the margins, otherness hide, that’s where we have been exploring. And we always conceived of this practice of exploring as the opportunity to understand what is not us. But what is us? What is the other? What is not evident? What is not speaking the truth? And it’s very funny that we come from a city where the counters were there for thousands of years, it’s a mythological counter that the eternality, which was an objection for the Romans since the beginning, given by letting the possibilities to otherness and other, to regenerate the city itself. So this combination of Roman "latsuma" has been the sublimation of an otherness that leads us to never stop exploring what we don’t know. I think we are resistant to that edge, to exploring where we are not usually, we are so enclosed in our comfort, and we really don't want to turn on the light on what is happening around us and between us, just so very close. We don't really want to turn the light on to the fact that human rights are a significant cultural issue for us but are not upheld anywhere, not even 100 meters from here, in our times. We have been concerned about this. Coming from an architecture background, our primary concern was, do we really need to design something else, something else that is precisely what we already have? Can we revamp the idea that we can be progressive by doing something else, or should we really start to become something else?
The society we live in loves individualism, this is for sure, and also loves waste. It produces an immense amount of waste. And where waste is produced, control is lost, and there is a big chance this happens because it’s natural to get over the waste and produce new landscapes, new possibilities. Maybe it’s time to also introduce the term "possible”. I think it may be a term that stands against the contemporary. I believe the contemporary to be an aesthetic dimension of the day, where you can invent whatever, but you have to subscribe to the fact that it’s your products that have to be saved, and it’s worse, this value is a war, an economic war. So these two standards include any kind of possibility without sterilizing being a chance, for being the possible shift or something else. So let’s say: contemporary, according to this, is just the eternal dimension of never getting out of this single moment where things are collapsing. So, I don't want to be too dark, tonight, but anyway, we love life and we love the night. So all we gonna do is…
We started to explore the night because the night is another dimension, like the wilderness, where control is loose. We all used to be afraid, exhibiting different behaviours that we didn’t during the day. You are more aware, so your senses also shift, and you are very present. We like to walk with a lot of different people, in different environments, the night is wild. So the video that you see now, it comes as a result of the last two years, where, in the middle of December, in the most deserted time of the city, we see Augusto, a ghost, so we name it the ghost city! We invited people, as a public programme, to walk all through the night with us without any real plan, according to the principle that we are moving together. We don't think that a plan is a good idea for the future. And we don't believe that there is a really good plan for the future. The best thing to do is to get rid of any preconceived ideas and plans and go back to exploring: yourself, the night, others, and the possibilities. Another word might be interesting. The emergence of possibilities that arise creatively and collectively in a space that we don't know produces layers of knowledge. Acting instinctively reveals paths of knowledge that we had not considered before. So this kind of account who put it, you know emergency to another it’s very the biggest world.Because on the one hand amount it’s what amount spontaneously, a plan, and a lot of possibilities for the future, but emergency in a control frame of mind is more about the risk, something that doesn’t work. Now there is the possibility that something that doesn’t work becomes good business for our society. So it’s very different endpoints, along with emergency as a counterpoint to our concept of emergent a list of evidence, you know, the evidence of brightness, of light, of daylight. So tonight we will be walking from midnight until seven o’clock, eight o’clock or maybe nine o'clock in the morning. It will get strange, I think we become strange, and everything in this kind of strangeness becomes possible, maybe also with this word "possible”. Possible, what is possible? It seems that now that everything is impossible, we have no professional ability to tell you what will be possible, or what will be right for you. But we allow for the chance to create the possible creative condition to adapt to what we don't know, to others that we don't know, to different backgrounds, ages, actual frames, and economic status. Into something that one day will become a society, a new society that could take the place of this one, which is becoming boring, annoying, and criminal.
Audience Bonsoir, thank you for your presentation, I appreciate your feelings about the world, you kind of jump from one world to another and you take the time to explain how you understand this world. But for me, if I quickly analyse your discourse, there is no filter, everything is coming together, sometimes even with some contradictions. I would like to ask, very simply, what is the ultimate goal of your work?
