Welcome to erg
Since its creation in 1972, erg has defined itself as a research school where the activation of modes and spaces of production enables students to learn while developing a practice. The articulation of the classes aims at forming a zone of convergence favoring the emergence of unexpected occurrences, of modes of exchange and collectiveness, and of hybridized forms, thus contributing to the training of citizen-artists in relation to the world, extending far beyond the curriculum. Here, what matters is not to offer certitudes, but to gather the conditions for a maximal degree of experimentation that pushes the students to position themselves in relation to their medium while de-constructing it for a better appropriation. In order to de-construct a medium, one needs to manipulate it. The specificity of the erg’s teaching method lies in its inter- or trans-disciplinary approach, guaranteed by the way students and teachers interact across various disciplines: video, painting, photography, sculpture, drawing, installation-performance, digital arts, typography, graphic design, visual and graphic communication, illustration, comics, animation. In the Bachelor’s program, these interactions take place in pluri-disciplinary workshops organized as clusters: Art, Narration and Media. In the Master’s program, four programs are proposed: Art Practice, Critical Tools (Art and Simultaneous Contexts), Narrative and Experimentation (Speculative Narration), Politics and Experimentation in Graphic Design (Design & Politics of the Multiple / Artistic Practices Design and Scientific Complexity). Students also have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with other practices through in-school internships, during workshops organized by the teachers with external guests and open to multiple orientations, or through the use of various learning sites (video editing room, super 8 lab, sound lab, print lab, and so on).
Spaces dedicated to production and action are becoming more diverse. The first years are marked by a maximal degree of experimentation in relation to these spaces. Experimenting the nature of a workshop: a computer, a table, a stage, a kitchen. The multidisciplinary workshops are not confined to the classes, as every space in the school may lend itself to experimentation: the auditorium, specific classrooms, the cafeteria, or the various exhibition spaces. The plastic development of ideas, projects, external commissions, or acts of communication is a process that occurs and operates within its very elaboration. It is a necessary stage: imagining, making, seeing, saying. It matters to accompany the students at they venture in critical territories uncharted by traditional manuals. In order to address the issue of production conditions, the tools the students manipulate must be explored and understood: software, pigments, typography, film, or voice. Is form determined by history, IT companies, technical limitations, economical means, the workspace?
Critical and theoretical tools
One must also explore the issue of the critical conditions of productions pertaining to the existence of the students’ projects: with what analytical tools are we looking at things? What are the sources of these tools? Who is talking? To whom? In what kind of economic, political, and social system? In what kind of history? Throughout the curriculum, the purpose will be to support a form of resistance and epistemological disobedience to the norms and the codes of history. An art practice articulated around the possibility of a critical thought necessarily places its references and its objects within a geopolitical context. Practices cannot be separated from their sites, their forms, and therefore from their techniques, their time, their relations to other artists, art forms and situations.
A specific attention will be given to productions that may have a parallel existence according to various formats: performance, video, lecture, publication, or graphic design. These forms are explored collectively by learning from and questioning the other. The working conditions raise the issue of group work, as the group is a necessary condition for experimentation. This collective work will therefore be central concern for the teaching and administrative team. Such a stance will lead to probe the way the school functions and evolves, as well as the way artists, authors and scientists work. Inviting them to observe the kinds of relations that are developed, the protocols that are established, and the kind of hospitality that is offered. These educational priorities are elaborated with the erg’s team of teachers, together with a program inviting actors from the fields of art, science, and humanities in the form of workshops, seminars, and public interventions. Erg is a place dedicated to artistic, plastic and graphic practices that venture in theoretically and formally critical zones. It offers spaces and pedagogies to be defined and re-defined collectively. It is a place where one may learn from what does not work – that is, a place dedicated to research.
The studies are organised as a bachelor articulated around three artistic clusters – Art, Media and Narration – and gathering 13 orientations Digital Arts / Comics / Animation Cinema / Visual and Graphic Communication / Graphic Design / Drawing / Illustration / Installation-Performance / Painting / Photography / Sculpture / Typography / Video. In each cluster, a multidisciplinary workshop offers a curriculum based on experimentation favouring the opening up of artistic disciplines and collective experiences. All the orientations taught at erg come together in larger groupings, and are thus not considered as isolated elements. This pedagogic approach offers another feature artistic support and technique courses. Supplementing the artistic curriculum, they allow each student to widen their horizons and strengthen their choices. The choice of artistic support courses is completely free, and is to be made among all the orientations proposed at erg.
Theory and practice
Theoretical courses are an essential component of the curriculum, and are fully complementary to the artistic workshops. They allow a further exploration of methodologies, of personal or collective propositions, as well as spaces of mediation and forms, apprehended in their historical and critical perspectives. Research, experimentation and personal project Erg mainly focuses on the student’s project and the learning of methods designed to address multiple and mutating challenges. The students are encouraged to develop a personality of their own, to make a stand, to think off the beaten tracks. Experimentations are initiated as early as the first classes of Bac 1, and progressively shift toward personal researches until the artistic jury.
Research, experimentation and personal project
Erg mainly focuses on the student’s project and the learning of methods designed to address multiple and mutating challenges. The students are encouraged to develop a personality of their own, to make a stand, to think off the beaten tracks. Experimentations are initiated as early as the first classes of Bac 1, and progressively shift toward personal researches until the artistic jury.
Art: Clusters Art, Narration, Media
The clusters – “pôles” – are meeting points and places of convergence between several orientations. Their role is to confront and blend knowledge and practices. Each cluster possesses its specific, multidisciplinary workshop.
Students choose one orientation among the 13 proposed, each of which is linked to a cluster. To allow students to choose with the full knowledge of the facts, all workshops are open during the first week of the academic year, and teachers are invited to describe the content and objectives of their courses.
As today terms like globalization or transversality are still debated and crucial issues, a teaching limited to a single orientation cannot respond efficiently to the constant mutation of artistic practices in contemporary society. Multidisciplinarity contributes to this current debate. The AP is compulsory, and its pedagogy is based on research and experimentation in relation to the students’ personal projects.
Theoretical courses pursue the same objectives as the multidisciplinary workshop and the orientation acquiring theoretical knowledge and critical tools in order to nourish the students’ artistic projects. The wide variety of classes addresses esthetics, art history, or economic and political issues, while keeping a constant link with exact and human sciences