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Calais residency

From February to May 2020, we will be in residence in Calais, working together with the artist Sylvie Gaudin on a series of different artistic gestures around the theme of “stories and legends”. More soon.


Il vous faudra bien passer près des sirènes

(You will have to pass the Sirens)

This film was made during a recent  Clea residency, (Contrat Local d’Education Artistique) in Lens-Liévin, in the heart of the Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin

The Louvre-Lens wanted to initiate a workshop with asylum seekers currently housed in Liévin, and they wanted this workshop to connect with their Homer exhibition which is up until autumn. At the same time, the cultural centre of Avion was interested in creating a project which would explore different generations of people who have immigrated to the region – whether recently or years ago. The mining industry, for example,  recruited people from Italy, Poland, Algeria or Morocco at various periods.

I decided to link the two structures in a voice/vidéo project, and to take as our starting point the episode of the Sirens in book XII of the Odyssey.

In the Odyssey (book XII), Circe says to Ulysses: “You will have to pass the Sirens first. They charm all mortals who come near to them… but lost is he who listens to their song. Pass by without stopping…”  The Sirens’ song is beautiful, haunting, deadly … and in a language no-one understands. The idea of using voices and languages, the link with travelling – or passing by – seemed to resonate with the participants.

I asked the 11 participants to each choose a song, a story or a poem in their mother tongue. I then recorded them speaking or singing,  and together we tried to imagine what images could accompany their voice. Certains themes emerged through their diversity : home and lack of home, childhood memories, anger, hope…

A film by Kate France

partners:  the Louvre-Lens, the CADA (Centre d’Accueil des Demandeurs d’Asile) and the CAO (Centre d’Accueil et d’Orientation) and the Jean Ferrat Cultural Centre, Avion.

with : Fatima Aatar, Nada Abbas, Raad Abbas, Dany Blin, Zineb Bouziane, Junior, Jacques Lempicki, Babylas Malonga, Mimi, Giovanni et Antionette Palmieri, Nshteyman Suleman

Music : Gavin Bryars, Bana C4, Eric Sterenfeld and traditional songs
Texts : Nizar Qabbani, Warsan Shire, Marisha Data, and the participants

Thankyou to Loraine Vilain for the engraving workshop, Matthieu Morseau and Giordano Melilli for organising, Joelle Dagher and Magdalena Matthieu for helping with translations.


May 25 2019 at the auditorium of the Louvre-Lens, as part of the Amnesty International weekend “Migrations”

June 20 2019, cinéma le Familia, Avion

link to film

Clea residency

Clea residency

Ciel 56 were selected for a four month CLEA residency in the Lens-Lievin district in the north of France. Together with four other collectives, we worked with people from schools, art centres, theatres, retirement homes, social centres, mediatheques on a series of collective creative gestures around the theme  “territory and movement”.

Some images : walks, memory, family photos, protest, masks

I am writing to you from a faraway land

I am writing to you from a faraway land

video with La Ferme du Vinatier

I am writing to you from a faraway land was a video project led by Kate France and Sylvie Reteuna with the patients and staff of the hospital Le Vinatier in Lyon between September and December 2017.

The participants were asked to create a letter addressed to someone – alive or dead, real or fictionnal. The letter could be written, drawn, danced or spoken. Then, together, we tried to imagine how this letter could be translated into a filmed event.

The film was entirely shot in the hospital grounds : Winter skies, landscaped parks, colonnades, and endless building work frame the messages. “Everything trembles here”, “I’m thinking about you,”

La Ferme du Vinatier is a cultural centre inside the psychiatric hospital Le Vinatier. It is based in old farm buildings which have been transformed to contain exhibition  and performance spaces. This innovative establishment acts as an interface between culture and heath issues, and proposes creative projects, courses and workshops as well as a yearlong programmation for different publics.

link to film

First shown at La Ferme du Vinatier:  20th December, 21st December 2017 as part of the festival Noël au Balcon.

Festival psy (Lorquin), organised by the Centre National de l’Audiovisuel en Santé Mentale (CSASM) projection 6th June 2018.

