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PROJET POUR UNE JURISPRUDENCE
Patrick Bernier et Olive Martin

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As with the projects undertaken with Lincoln Tobier, Thomas Hirschhorn, John Menick, Juha Pekka Marsalo and Dora Garcia, the project that the Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers is engaged in with Olive Martin and Patrick Bernier takes into account the territory and the context in which it is inscribed.
The project is based on a text written by Patrick Bernier in 2004 titled A Tale For Creating A Legal Precedent (attached). This text has already been published in three reviews (Esse, a publication from Quebec; Ere, a publication by a research group led by Jérôme Joy and Silvia Argüello and Plein Droit, the journal of GISTI, an information and support group for immigrants) and presents the final appeal before the expulsion of a foreign “undocumented” woman claiming her right to stay in the country as “co-author, guardian and interpreter” of an artwork.
The first path that Olive Martin and Patrick Bernier followed for their project involved developing the themes treated in this text within the framework of a medium-length film. The notions of frontier, sharing, territory and identity, as well as the utopian and futuristic dimension of the propositions expounded could effectively be adapted to a cinematic work taking the town of Aubervilliers as its context.
Through its cultural commitment, its historical and current relationship with immigration and its geographical frontier situation with Paris, Aubervilliers effectively presented itself as an adequate and pertinent backdrop.

However, in view of the type of accompaniment offered by the Laboratoires, the two artists wanted to pass from fiction to action. Several things led them to this conclusion. On one hand there is a legal hardening concerning residence in this country for foreigners from outside the EU and the latest manifestation of this, the replacement of the Invitation to Leave French Territory (I. Q. T. F.) by the Obligation to Leave French Territory, confirmed the necessity to develop links of solidarity between foreigners and nationals. On the other hand there is growing awareness, both on a national and international level, of the concept of intangible heritage, whether through concern for protection (Convention for the protection of the intangible heritage of mankind by UNESCO) or mercantile valorisation (report by the commission on the intangible economy ordered by the Ministry of Economy and Finance). There is also Jack Ralite’s statement to the Senate during the general discussion concerning the approbation of this convention: “If, for a long time, identity has been defined by intangible traditions belonging to a culture, notably its language, customs, beliefs and rituals, or by elements which come from the self, it is now increasingly considered to also come from the Other, in other words, borrowing from other cultures. Today, a proper place should be accorded to this mixed heritage which is faced with the danger of turning inwards on itself and of warlike or violent developments given to political conflicts.” Finally there is the active struggle for solidarity with undocumented people in Aubervilliers.

Patrick Bernier and Olive Martin are therefore going to instigate several collaborative projects and composite works in co-authorship with individuals in a precarious situation with regard to the national territory and artists or scientists (to date, the artists and researchers contacted include Xavier Le Roy, Tino Sehgal and Arlette Farge).
They are also in contact with two legal experts: Sébastien Caevet, a specialist in intellectual property rights, and Sylvia Preuss-Laussinotte who specialises in rights of foreigners. They are working with them on the terms for a contract between artists and citizens in a precarious situation giving precision to the links between the collaborators. They are also working on a licence under which the works would be transmitted. The point of the contract is to offer maximum protection to the intangible works and to the people who carry them while taking care not to place the latter in a relationship of subjugation to the artworks or to the artists.
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The publication of the project is planned for the end of 2007 in the form of legal arguments that directly relate to the preparatory work for the contract and the licence that frame the collaborations between artists and the eventual transmission of artworks. Olive Martin and Patrick Bernier will work with a lawyer to develop the appropriate pleas for the different legal situations that the carriers of works might face. Public presentations of these pleas will take place in order to provide occasions for the lawyer to rehearse his or her arguments, but without the paraphernalia of courtroom sets or costumes.

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