Stalker The ultimate goal of my work… I think we prefer to avoid setting a goal. We are exploring. You know there are people who invent, and there are people who discover. But I think that people who invent, they are in fact discovering, they just present it in such a way as if they were inventing. To appropriate it… So, the ultimate goal is to joyfully guide the muscle that can lead to socially producing something else. The ultimate would be, I would love to create a clear path, I think everything true comes from experience. We love the idea that experience produces knowledge. Experience is something that you share with the other, it’s an environment, it’s something that happens, it takes place with the public, the project and the atmosphere all together in the process of creation, where everybody is engaged. To create these incredible possibilities, you have to contribute to what is happening, even if it is entirely unexpected. It is the state of creating art, and we give rise to the possibility of a collective artistic process taking place. This is our perception. I think the question is, we have to become other, how do we become other? How can our identity shift and become something else? How to discover? … Ok, ok, I’ll stop. I’m sorry, I’m losing myself.
Audience During the process, how do you invite people to come on these walks? Do you have a specific procedure, or is it just by invitation?
Stalker It’s all about events. We started doing this twenty-five years ago, so we have done a lot of different things. We have walked with very random people, sometimes we walk with students, often with citizens, with other types of educational institutions, but anyway, we just make some calls. Once we make some calls, Romans, Romanians all together in the city of Rome, it’s time to take a walk.
Audience Since you have been doing this for twenty-five years now, has there been an evolution, a change you’ve seen, or has it not changed?
Stalker Yes, the work has changed a lot. At the very beginning as young architects, we couldn’t stand our teachers in school, and everything seemed very dull. They would give us projects, and nobody ever produced them, and the city was developing these horrible blocks. And so we realised that we had to do something, so we started by doing things. Together we built a house for Gypsies, costing less than a container. But the question is not about building a house, it’s how do you reach the level of trust, of relationship, where you can build a house for people who are so different from you. And how can you create a climate, and bridge the gap between what was given to you and what was given to the Roma people, or Gypsies, and create access, a bridge that was not there before. It seems impossible, no? Then we found out that they are better architects than we are because they are fantastic at designing houses. Then we had a big crisis because we really believed we could cooperate with the institutions on these projects. However, the house was set on fire, criminal elements were there a lot, and we lost all credibility with any political forces, we lost the chance to work regularly, and then we started to involve citizens in our process. Now things are achieved because we don't understand if something is good or bad, it's not the left or the right. There are just a few people who can understand what you are doing, so we build networks, with institutions, citizens, movements, the homeless, systems that can create an opportunity. It’s always a struggle to sneak in, we still use the practice of trespassing. We take the responsibility of jumping a wall, to see what is next to our house. And now, now this is happening today, people can be thrown out of the place where they live, like in Libya. We don’t know what is inside the concentration camps, they have the red telephone calls with people, migrants, Libyans, and nobody wants to talk about it. So things may get worse, maybe more people on the move, because there is more and more and more people, more concerns. We are also incapable of understanding that emerging things are happening, a lake becomes a wild environment, where the environment finally brought experts from different disciplines, philosophers, artists and then the institution, from both sides, facing conflicts, they are both responsible for what is happening in Libya. So, all the conflict is fake, because none of us wants to see it. Then they agreed and devise the spontaneous spaces that shouldn't be planned, maybe could be preserved, perhaps could be activated by the action of social communities, which were born from the same emerging process, to take care of the place, before they became antagonists. Now we are looking into their eyes, and we still think that something could change, until nothing comes. People are becoming more and more afraid that they will become criminals. That’s where we are now, no?
But it’s gonna be fun anyway, don’t be scared, we’re gonna have a good night!
Isabelle Corten is an architect and town planner who specialises in public spaces and lighting. She has worked on the redevelopment of public spaces in Belgium and abroad. In 2001 she set up Radiance35, her own lighting agency with a team of 10 people. She has created many lighting blueprints and lighting schemes for churches, town halls, bridges, squares, and social housing in Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Corten is the President of Lighting Designers without Borders (cLSF), the co-founder of SLM (Social Light Movement) and a member of LUCI (Lighting Urban Community International).
Observatoire Nomade / Stalker is comprised of six Italian architects, the urban art laboratory Observatoire Nomade/Stalker organises walks, wanderings and “architectural actions” at the edges of the city or at the margins of communities, with the aim of producing a new interpretation of the territory, both critical and political, and analysing and interacting with the emerging phenomena of the city. ON/Stalker provides a new perspective on the city by offering to “listen to the landscapes [...] on the fringes of metropolises, away from the main communication routes”. Stalker’s work must be understood as a “cultural product”, i.e. a means of knowing and acting directly in an urban space punctuated with situations which are by nature mutating and uncertain.