Inecat Art et Thérapie 30th september 2018

“Journées Cinéma et Psychiatrie”  Thursday 6th December 2018, Lyon

Bill Douglas Trilogy

My Childhood

a film by Bill Douglas (1972)

cine-concert by Eric Sterenfeld and Kate France

first performance 21st March 2017, Magic Cinéma, Bobigny


“Surely it is imagery that is the language of cinema, a brand new language that almost a hundred years after its discovery is still to be properly learnt. The silent cinema started to learn it…Sometimes I fear it may be a lost language” Bill Douglas

My Childhood (1972), My Ain Folk (1973) and My Way Home (1978) provide a painfully intense picture of a harsh upbringing marked by poverty, isolation and the complex family background of a boy who only gradually discovers that his father is the man who lives down the road and that his mother is in an asylum. All three films were closely modelled on the director’s own experiences and memories. They were largely filmed in Newcraighall, the mining village on the outskirts of Edinburgh where Bill Douglas was born on 17th April 1934 and where he spent his childhood.

“The Bill Douglas trilogy is not a silent film. In the three films, we are presented with precise moments of memory, in a series of still images which dilute time; the poetry of the images stands as a contrast to the harsh life described in the films. Sound and dialogue are rarely used, and serve to emphasize silence …The atmosphere of these images has inspired me to create a set of sounds to accompany the film, combining sounds from urban and industrial life, from nature, electro-acoustic layers reflecting the grey/black of the mine, and acoustic instruments. The progression of the sound will mirror that of the trilogy, moving from darkness to light.” Eric Sterenfeld

see an extract

Produced by the Magic Cinéma Bobigny, with additional funding from the SACEM




Flying Birds. Excellent birds. Watch them fly. There they go. / Falling Snow. Excellent snow. Watch it fall. Here it comes. / Long words. Excellent words. I can hear them now. This is the picture      (Laurie Anderson)

Starling is a text, music and video piece about migration, music and language.

Starlings are migratory birds who are well known for their spectacular mumurations. they are also accomplished imitators, kept as pets since long ago for their capacity to copy human speech, other birds songs and even the sounds of machinery. A starling will mix its own songs and the sounds surrounding it, with slight variations, to weave a long soliloquy which is never exactly the same twice.

We wish to explore the links between migration, language and music, in relation to the larger pattern… We have chosen the starling as a symbol of the theme of migration, a theme which is so omnipresent and important at the moment that it imposes itself a fortiori. Like starlings, we want to weave words, sounds and music to compose a soliloquy made up of many voices, changing, adaptable and free.

To make a piece which, like a bird’s song, is never exactly the same.

For this project, we are collaborating with the artist Annick Sterkendreis, who in her series of photos Posture, Imposture approches the theme of migration through metaphor. When she realised that migrating people and birds tend to gather at the same coastal towns, she embarked on a voyage of two years with a simple bird mask…

texts and video : Kate France / music : Eric Sterenfeld / photographs : Annick Sterkendries / performed by : Kate France and Eric Sterenfeld
Coproduction : festival Récits sans Frontières organised by le Château Coquelle awith the support of the Communauté Urbaine de Dunkerque. Residencies : Anis Gras, le lieu de l’autre, Arcueil, le LoKal, Saint Denis, la maison des Métallos, le Bateau Feu, scène Nationale de Dunkerque.


Starling was first shown in November 2017 at Armbouts Cappel and Chateau Coquelle, Dunkirk, and in March 2018 at Cap Etoile, Montreuil

photo © Annick Sterkendries

La forêt dans la ville

La forêt dans la ville (the forest in the town)

community project

La forêt dans la ville (the forest in the town)

“Walk straight ahead / Listen to no one / Trust not in the walls or doorways / For they will mislead / And close behind you / As you walk through / The forest, not knowing / Where you’ve come from / Or where you’re going … / If anywhere at all.” Renée Paule

Theatre and video community project led by Kate France with the Centre Sociale Georges Brassens and the CCAS de Bondy. A project with La Compagnie (direction Jean-Michel Rabeux and Clara Rousseau)

In fairy stories, the dark forest is a place to be lost or saved, a place of unknown dangers and unexpected encounters, where nothing is quite what it seems. The city too can be seen as a forest, full of dangers and strange meetings, where a miracle can be just round the corner.

