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Since 2016, the work of the duo Irma Name (Hélène Deléan and Clément Caignart) has consisted of mounting collective or participatory projects, questioning the ambiguous role of politics and pedagogy in their art practice, as well as in art broadly conceived. As collaboration and improvisation find themselves empirically at the heart of production methods used in film, theatre, and performance, Irma Name sees these various media as privileged tools for shaping its speculative narratives. The idea might also be to overcome an auctorial and individual conception in favour of a deployment of the artwork based on a form designed to be multiple, inspiring, and aligned with the demands of reality.
With parodic seriousness, their creations mobilise the codes of the sociological investigation, the participatory workshop, or the anticipation film, enabling socio-political and cultural issues in urgent need of answers to be formalised in speech and projected into narratives... The artists’ interests in documentary cinema, archives (and the imagery derived from them), experimental theatre (in its emancipatory vein), as well as critical theory and the social sciences, are interwoven, resulting in propositions that, while they appear visually diverse and erudite, nevertheless remain highly effective theoretically without excluding any amusement and pleasure that has contributed to their production.
Based on situated practices and knowledges, to cite Donna Haraway’s term, the creations of Irma Name aim to reflect on the way in which events enter into conversation and circulate within a vast ecosystem, extending beyond human and binary ideologies. Although the duo’s art practice relates to the fate of a whole line of thinking today concerning the environmental future of the earth, modes of extraction of raw materials and their circulation, access to energy and technology, the expansion of the tertiary sector in the economy, or labour exploitation, and so on, their engagement never falls into a presumptuous kind of activism, allowing itself the possibility (and even the importance) to provide an artistic perspective of an evolving society, in which artists also have a role to play.
Within the framework of their residency at Lindre Basse, Irma Name wanted to approach the Centre des Archives Industrielles et Techniques de la Moselle (CAITM) located in Saint-Avold, to work on archives from the coalmines of the Lorraine Basin, from the major industries and unions of the region. Using documents available for consultation, and encounters with residents that they will later orchestrate, the duo hopes to produce a hybrid narrative combining documentary and fiction. The goal is therefore to deal with the mining extractivism, the appropriation of land, and the industrial productivism that have pervaded the modern age and preceding periods, from the perspective of popular beliefs and through the deforming prism of science fiction.
Translated by Anna Knight
The artist residency programme is organised by the CAC - la synagogue de Delme in collaboration with the Lorraine Regional Natural Park and the village of Lindre-Basse.