A weaving of artistic actions on a multicultural territory - EU・ジャパンフェスト日本委員会

A weaving of artistic actions on a multicultural territory

Emmanuel Fleitz|Artistic direction & project manager - Man'ok & Cie

Eden Europa results from the desire of proposing on the one hand an artistic project we felt nowadays relevant: questioning the human being in his environment through languages accessible to all, non-verbal as dance and music are; and on the other hand some contemporary actions as close to the inhabitants as possible through intimate relationships.

Our artistic collaboration – Emmanuel Fleitz and Sayoko Onishi – within Man’ok & Cie made the project possible: the meeting of two cultures – Japanese and French, two complementary artistic disciplines and two genders.

From 2019 on having those first ideas in mind, we travelled the French-Luxembourg cross-bordering territory to meet the inhabitants. We were surprised to discover so many different cultures and various spaces on the territory, allowing us to implement our project. We decided then to propose a choreographic and musical journey through gardens, natural and urban spaces by crossing two themes: Art and Nature. We thought being able to bring people from both sides of the border together on sites worth to be discovered, where we could give to live intense emotional moments during micro-events. Even if the health crisis came to shake up our program, our approach was a strong proposal to keep on programming living art performances. Thus was born Eden Europa, which has quickly raised the interest of different partners in France and Luxembourg, and has been selected for the program of Esch2022, European Capital of Culture.

Eden Europa : Performance LANDSCAPER, ici même à ciel ouvert 14/08/2022 – Lagoon Celebration – Kaunas 2022 / Lithuania © Linas Zemgulis

2021 was the year of the implementation of Eden Europa, with the weaving of our artistic actions on the territory as first stage. It was an intense year shared between artistic creation residencies and meetings with actors of the territory: associations, schools, museums…On the one hand we were on the production of the different elements of the program – the creation of the choreographic and musical performance “Landscaper, ici même à ciel ouvert”, the mediation actions for the various workshops, the themes of the conferences and the creation of the green caravan; and on the other hand we were scheduling the calendar for all the events taking into account the different partners and spaces chosen. We were pleasantly surprised by the good dynamics created during this stage. If at the beginning we had to explain a lot the meaning of our contemporary project as close as possible to the inhabitants, we quickly got warm feedback and we felt that we could respond to a real demand.

Finally we arrived in 2022 in the event ESCH 2022, European Capital of Culture. The moment when the project became a reality.

The first few months allowed us to set up in the territory, to finish the construction of the Green Caravan, to clarify the main direction of our calendar. 

Eden Europa : the green caravan 10/09/2022 – Les étangs – Rédange / France © Man’ok & Cie

From February to December, we carried out more than 70 performances of “Landscaper, ici même à ciel ouvert” and more than 200 mediation actions, workshops and conferences, and 10 trips of the Green Caravan. 

A very intense programme that we carried out and when the opportunity arose, in which we were able to propose, meetings with other artists – dancers, musicians, visual artists, actors, photographers and filmmakers. The public reacted enthusiastically and then, they came back to discover other surprises.

Landscaper, which was set in natural or urban landscapes, was renewed each time according to a choice of the specific place. The influence of the environment inspired our creation. We also offered the workshops to all the inhabitants, in open spaces, where people could come from both sides of the border. We opened workshops to all the inhabitants, either in open spaces, where they could come from both sides of the border, or in schools, centres for disabled, social centres. In this way we were able to reach the diverse audiences, children from 2 years old, elderly people up to 92 years old, handicapped people, immigrants. We were really touched by the reactions of the participants. They were able to express themselves with their bodies and their voices in a very open way. Some immigrant women told us that it was the first time they felt free to express themselves in such a way. We saw a lady in a wheelchair suddenly stood up and then, danced to the sounds of double bass. The children and adults were awaiting us with anticipation and there was a beautiful energy could be seen in their eyes. 

The Green Caravan also accompanied the project to a number of events. It offered the possibility to build a scenography in the space for Landscaper and to provide workshops about the gardening such as the creation of plant tableaux, kokedama… 

Eden Europa : the green caravan 12/06/2022 – Maison des Jeunes et de la Culture – Audun-le-Tiche / France © Philippe Moench

People reconnected with nature by touching plants, putting their hands in the earth. The conferences provided an occasion for people to talk with our guests who are the specialists and passionate about certain environmental themes addressed in Eden Europa. For example, a researcher working on soil decontamination through plantations, an audiovisual artist who explained the difficulties of listening to the nature sound in the areas polluted by human activity… 

On 11 December 2022, we decided to celebrate Eden Europa’s First Step. A way of bringing together the partners, the different components and the presentation of Landscaper X, a new performance with dance, music and visual art which was created in the natural park (les espaces naturels sensibles) in the territory. We were particularly touched by the testimonies of the people who attended, especially Véronique, a participant who frequented the various events asked “And what are we going to do after this great adventure?

Indeed, 2022 is the first step. Eden Europa, an artistic, environmental, and human adventure that will be continued. Eden Europa is part of the Esch2022 legacy. This experience proved the value of the approach we proposed, by crossing those themes: Art, Nature and Human. We propose to continue the adventure from 2023 on and go further towards new paths, in a journey crossing the borders between the territories of Luxembourg, France, Belgium, Germany, and up to Timisoara / Romania.