Locating Belleville Gallery Installation

In May 2018, I mounted an exhibition called “Locating Belleville” with collaborator Clement Turner (BFA, University of Michigan School of Music) at the Residential College Gallery at the University of Michigan. This exhibition was the culmination of research and analysis for my undergraduate honors thesis in Social Theory & Practice, as well as Clem’s undergraduate thesis in Performance Arts Technology.

locating belleville graphic header

In organizing this exhibition, Clem and I wanted to communicate the mixed-methods research I conducted for my written thesis to a larger public. We wanted to engage people with the the sights, sounds, and textures of Belleville — a Parisian neighborhood renowned for social mixing, popular social movements, citizen initiatives, and immigrant livelihoods. The contents of the gallery included:

  • photographic prints of Belleville streetscapes,
  • a video montage installation juxtaposing scenes from Belleville and Parisian monuments (you can watch the video here),
  • print ephemera retrieved from Belleville cafés, restaurants, galleries, libraries, and other community centres, as well as small photographic prints of Belleville streetscapes,
  • annotated maps of Paris by Belleville residents,
  • and, interactive cartographic installations of Belleville that allowed participants to hear translated interviews with Belleville residents and ambient sounds from the neighborhood in Spring and Autumn 2017 by pressing geo-located buttons on an etched acrylic sheet

Locating Belleville ran from May 3 to May 27 2018, with events held in the gallery on topics ranging from neighbourhood activism to installation technologies.

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By Darian Razdar

Writer, researcher, and artist with an activist bent.

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