Paris- Predeparture + Week 1

Hi all! After some technical difficulties, navigating a few challenges back home from afar and jetlag, I am finally able to have some time to debrief on pre-departure week and week 1 of the USF Paris Program.

To introduce myself, my name is Alicia and I am a graduate student in the studio art department at USF. The program at USF is very interdisciplinary so my practice is a melding of photography, sculpture, writing, and movement. I am taking a studio art class during my time in Paris that is rooted in the Situationists art movement.

Before arriving in Paris, I spent a couple days in London, which proved to be a nice entrance abroad. Arriving in an unfamiliar place, but where English is spoken felt less disorienting than when arriving in Paris. The program began on Tuesday with check-in at Cité Universitaire, in the 14th arrondissement,  which has dorms housing students from around the world, each dorm representing a different country.

It has been a full week, to say the least. Each day is filled with visits to museums and galleries. The homework for my class has been to go on dérives, a concept by Guy Debord, one of the founders of the Situationists. He defined the concept of the ‘Dérive’ as explicitly opposed to and ‘different from the classic notions of journey or stroll’ (flânerie). However, both the flâneur and the person on the dérive move among the crowd without being one with it. The participants of a Dérive must ‘let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there. During our dérives, we are to make notes and sketches in our sketchbook. This has been the most ideal way to get to know Paris, by foot. Each day brings about new discoveries. I look forward to sharing more throughout the next two weeks in Paris.

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