With all her public actions Czech artist Kateřina Šedá seeks to foster an exchange between residents and their everyday environment. The artist’s project is grounded in social inquiry, and her practice connects the urban context, everyday life, private relationships and the political, orchestrating actions that take shape in public space. Located somewhere between precise instructions and a space of improvisation, her projects engender both minor and major events.
Kateřina Šedá will begin her residency at Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers in September 2016; she will be inviting Aubervilliers residents to participate in a talent contest, open to all forms of talent. Once enrolled, the residents of the commune of Aubervilliers who wish to express a talent will be invited to present their talent before a panel of judges made up of local figures. The winners will have their name engraved on the pavement of a street in Aubervilliers, like the ‘Walk of Fame’ on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. In the Aubervilliers context, this ‘walk of fame’ will be a tribute to the diversity and richness of the residents’ talents and histories, and will be an opportunity to share and preserve them like a notable memory with all those who walk in the chosen street. Far from being a typical competition, the contest will be an opportunity for residents/participants to meet and exchange with one another.
« My intention with this project is to try to alter a certain state of things. There’s a Japanese proverb that states that “The capital is where you live”. By fully identifying this sentiment, I would like to show not only the inhabitants of Aubervilliers but also those from surrounding areas that there are unique people living here and that this town is as interesting as any other. I would like to create a specific site in the town that highlights its unique quality.
I drew my inspiration from a very different kind of place, a place most people dream about living in: Hollywood, in the United States. One of its key symbols is the ‘Walk of Fame’ on Hollywood Boulevard (a ‘sidewalk’ stretching for approximately 5 or 6 km, featuring more than 2000 five-pointed stars with the names of celebrities). By organising this contest and creating a non-traditional monument in public space, I would like to bring something similar to Aubervilliers.
Insofar as this town, in the outskirts of Paris, is not home to film stars, I needed to find alternative criteria for identifying local ‘stars’. We were ultimately inspired by the popular TV programme ‘America’s Got Talent’. Like the programme’s nation-wide selection process, we will be seeking out talents across the commune of Aubervilliers. The programme highlights the fact that everyone has a talent that simply needs to be discovered. In this way, everyone will have a chance to reveal their talent, to perhaps become a star in their particular category and be awarded their own star in one of the streets of Aubervilliers.
Whereas in Hollywood, camera work or directing are the ways in which people get invited to socialise with celebrities, in Aubervilliers this might be achieved more modestly by making a fantastic cake, or a painting, a well-trained dog, a knitted cardigan, and so on. At the end of the contest, the judges will decide which participants will be awarded a star on the Aubervilliers walk of fame ».
Kateřina Šedá, January 2016
Kateřina Šedá is in residency at Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers from September 2016 for a participative project entitled Aubervilliers' Got Talent (Aubervilliers a du talent).