The intervention takes place in the block of buildings called 'Le Cristal' in the 'Arènes' area in Toulouse, France.
The population in Toulouse is growing significantly. Hence, the will to resist « gentrification » in the neighbourhood, by strengthening the identity and cultural cohesion among the people, relying on the local diversity so as to give birth to a new identity.
A challenge specific to this block of buildings : the constraints due to the architectural environment.
The building structure isolates the apartments from one another. Several building entrances with only two apartments for each entrance, which creates problems of communication and does not help encounters, compromising the social unity of the architectural structure.
This problem of communication -directly linked to the architectural environment- inevitably affected relations between the locals and the project carriers. The residents were informed of the project by a note left in their mail boxes.
Giving more visibility to those who usually remain invisible, by humanizing the environment in terms of architecture and urban planning, an environment which has lost its connection with the inhabitants.
A camera device (photobox) has been installed, giving the residents the opportunity for individual photographs. With this device gradually integrated in the environment, over a hundred portraits were taken. Besides, a large number of short phrases and sentences was collected from the residents.
For the final banquet, as a conclusion to the intervention, the portraits were projected on the Cristal building's façade, from the apartment of one of the residents.
A portrait of me for you
Colours on the Cristal Building
At the initiative of the Pepite Collective.
Free drawing on the photoboxes in front of the building.
Portraits in the Neighborhood
Design of a module by Mystodia association, from Kiev. The module was later built in the neighbourhood with the objective of arousing the inhabitants' curiosity. The local residents had fun putting the stools together and then could take them back home, which was a good opportunity to foster social relationships.
The module later provided a support for artistic activities (drawing, cooking design).
This module still exists and has been made available to associations.
The concept of Cooking Design consists in adapting traditional recipes collected from the local residents.
In this particular case, the general architecture of the buildings made it difficult for the project carriers and the residents to meet and the collection of recipes was hardly possible.
The Cricao association then came up with the idea to create a brand for a chocolate bar : The Cristal.
The wrapper showed a photo and a short phrase given by the residents during the Photobox session. As a result, about 150 different chocolate bars were made.
They were handed out on the evening of the projection, as a giant chocolate bar was being painted by the locals with edible paint.
Each participant to this final banquet got a candy bar.
It spontaneously started a trading game among the residents, each of them hoping to swap his chocolate bar for the one showing his own portrait.
Musical set with a one-man band, projection of the « Photobox » portraits on the façades of the building and final banquet.
Later in the evening, one of the local residents complains about the noise, an opportunity for all to think about the organizational difficulties of musical events and the programming choices.
Out of these reflections, a committee specifically dedicated to the choice of programmes is created, demonstrating their desire for new events, potlucks and collective actions.
In this way, something unexpected gave the residents the opportunity to discuss and solve problems.
Meal and projection of the portraits of the residents on the façades of the building.