<body> Public Ad Campaign: Anais Florin For Bien Urbain
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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Anais Florin For Bien Urbain

A few years ago I went to Bien Urbain to do some workshops and install some artwork of my own. This festival is known for their support of alternative concepts in public art and civic engagement despite the fact that it takes place in a relatively small town in France where one would expect a more provincial attitude towards art and culture. The team did not disappoint and they continue to push and defend interesting projects as they look forward to thier 10th year running. When I left Besancon I made sure to leave a set of keys behind for anyone who might want to use the advertising infrastructure for thier own messaging. Over the years a few people have done so, including Quentin Coussirat whose experience as a graphic designer and artist made incredibly thoughtful and subtle interventions. More recently Anaïs Florin took the access to public space much more literally, launching a campaign and art project to defend the Les Vaîtes worker gardens that risk extinction due to real estate development. It seems wherever you are, some things change and some things always stay the same. Read more about Anais' project below. 

Now that we completed the documentation of Anaïs Florin great project from last Bien Urbain festival, it's time to share it with you.

10 min. video (english subtitles available!): https://vimeo.com/358080128 
riso zine: http://bien-urbain.fr/fr/boutique/anais-florin-nos-jardins/
all the pictures and the project context (in spanish): https://anaisflorin.com/Nos-jardins

Anaïs is from Valencia and was invited by Hyuro to be part of the festival. She spent four days here in Besançon, three months following the issues of this local territorial fight and then one month going everyday to feel, talk, and share with gardeners about their relation to the place.

Les Vaîtes is a green place where workers used to have more or less official gardens since decades. It's a forest inside the city where it was impossible to build houses until the local government decided to sell the place to private promoters in order to build an "eco"district. Since more that 10 years, the neighbors were fighting the housing project for several reasons (to keep calm, because the feared the idea of new people coming...) and a new generation of eco-activists motivated by gardening and climate change issues helped to stop the demolition works when it started. Anaïs came in that moment where the city council and promoters were upset, the eco-activist asking themselves if the place should/could became a kind of "ZAD" and the old/immigrants gardeners were a bit lost concerning this new paradigm of civil disobedience.

After spending each day on site, taking pictures and speaking with everyone, she decided to highlight this struggle by a tribute to the place: printing 25 pictures of the gardens, painting on the sentence "Les Vaîtes before the eco-discrict" and put them illegally in city center busstops and lolipops. She also glued on 2 billboards on the border of the gardens, with sentences from the gardeners "Touching the earth is always a highlight, it's soothing. Here we work with the living. Gardening is tenderness, it feeds the eyes, it feeds the heart."

No need to say that the mayor was upset again, and that it empowers a lot of people to think/discuss/discover this local subject in a very different way than press or activism propaganda.

We released the zine for the climate strike and will soon screen the video at the gardens, sharing ways of dealing with fights/art with a theater group working on the same place/story.

It's Anaïs project but obviously a great and lovely team helped her on. Thanks to all.

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