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TRAITS D’UNION.S ~ Marseille

Scenes of the World

28th August ~ 29th November 2020

How to Show Time
in Monochrome?

30th September- 3rd October 2020

‘Scenes of the World’ is a spatial installation by Johann Arens considering the civic potential of public transport and its social significance for the diverse communities of Marseille. The sculptural intervention takes place at Coco Velten, a cultural institution on the premises of the former municipal headquarters of Direction des Routes rue Bernard du Bois.

The exhibition borrows its title from ‘Hale’s Tours and Scenes of the World’, an attraction designed in the early twentieth century that simulated a railway journey. These customised cinema spaces mimicked train carriages to the finest detail, and were often even mechanised to rock the ‘passengers’, simulating the motion of a steam train. With elaborate equipment of levers, pulleys, wheels and sound devices, visitors, often still unacquainted with the moving image, were overwhelmed by these instantaneous travels taking them through Swiss landscapes, Norwegian fjords and the Rocky Mountains. In contrast, Arens' sculptural intervention directs attention to the everyday scenarios that play out inside busses and trains merging this with the tableau of the public domain that is Coco Velten.

The events programme curated by Diaspore, is inviting artists and community groups from Marseille and beyond to work collaboratively and build collective narratives. Using storytelling the programme questions how ideas of territorial intimacy, identity, migration and cohabitation can become progressive infrastructures to rethink the way we live together.


Wednesday 30th September ~19/23h

~ 19-20h 
Johann Arens, Lou-Atessa Marcellin (Diaspore) Raphaël Haziot (Coco Velten)
Johann Arens, Lou-Atessa Marcellin (Diaspore) Raphaël Haziot (Coco Velten) will give a presentation of the project and its public programme. We will talk about Arens installation, its history and development during Manifesta13, Coco Velten’s place as a socially oriented art center in Marseille and present the thinking process behind the public programme proposed by Diaspore that engages with ideas of identity, community and migration through time.

‘is everybody on the same boat?’ 
matteo demaria & Asso SOS residents.
in france, in cities with more than 10000 inhabitants – such as marseille -, the census takes place each year and concerns 8% of the population. its goal is to statistically profile the people living on the territory. this process is carried out using a form with a range of questions as narrow as the space left to answer.
matteo demaria and a group of residents supported by Asso SOS worked together from this form to think about each person’s experience of life towards a philosophical and social questioning of the world. Rather than constructing a reductive overview, they tried to dig into what is and what could be, and propose a set of fragments to gather and discuss.

︎︎︎View book here

Project supported by


Repas LibreAndrea Moreno & Soumiya Sassy
For “Repas Libre’’, ceramicist and chef Andrea Moreno originally from Venezuela will be working with Soumiya Sassy, chef and passionate poet from Algeria. Inspired by the oriental cuisine that dominates Marseille and the mediterranean traditions of ornamented bread, the duo will explore bread both visually and sensorially, as a vehicle of cultural union and serve a meal flavoured with the colours and smells of Algeria. Alongside the meal, Andrea will present a new ceramic vessel referencing the constant presence of motorcycles or ‘cross’ in Marseille. Over the summer, she has been working with a group of children from La  Cité de la Castellane towards the conception and realisation of the piece.

Thursday 1st October ~ All Day

A special broadcast exploring and examining the present and possible future contexts for the city of Marseille and the people who live there. With a panel of guests we will explore and uncover new perspectives on place, urbanism and the future life of the city. This will be a digital meeting of minds exploring the tested VVFA co-enquiry model in a new context, bringing together different communities and voices in the exploration of new normals and their future potential. 


Round table with Coco Velten, Diaspore and Theatrum Mundi, Arthur Eskenazi
A round table to explore alternative models and modes of cultural production. How do we create culture? How do we give it value and visibility? How do we organise it to make it viable for those who produce it? Who is profiting from it?


Friday 2nd October ~19/22h

How to show time in Monochrome?
Lea Collet & Swan L’haoua, Theo Turpin, Marleen Boschen, Charles Pryor, Sara Rodrigues,
Lou Atessa, Soumiya Sassi.

Stories that offer different readings of time throughout a variety of accents, tones, half tones, silences and breaths, mouvements and pauses to think about what ties us together and what keeps us apart.

credits: Fabrizio Scarpignato

~19-19h20 ~ Poetry reading by 

Soumiya Sassi

credits: Fabrizio Scarpignato

~19h30 -19h45 ~

Bouquets & Bubble Gum
Drawing inspiration from the context of the bus within Johann Arens’ work ‘Scenes of the World’ this performance expands outwards from a short story contained in the artists’ recent book of short stories “Into The Night”. The performance takes the book and uses it’s contents as a source of details and scenarios to be explored in the context of the gallery, an act of world building.
On this occasion the focus lies on a florists’ journey from outer suburb to inner city to arrange bouquets for a bank headquarters, a journey that incorporates varied different realities and shifts in language and wealth. Through a series of translations, both visual and linguistic this relationship between aesthetics, culture and power will be explored as a live event, a retelling and simultaneous expansion of the original story.

credits: Fabrizio Scarpignato

Marleen Boschen, Charles Pryor, Sara Rodrigues & Lou-Atessa

The Great Conversation (still, as someone passes by) 
A live performance by Marleen Boschen, Charles Pryor, Sara Rodrigues and
Lou-Atessa, follows the soil as a narrator and witness to the unfolding histories of human cultivation practices and environmental acts of violences. It seeks to make audible the soil as a living global infrastructure, a container for past and present cultivation knowledges and extraction processes and how these stories can be told through something we often unknowingly depend on for the survival of humans and non-human ecologies alike. This project is born out of a larger research-led film project titled A Womb of Things to be and a Tomb of Things that were by artists Charles Pryor and Marleen Boschen which combines elements of historical and scientific research with speculative fiction about seeds and conservation during times of ecological breakdown.

credits: Fabrizio Scarpignato

Lea Collet & Swan L'haoua

Friendship Never Ends 
Swan and I have known each other for more than 15 years. He is an actor and I guess I am an artist. In here, together, we start to imagine an environment that fluctuates between fauna translation, online emotion and collective connection. The attention shifts between intimations of the future and personal story towards a digital ritual. This ritual triggers to access a space that sits outside of reality, to manipulate our senses and overdose on our own emotions. In order to create a more mutual; and sustainable relationship with nature, we collaborate with flowers, our phones hold kindness, respect and affection for one another and for the earth.

Lean On Me

Saturday 3rd October ~11/13h

You’re invited to inhabit a space where we can decide together to let the plants make us do things. A time to let the plants make us move, make us breathe, make us tell stories. A time to let the plants convene what and who they want
to convene, in their own way. It’s a dance of ears with no ear-drums: come with everything you need to listen to what makes (almost) no noise. Workshop open
to every body.

This programme is supported by