In the Middle Ages, the forest of Bondy stretched over half of the territory of the Seine Saint Denis region. Now, there are only a few traces left; The town has swallowed up the forest, but the forest still has a strong imaginary imprint on the people living in Bondy.

This project involved two groups of inhabitants: retired people who have lived in Bondy all their lives, and immigrants who are currently learning French – although some of them  have lived in Bondy for years.

We explored the links between our perception of the forest and the town, drawing on poems, songs, stories and the participants’ own experiences. The story of Red Riding Hood quickly became a narrative thread. We went out in disguise to the streets of Bondy, and to the preserved parts of the forest, and soon, like Little Red Riding Hood we strayed from the path…

The participants: Sonia Amadieu, Kili Aroumougame, Charlotte Causse, Bertine Djouan, Khadidja Jaffri, Monique Lacherez, Marie Marc, Florence Podin, Georges Podin, Françoise Seignez, Mireille Usayisenga

texts : Claudine Galea, Kate France, chanson du peuple Sioux / music : Balfa Brothers, Ceux qui marchent debout, Olivier Messiaen, Richard Wagner

Project with la Compagnie, direction Jean-Michel Rabeux and Clara Rousseau / administration and public relations : Fanny Delalandre and Anne Gaëlle Drouot / accountant:  Philippe Dubois / Financial partners : DRAC Île-de-France (appel à projet Culture et lien social),  ville de Bondy dans le cadre du dispositif FIA, Service de la vie associative de Bondy et Centre social Georges Brassens.

Public presentation at Bondy Town Hall,  7th February 2017

Weathertime Dunkirk

Weathertime Dunkirk

a day of workshops

hands bigger

Saturday 28th may 2016 from 10h to 23h. Fructose, Hangar 4, IV. Route du Quai Freycinet 3, Môle 1, Dunkerque.

As a follow up to the project Le Temps qu’il fait, which took place in Dunkirk all through 2015, we proposed a day of international workshops (dance, music, painting, film) on the theme of “le temps” which in French has two meanings:  weather and time. These workshops were open to artists, residents, amateurs, professionals, of all ages from both sides of the Channel.

After the workshops we spent time together in a collective moment, and then watched the film Weathertime, ( produced by Dover Arts Development with participants from  England, France and Belgium.) with improvised musical accompaniment from Paul Cheneour and Eric Sterenfeld.

The evening ended with a meal provided by local association de Troquet en Troquet and dancing.

With the artists:  Phoebe Dingwall (painting), Kate France (video), Éric Sterenfeld (music), Erika Zueneli (dance). Catering : de Troquet en Troquet

Proposed by Kate France  and Sylvie Reteuna in partnership with la Maison de Quartier La Timonerie and DAD-Dover Arts Development. With support from la Communauté Urbaine de Dunkerque and la Ville de Dunkerque.

Weathertime (the film)

Le temps qu’il fait, le temps qui passe

Le temps qu’il fait, le temps qui passe

Installation for the festival “Récits sans Frontières”

photo © Kate France

A space where words become images and images become stories…

This project ran parallel to le temps qu’il fait recital/concert 

With the same notebooks as a  starting point, we created an installation in which the photos taken in the workshops led by Château Coquelle and  a reading of a year’s entries in the diary were put together. We decided to reconstitute a “loge de concierge” with a bed, shelves of knick knacks, a table with coffee cups… The photos were tucked all over the room, in the side of the mirror, in boxes on the table, and the sound of the diary ran continuously.

The installation also included the avant première of the film Weathertime, produced by Dover Arts Development for Culture Kent.

Weathertime brings together works by 30 selected artists from England, France and Belgium, who created a visual diary of the weather across the ‘maritory’ of the Straits of Dover last September.  Each artist produced a work of art in response to the weather on a particular day in September 2015.  These responses – made in a range of media from painting to print to text – have been woven together to make a fascinating 30-minute film, with a soundtrack from musicians Paul Cheneour, Francois Le Roux and Marjorie Van Halteren mixed by Marcus Bishop.” DAD

Coproduction : festival Récits sans Frontières organised by le Château Coquelle and supported by de la Communauté Urbaine de Dunkerque

Exhibition from 15th January to au 5th March 2016, Château Coquelle, Dunkerque


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