About Werner

 

Werner Moron, a Belgian artist active both locally and internationally, is the initiator of the methodology behind the “Real Path” project and the “trajet réel” virtual gallery. His work is made of forms as varied as performance, action, sculpture in public space or video, but has constants on the background. Mainly, a critical perspective on the “art world”, on its economic functioning and the elitism of its actors. The spectator possessing, according to him, a symbolic repertory to activate, he also invites in his writings to make a political and symbolic, poetic and participative art. With the watchword of enabling spectators to reclaim public and symbolic spaces to make them creative and committed places, he set up interactive artistic projects and socio-artistic workshops.
“The Wall Street of our desires and disillusions” is an artistic process that “speaks of the real perspectives within which we see the future of an alternative economy that aims to bring down Wall Street” and that takes place in three acts. On the one hand, there are conferences-performances during which the artist, surrounded by professionals from all fields, becomes in the eyes of the public the “banker from the other side”.
On the other hand, on a website, the public is invited to “play on the stock market” a value that is important to them, embodied in the form of their choice: song, photography or multimedia work, anything is possible. Each participant can also bet on courage, perseverance, or humility – all the values proposed by the other participants – and see the rating, the public credibility of “her/his value” evolve, depending on the bets of each one. “The idea is that we reclaim the words that were stolen from us and translate them into our symbolic power”. The third axis, the “University of Doubt”, is designed as a mediation tool between the bank and the participating public.
These three axes are, beyond the artwork, three of the key ingredients of the socio-artistic intervention, the core of the “Real Path” project. It requires creating time for artistic action and the expertise of the facilitators, a space for participatory action and the recognition of the participant’s values, embodied in artworks, and a constant place for mediation, which links the two practices.

Real Path – Imaginary Path: the methodology

 

It is a methodology developed by Werner Moron for socio-artistic animators who would like to conduct workshops, with an audience that could be socio-culturally diverse and outside the art world. The purpose of “Real Path – Imaginary Path” is to assist participants in the creation of an artwork based on their personal experience, on an autobiographical story, by bringing them to the creative process step-by-step.
During the “Real Path” phase, the participant observes his immediate environment, engages in introspection and carefully narrates a personal memory. During this phase, he/she tries to distance him/herself from our immediate environment, to be able to observe our daily life from an outside view. “Imaginary path” is the moment of the symbolic readjustment of the “Real Path”.The participant must introduce an incongruous element into the daily life, into the setting of his/her narrative, and he/she needs to observe how it will affect the entire framework of the “Real Path”. From this reversal of the objective memory that he/she will share with the group, he/she will extract a word, a concept, that summarizes the strong impression that emerges from the story. And it is on this word that we will work then. He/she will try to embody it in an artwork through the “active principles of art”, accompanied by the socio-artistic animator and by what Werner calls the “biotope of art”.
Indeed, it is necessary to focus briefly on the vocabulary he uses, the notions he develops, to take possession of his methodology. 

♦ The plenary session: This is when the whole group meets. It can be represented in the form of a triangle, where at each summit we would find: the principle of agreement “to be something together” first, the participants and the artistic biotope second, and finally the partner institutions and associations (etc.). This is an important part of the process because it is during the plenary session that a co-construction workshop is created, with its own hierarchical system, pace of work, and rhythm of time for speaking and silence. It also takes place at different moments of “Real Path – Imaginary Path” to stimulate the creativity of the participants: the stories of the group and the very fact of the collective are inseparable from the process.
♦ The active principles of art: “This is what, in the artistic process, can be directly exploited by everyone without the need for prerequisites, specific know-how, knowledge of art history, etc. (…) It is the activation of principle that we all have within us, that not only acts consciously, but also physically. It is what gives us an emotion in front of an artwork, or a familiar and intimate feeling when we read a book”.
♦ The biotope of art: It is about bringing together material, human, technical, technological and psychological conditions to enable artistic creation. It is the ability, at different stages of the creative process, and especially at the time of post-production, to call upon professionals who master certain technical skills. This requires that we get off the cult of total savoir-faire, that we accept the idea of an artist who would be a director, a conductor of the artwork, and who would thus lead the technical gestures of his environment, to get as close as possible to his inner vision.

 

This methodology is also a know-how that the future socio-artistic facilitator must experience in practice, guided by a set of concrete and conceptual ingredients, in order to be able to navigate between artistic requirement and support in the kindness of the participants. It is necessary to stimulate the participants desire for creation and high standards, to allow them to appropriate their imagination and their own symbolic and poetic repertoire, in order to transform it into creative potency. But the exercise cannot be carried out without knowing how to ensure the well-being of the participants, in the group and within the creative process. It is also necessary to be able to deal with the human risks that may arise during the workshop, without giving rise to situations that come out of the socio-artistic intervention (to fit into the therapeutic framework, for example). All these elements, which draw on knowledge to be acquired through experimentation, make it possible to conduct a workshop in conditions that are safe for both participants and facilitators.

Real Path / Imaginary Path: art mediation for social dialogue

 

The name of the Erasmus+ project, carried out by four European organisations between April 2017 and March 2019, provides a few elements on its own to understand the project. It gives clues about its relationship with the Virtual Gallery, the last form taken by the project, and with the methodology “Real Path – Imaginary Path”, the raw material of its reflection and its action. It is also possible to guess the essential issue of the project: to create – through socio-artistic workshops in co-construction, an intercultural approach, and non-formal pedagogy – a space for social dialogue. This space for social dialogue is intended to provide a place for identity recognition and the enhancement of individual and artistic expression. It is also intended as a means of appropriating and developing certain skills, aimed at empowering participants by facilitating access to employment. However, “Real Path” lies in the field of reflection and experimentation of a certain number of social and artistic actors, who want to get out of the dichotomy of “utilitarian and recreational art on the one hand, receivable art because disinterested on the other hand”.
Art is not here only a medium of social work, a pretext or a tool to address and solve certain issues; just as the social perspective of the project did not focus on the idea of bringing to art, to a strictly delimited culture, an audience that would be deprived of it. What seemed important to the actors of the project was to propose an artistic approach that would accompany the participants towards creative autonomy and the realization of a work, the result of this process. And this, by creating conditions and dynamics that make it possible to deal with the “social” problematics already mentioned.
The “Art, Nature, and Innovation” department of the Belgian nature protection association Natagora, “Cabuwazi”, the German circus for young people, the French association Elan Interculturel and the Hungarian foundation, Artemisszio, both specialising in intercultural matters, have combined very diverse fields of competence. The fields of mediation and artistic creation, in domains as diverse as video, graphics, sound and the performing arts, have been thought out and adapted according to an intercultural approach.

“The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi¬ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.”

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This site was designed by Orane Stockli in collaboration with the members of the association Elan Interculturel, Mena Yassa and Emilie Brigouleix.

This project was made possible through the assistance of the Natagora, Elan Interculturel association, Artemisszió foundation, and the Cabuwazi circus.