In a world where everyone is in contact with everyone else, having something truly collective often emerges as difficult. In this context of globalisation and migrations, the issue of identity is more and more prevalent. An identity in its original sense means: what is identical to us, keeps us together. Beyond differences, what makes us identical? To explore this question, Ideal Lab’ invited artists, designers and the inhabitants of two harbor cities and industrial micropolis: Saint-Nazaire in France and Florø in Norway. After having exchanged and found recurring issues, the Agents have imagined objects and art pieces generating identity. An identity based on what brings people together, local techniques and aesthetics. Three scenarios structure the exhibition on over 110m2: Share, Adapt and Belong.
Identity “having something identical” can only be created through the act of sharing. That said, sharing is not always easy when natives already have their habits and social networks, while the newcomers do not know all the rules. Successful sharing is preceded by a personal selection of what
is really important, like a chef selecting ingredients or a DJ, songs. Sharing becomes a way to progress and improve when it goes both ways. Each one thinks about what is important to them, share it, and enjoys the experience and the selection of others. In Florø like in Saint-Nazaire, sharing seems to be a delicate operation, even though the Agents realised that, in the good conditions, everyone is eager to contribute. This inspired the Agents to create inviting objets to share teatime, a simple moment when it is unimportant if one master the others language.
Integration is a process in which one keeps being oneself, while adapting to stay relevant and
alive. In the case of migration, it is to make space for the new without losing yourself, both for the welcoming society as well as for the migrant. For cities, it means becoming more attractive while staying unique. Adaptation is a dialectic movement between transformation and conservation.
To keep being desirable in the eyes of the ones who have this know-how, Florø and Saint-Nazaire need to adapt while being faithful to what makes them unique. In both cities, the adaptation is not only human and economic, it is also essential to their geographical features, the essential role of the ocean, the tide, the ever changing weather, the uninterrupted movement of people, objects, and elements.
Belonging is a feeling based on the collective identity, shared rituals and a collective imagination. The common identity shows what people really share, the rituals make everyone feel physically
and emotionally connected. The collective imagination is filled with events, artistic expressions and traditions touching everyone. Ideal Lab’s Agents were fascinated by the significance of manual traditions in both cities – creating, fixing, making, restoring – and their absence in the public space. The collective transformation process, through work and reclaiming public space, are the main themes of this scenario. A video artwork describes the life of the cornerstone company of Florø, the shipyard where workers are connected by oxygen supply, like parts in an enormous machine.
More information: www.ideal-lab.org