What a week ! On arrival at Le Fourneau, we found ourselves immediately immersed in Brittany life. Everyone at Le Fourneau was extremely welcoming and made us feel at home which allowed us to focus on the challenging but exciting week ahead.
The week at Le Fourneau has been exhausting yet inspiring ! We have taken part in challenging workshops and conferences, in which we had the opportunity to learn about the Zepa network and develop our knowledge of the ever growing street arts industry in Europe. We had the honour of working with the prestigious ’Cie no. 8’, built a relationship with our fellow students from the University of Brest, seen the beautiful sights of the town, whilst simultaneously becoming part of the family ’Le Fourneau’.
The workshops with Compagnie No 8
They required a lot of focus and commitment as we were given the chance to learn sections of their performance Homo Sapiens Bureaucraticus. The work was strenuous but rewarding as we found it enabled us to experience a new way of working and understanding our bodies and the way they move. After a twenty minute warm up, we proceeded to work on exercises that focused on using our centre rather than external body parts such as legs and arms to guide our movement. Here, there was particular emphasis on how this can connect us as performers when working which we later saw the importance of when learning the ’suicide bankers’ motif.
Initially we were introduced to the ’prehistoric man’ which is the first stage of the performance which shows the development of prime apes to homosapiens. Here, we practiced ’being’ the monkeys as opposed to ’acting’ like monkeys. We immersed ourselves in the exercise, we completely adapted our body language by walking on all fours and using our knuckles (which was very tiring !). As aspiring street artists, there was a strong sense of respect for the hard work that ’Cie no 8’ put in to achieve such inspirational pieces.
It gave us deeper insight into the world of street arts and Zepa. It was interesting to understand the way that the Zepa network works and how it supports emerging artists in Europe. Through the talk Anne Gonon gave us on street arts in Europe, we also learnt that street arts cannot be defined within a single box and we could talk forever about its endless possibilities !
All in all, we have had a fantastic week which we hope marks the beginning of a strong, future relationship with Le Fourneau, Zepa, and street arts in France. We would like to thank everyone who made this opportunity possible and are looking forward to watching the work of ’Cie no 8’ this evening when we see how the professionals do it !
Written by Emma Nias, Sophie Pain & Glodi Ngiena.
Pictures by (from top to bottom) Rochelle Pinnock, Sophie Pain, Jessica Tyburek.