mots frontières

variation, borderline words | Pantin, Paris 2oo5

At the invitation of the association “Art au quotidien” (everyday art), Malte Martin played a part in the installation of an artistic stroll along the Canal de l’Ourcq, a demarcation line not only between Paris and Pantin, but also between communities, between rich and poor. Several artists were invited to make use of the embankments. “Art au quotidien” collected from inhabitants their impressions about this place, dealing that particular year with the theme of passage, and boundary. Malte Marin decided to appropriate the administrative signs : these urban fixtures would be the spokesperson for the anonymous residents of the neighbourhood. He made use of the bridge over Paris’s inner ring road — la petite ceinture — with more than a hundred hoardings. This galaxy of signs filled its iron structure and traced constructivist graphic objects in space.

The oxymoron “here you are nowhere, precisely” is taken from an account by one of the inhabitants. Crossing daily the line between Paris and Pantin, he conveys his impression, talks about the relativity of urbanistic boundaries between centre and outskirts. Malte would make this a leitmotif expressing the “urban no-man’s-land”. As an appropriation for the occasion of the sign “you are here” of neighbourhood maps, he re-uses this motif in other devices.

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