‘In the bright spring sunshine, there was a heavy police presence around the Porte de la Villette. Controls are becoming more and more frequent, and there were noticeably less people in the streets. At the CEDRE, the cherry blossom has come out on the trees in the courtyard.
Art Refuge delivered a training session on the theme of hosting on Wednesday. We talked about notions of hospitality like the ancient Greek xenia, a reciprocal code where a host offered a wash, food and drink before asking any questions to his visitors, and the visitors in their turn gave news from the outside world. We also approached the core ideas of Psychological First Aid, which proved very useful for the team of Café Papote – something to develop in the future.
On Thursday the good weather continued, and the atmosphere around the Community Table was for the most part relaxed and playful, despite an underlying tension and a sense of waiting. Tall colourful towers were built, houses with gardens of cherry blossom and plasticine animals were carefully constructed and friendly messages were printed out. A catalogue of Angelica Mesiti’s exhibition “In the round” which explores different communication systems and notation – including bees, music, geology - proved a rich source of conversation, and poetry in Arabic or Bengali made for moving moments of reconnection.’
Kate France & Naomi Press