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Interviews with Justine Pluvinage and David Schalliol

In between their journeys in and out of Chicago and the Northern region of France, the Hyde Park Art Center connected with David Schalliol and Justine Pluvinage to get their take on their respective residencies.

HPAC: David, what was your primary focus working in the Northern region of France and working closely with the team at the CRP?

David Schalliol: I am particularly intrigued by Hauts-de-France’s special relationship with its history: a former mining region chronicled by [French novelist] Emile Zola, decimated by two world wars, and defined by the waves of immigrants who have called it home. In this place of production and immigration, my goal with the Resilient Images project is to unpack the dynamics of the social and physical landscape, chronicling the subcultures defined by life amongst the mining slag heaps and housing built for workers in an industry that no longer exists. Despite the particularities of Hauts-de-France, the story of the rise and fall of industry is clearly parallel to the experience of the Rust Belt cities that are so familiar to me. With this in mind, I am also curious about how each region is reinventing itself, taking on new social roles and forms, and how that new organization is integrated into the social and physical landscape. How will these conditions affect the next half-century of change?

HPAC: Justine, how did your project evolve as you became more familiar with Chicago? What surprised you about being here?

Justine Pluvinage: I really enjoyed meeting people for my projects. So many interesting people! That is the most surprising thing about my project because I didn't know before I arrived who I was going to meet. My favorite experience was perhaps the Donald Trump protest I attended on a very sunny day, feeling all the good vibes of people wanting to change things. My project became a modern western with contemporary warriors - a new narrative structure I didn't intend before I arrived. I think for me the most surprising thing was how huge Chicago is. I knew before coming but knowing and living is not the same. The hugeness of it was both surprising and tiring; and Chicagoans are so kind.

Justine Pluvinage: Pre-First Visit Interview

1. Tell us a little about your work and approach to making art. I'm a video-film artist. My work exist through my love of human being. Could sound naive but that the best term would embrace and link all my work. As for women portrait who talk about their trauma and how they survived, it's about love. As for my experience of sexuality through an initiatory trip in NYC it's obviously about love. Not necessary to say it when I'm filming the wedding of my cousin, or recently, when I'm filming the love story of disabled neighbors. So my work is about intimacy, secret, taboo, resilience, desire, feminism, humor and love. It's always a meeting with someone who give me the desire to film.

2. What will you be exploring while in residence here? Can't say exactly what I will be exploring in Chicago because it will be really link to my meetings with people, but I have this theme of the resilience I would like to improve. How each person transform reality to make it comfortable for them ? For example, I heard about the hiplet the dance is born in the Chicago multicultural dance center, this dance is a mixed of classic dance and hip hop, it's a reply to the racism present in the classic ballet. This kind of treasures interest me.

3. What interests you most about Chicago as a city in 2017? In United states, I know only New York City, and it's not the most representative city of USA. Chicago as a big city, a cultural center, in the USA, is for me really interested to discover. I don't have expectations, I just want to be lost and surprised.

Post-First Visit Justine Interview

“The next trip will be different...because I coming in the summer, which I have heard is just so different than Chicago during the winter. I will also be feeling more comfortable, as it will feel more like home. I hope I will have again amazing meetings and new surprises. I'm looking forward to see[ing] Chicago undressed.”

I think for me the most surprising was how huge Chicago is. It's a thing I knew before coming but knowing or living is not the same. The hugeness of Chicago was both surprising and tiring. I was also surprising of the really kindness of Chicagoans.

My favorite experience is maybe the Donald Trump protest on a sunny day. Feeling all the good vibes of people wanted to change things. And I really enjoyed veggie burgers I ate. I really enjoyed meeting people for my projects. I met so many interested people. And that the most surprising thing about my project: I didn't know before whom I was going to meet. My project became a modern western with contemporary warriors, and I didn't know it before either. It's also a reflexion about the act of walking and how it could be politic.

The next trip will be different at least because I coming in the summer. I heard Chicago is not the same during the summer or during the winter ; also because I will feeling more at home. But I hope I will have again amazing meeting and be surprised. I'm looking forward to see Chicago undressed.