Refuge : schuilplaats, toevluchtsoord, vluchtheuvel, schuilhut. Chercher refuge : een schuilplaats, toevlucht zoeken. refuge (Fr.), v.(m.) (-s), (veroud., hist.), 1. wijkplaats; 2. uitwijking. Refuge: (latin refugium) -Lieu, endroit où quelqu'un qui est poursuivi ou menacé peut se mettre à l'abri. -Simple abri ou construction en dur plus confortable. contact: Wim Cuyvers, wimcuyvers@wanadoo.fr

INTRODUCTION

Having designed spaces (mainly houses and schools) in which I thought one might be able to think about the fatality – after having walked, forced by protocols, often together with students, through cities after wars or in trauma: looking for public space, as I had realized more and more that only public space can be the existential space that I was aiming for, after having (ab)used art contexts to install public space, as I’m convinced that true contemporary art is public space, now, at this moment, there only remains this one try (it’s not a project), there’s only one - not different from life, to start a refuge in the woods of a mountainous area in the French Jura, next to the city of Saint Claude. At first glance it seems to be an abandoned natural environment but in fact it’s an urban region that is called by investors, developers and politicians: Plastipolis or La Plastics Vallée, where in between the CERN , the worlds largest particle accelerator in Geneva , on the one side and on the other extremity the ITER , the experimental fusion power reactor, in Cadarache a very large stretched out contemporary city is developing as an endless long ribbon city in the valleys from Geneva, over Saint-Claude, Oyonnax, Lyon, Grenoble to Valence, where young active researchers are working in new technologies, and are living in individual houses and spend their spare time on leisure activities in the surrounding mountains.
-The refuge turns out to be the most public building: it’s the only public building that doesn’t have to be accessible for the fire patrol and thus for police forces, the door has to remain open, the door has to turn inwards: it’s an inviting door.
-One will have to walk from and to the refuge.
-The refuge is in no way an institutional, not even an associational project.
-The individuals that live for the time being in the refuge will make a living by working in the wood, they are ‘forestieri’. ‘Forestieri’ is the word that Agamben uses in his original, Italian text for ‘refugee’, ‘stranger’ .
-The ‘guardians’ of the refuge will be young 'criminals'.
-The refuge is not a leisure place.
-I consider the wood, which is next to the city as a contemporary, actual public space.
-Refuge – refugee.
-In the refuge one will ‘talk’ by means of space.
-The building of the refuge is historically called ‘Le Montavoix’: the mountain with a voice.
-Everybody is welcome to help in the refuge.
-Please help the refuge to exist.

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