Differences & Repetitions

“My territories are beyond grasp, and not because they are imaginary, but on the contrary, because I am in the process of outlining them.”
– Gilles Deleuze and Felix GaAari, A Thousand Plateaus

Established in 1968 for the purpose of fragmenting the Île-de-France’s “red belt,” the Seine-Saint- Denis department was formed in a way that simultaneously attached it to and isolated it from Paris. Ideologically split from the concomitant capital, it was also demographically, economically, and culturally so, all while still being “the periphery of.” In opposition to Paris’s immutable heritage, the area asserted its own identity through its heterogeneity, the plurality of its voices, and the radicalness of its mutations.

A boundary contrast that encompasses its very dividing line. The outer circular boulevard has replaced the fortifications of the past, but the meaning remains the same: this is where the rich capital ends. And the Parisian gates are already an outside.

Former vast agricultural plains that have become the most extensive industrial area in Europe, it is now suffering from its early urbanization. The result is a paradoxical area, divided between dense housing and wasteland, where the poorest population in mainland France is concentrated.

As the 2024 Olympic Games loom, this territory finds itself embroiled in monumental construction projects, whose scope contrasts with the reality on the ground.
As an army of cranes turns over the soil to build a gleaming future as much as to bury a troublesome present, a whole stratification appears before our eyes.
Agricultural and industrial, natural and urban, poor and opulent, all these asynchronous layers make up a complex landscape, both spatial and temporal, crossed by a constant balance of power.
A tension that invests undefined lands, open spaces, fallow land and non-places, where the morbid repetition of the identical, of the established order to be re-established, is opposed to the vigorous repetition of difference, of life that disappears and springs up again.

Unfortunately, the latter has never seemed so fragile.