Qu'est-ce que c'est, Le Cent Quatre?

Authored by:
Jennifer Baldwin

Jennifer Baldwin

Le Cent Quatre, which means "The 104," is a cultural center in the 19th arrondisement of Paris.  For many years, the building housed undertakers and is today recognized as a historical monument.  Le Cent Quatre opened as a cultural exhibition space in 2008.  Artists of various types are invited to work on site, which allows the general public to witness the process.  In Paris, Le Cent Quatre has become well-known as a meeting place for urban dancers and young artists of all kinds.  

During our visit, we had the opportunity to see an exhibition called Énergies Désespoirs.  The exhibit shows two different sides of the world: one that is full of hope and being rebuilt (une Énergie), the other demonstrating the destruction of our climate in a collapsing world (un Désespoir).  There are 120 paintings in the exhibit designed to look like a forest.  Half of the paintings face in one direction and are in black and white to represent the despair, while the other half are in bright colors representing energy and hope.

Students were then able to enter a large room where everyone was welcome to share their hopes and despairs.   Énergies were written on bright green sheets of paper and posted on one side of the room, while Désespoirs were written on white paper and posted on the other.  Students took the time choosing their words as well as walking around the room and seeing what people from around the world had posted.  

Although Le Cent Quatre might not be as widely known as some of the more famous monuments in Paris, our students enjoyed the opporunity to experience something truly unique!

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