Campement Urbain: The Future of Panthers/ Panthers of the Future
What interested me in the C3West project with Panthers was how to find a translation: because it’s not my language – the Panthers are not really used to being in the arts field, but I’m not used to being on the rugby field!
Sylvie Blocher *
In 2006, C3West invited internationally renowned French collective, Campement Urbain to undertake a series of residencies in western Sydney. As a result of these residencies, they were commissioned by the Penrith Panthers Entertainment Group to consult with their architects for the major redevelopment plans of a 70 hectare plot of land in Penrith, owned by Panthers. Specifically, Campement Urbain were tasked with telling the story of the club’s history in the local community, as well as their future development.
In July 2008 founding members of Campement Urbain, Sylvie Blocher and Francios Daune returned to Sydney to present The Future of Panthers/ Panthers of the Future, which included architectural consultancy, discussions of new architectural technologies and a video work, A Tale for Adults, an allegorical tale about Penrith.
The overall-aim of the project is to position the Panthers not only as a sports club, and as the owner of playrooms where people can play slot machines and win money, but also places where they can dream and aspire to better living conditions, create bonds, perform new activities that would be unique and therefore renowned throughout the whole of Australia.
Recognising the enormous social and cultural importance of the proposed development, Campement Urbain provided Panthers with a visionary and utopian story of their future, that explored the possibilities for western Sydney, and the potential influence that the region could have on urban renewal, sustainable lifestyles and community development, both regionally and internationally.
In addition to the presentation, a small installation screening of A Tale for Adults was created at Penrith City Council to display the work of Campement Urbain to the residents of Penrith. This community-based installation provided another opportunity for the residents of Penrith to engage with and comment upon their story, as told by Campement Urbain.
Image: A Tale for Adults (extract from) The Panthers of the Future/ The Future of Panthers, 2008, video installation, 29:45 minutes, English version, Commissioned by C3West and Panthers Entertainment Group, Image courtesy and © Campement Urbain
- Sylvie Blocher, The Art of Engagement Symposium, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 21 October 2009