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"Image: LE QUICK, video still, Monte Laster, 2017

Multi-media installation, 2017


In the French government housing project known as "Cité des 4000", there was once a fast food chain restaurant known as "Quick". This was the only place in the city of La Courneuve where children and their families could go for events such as birthdays, Saturday and Sunday afternoon or evening meals where the children could be included.


French restaurants are rarely adapted to the welcoming of children. In this low-income, poverty-stricken "food desert", the limited number of restaurants, businesses, shops and bars, even adults have trouble finding a place of communion, social exchange, celebration and relaxation.  

"Quick"  was the only fast food change in the heart of the community. This over-lit, harbor of reassuring playfulness represented "the only place where life was normal" according to many local children. The local social difficulties linked to many religious, gender and cultural complexities seemed to all but disappear once entering its doors. The constant anxiety linked to possible verbal and physical violence also seemed to not have their place inside its "heterotypic" walls. 

In 2016, the city announced it's decision to destroy the restaurant in order to build the future "Gare des 6 Routes" for the GPS (Grand Paris Express) the super metro which promised to be the solution to the enormous crowds of visitors for the 2024 Olympic Games. At the writing of this text, in 2024, the station is now foreseen to be open only in 2027. Years after the transportation strangling event.

"LE QUICK" the work presented here, was begun months before the demolition in order to document the period of "deconstruction" (as it is so lovingly called by local government). It continued until the complete disappearance of the building and until it became an example of the "flat world" local politicians, urban planners and developers so cherishingly seek out. The promise was made that the restaurant would be rebuilt very quickly as the new train station was completed. It is now 2024 and a new restaurant is far from being a reality.

LE QUICK" video installation witnesses to a barren wasteland where once a type of joyful "Heterotopia", as the French philosopher Michel Foucault called them in Principle 4b: Heterotopias of festivity, like festivals and fairs, work in an opposing way. They enact pleasure precisely through their perceptions of precarity, not permanence. They are not a vacation that you wish would never end (a utopia, perhaps). They are, instead, a vacation whose pleasures arise in the temporary nature of the experience.

"LE QUICK" proposes that we use this lifeless, melancholic shell  of a place, to reflect on what has been what could be and what will be. The waiting space and time that so often left to be forgotten and abandoned as being of interest, creative potential and promise. It questions the relation that places, people and actions create an opportunity for the construction of social exchange and festive memories. 

It is not a melancholic thesis on the unfortunate mental debris left behind by the giant black marker of an Urban Planner turned god. It is the story of one specific place where celebratory memories still exist, even in a place of relatively toxic, human nourishment. 


 "Image: LE QUICK, videostill, Monte Laster, 2017

 Images: "LE QUICK" video still, Monte Laster, 2017

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