Science … innit

posted by Sara Laksimi

Flicking through Twitter today I came across a short report posted on artnet news ( about a new scientific study by researchers at New York University. The key quote, for me, is this: “finding scientific evidence supporting our intrinsic fascination with art […] supports the notion that art has the power to connect people and […] cultures.” As is reported, the study is just a start at investigating why and how humans appreciate art and, perhaps more importantly, how that translates into improved communication and understanding between individuals and (potentially and actually divisive) groups of people.

Fortunately, we of the Appel et Reponse team are enjoying being both in total agreement and in curious dispute with one another – but always with the shared aim of creating intriguing art that reimagines the Everyday. And in case you’re wondering, “curious dispute” for me means the delight in discovering Lisa’s and Zu’s perspectives as we share our separate and unifying creative endeavours.

Speaking for myself, the notion of the lone writer, sitting in a lofty garret, squeezing her brain and, as Hemingway put it, bleeding onto the page has been given a new twist. The input and output of my co-creators is inspiring and exciting, uplifting and gob-smackingly gorgeous. I’m probably overly biased, but when I was invited to join this venture I had no idea how my words would be used. The finished product of our first theme (Theme One: Bamboo) is a real thrill for me. The majority of my previous works have been published online in standard format. Now is not the time for me to divulge how my words have been used in Theme One: Bamboo, but suffice to say it’s a significant departure for me. I feel my practice as a creative writer has been elevated – already beyond my expectations. Here’s hoping our audience will be at least half as impressed.

For those of you who like a visual in with reading a blog post, I shall leave you with this image of the olive tree with lights strung across its branches. At the end of our creative days we sit by it and, over a glass of wine or pastis, we discuss what else we want to try, how else we can improve or develop what we’ve already done. An entirely refreshing and enlivening way to be creating art – that thing which “has the power to connect people”. Wishing you a good evening, wherever you are……


Touch down in Torreilles

Zu and her family gave a wonderful warm welcome, meeting us London arrivals at Perpignan airport and driving us in her go-anywhere people van to our venue. En route from the airport Lisa got a call giving her some totally fabulous news (I’ll leave her to report on that as and when the time is right). So back at the venue there was much to celebrate over a delicious and slightly boozy lunch.  A few hours later, when the pull of the seaside could no longer be ignored, we were at the beach. The sea matched our equally bubbly mood. Down the coast, and through the Vaseline-effect sea mist, we could see the Pyrenees. From where we were, and as someone explained, the outline of the mountains flowed up from the sea as though a crocodile was at the water’s edge with its chin in the water. Later still, as the light softly faded behind us, we ate fresh seafood suppers and continued to discuss, amongst many things, our various ideas and expectations for the project. And then, a spark and a bang! Fireworks. Launched off the beach some 50 or 60 metres away from us and exploding above our heads in all the expected but nontheless never-boring colours, fizzes and glittering showers that seemed to be celebrating our collaboration with us.

Further preparations, and a request…

posted by Sara Laksimi

With only five days until we’re all together, final preparations are under way: Over in Torreilles, Zu is preparing our venue – our base for the two weeks – into a haven of comfort, fun and creativity. A few days ago Zu reported that she’d done some exterior painting work. She also mentioned that a decent dollop of wine had been involved. But fret not folks, I believe the bulk of painting got done before the inclusion of the wine. Meanwhile, in separate parts of London, Lisa and I have already started packing. Items of potential interest (depending on your interests of course) include:

  • video and still cameras – Lisa
  • handmade paper – me
  • factor 15 sun lotion – me
  • factor 8 sun lotion – Lisa
  • printing ink – Lisa
  • sunglasses – Lisa & possibly me
  • writing materials – me
  • laptops – Lisa & me
  • a collection of creative muses (some of which might pop out of a gift-wrapped bottle of gin) – Lisa & me

On a more serious note, I am also keen to further develop my potential lines of questioning and exploration. For example:

  • What is it I really want to know from and about the locals?
  • What do I hope to experience from being in the environment, a new one to me?
  • How do I want to dialogue with the community in Torreilles and the lives of the householders, the farmers, the shopkeepers?
  • If I could ask each person I met only one question to elicit crucial information or insight what would that one question be?

Suggestions Please: So here’s a question for you, dear reader: if you met a writer interested in retelling your stories to a wider audience, what question would you expect the writer to ask? Suggestions in the comments below. No prizes for the best ones (bar, perhaps, a glass of French wine), but you’ll definitely get a mention.

Not long now…

Busy adding visuals to our blog with Sara and getting excited about the residency in a couple of weeks.

This afternoon, in a semi-gutted pub on Golborne Road in North Kensington and as part of the Shubbak festival (11-26 July), we got to see the installation Another Day Lost by Syrian-born artist Issam Kourbaj. We had the great serendipitous opportunity of meeting him and talking about his work. He was also interested to hear about L’Appel et la Reponse and may well drop by on his way back from Spain next month.