Over the Channel. Artistes et espaces publics transmanche (Cross-Channel Artists and Public Spaces)
By John Ellingsworth and Marc Villemain, Editions l'Entretemps, Montpellier, 2013, 160 pp.
ZEPA is a European platform for the development of outdoor arts within an area covering Northern France and Southern England involving nine French and UK organizations, and supported by the crosss-border cooperation programme INTERREG IV.
Between 2008 and 2013, nine French and British organizations supporting outdoor artistic creation and performance have led a European transnational project called ZEPA, European Zone of Artistic Projects. They worked with a French company, Générik Vapeur and the Welsh company NoFit State Circus to develop two large scale performances, Waterlitz and Barricade. These two productions were created following the various journeys experienced by the artists through the landscape and with the community within the ZEPA area. From Brest to Great Yarmouth through to Brighton, Amiens and Loos-en-Gohelle, Winchester, Southampton and Sotteville-lès-Rouen, the banks of the Channel have become a unique space for artistic and cultural exchanges, involving over 60 companies and many communities.
British writer John Ellingsworth and French writer Marc Villemain have both followed the creative process and the shared moments generated by these two transnational adventures and relate them in this bilingual book. Their pieces bring out childhood impressions and comical situations, point out encounters with the audience and the pioneering "all terrain" approach of the public space by the artists and associates. The two writers highlight the most significant aspects of this "oh so European" Anglo-French intercultural project.
The book is fleshed out with meaningful images and by testimonies from the public, the artists or the key players of the nine regions involved, including from the member-organizations of the ZEPA network itself. Fabien Persil offers an illustrated counterpoint on the winter festival Fish & Chips, which has now become, along with the Out There festival, a symbol of this transnational and European journey.
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