Paris Galaxies Action Shooting Lab #1, Bobigny, 2015

Paris Galaxies Action Shooting Lab #1

in Bobigny (93) with students from the Paris College of Art, 2015


Series of photomontages done with photographic materials sourced from an action shooting performed with urban photography students at Paris College of Art (partner of Paris Galaxies Lab on the future of the Greater Paris metropolis), on Bobigny Prefecture esplanade, Greater Paris (93).


This Action Shooting Lab was focusing on the construction of individual, collective and urban identities, of Paris and of the emerging Greater Paris metropolis, with the viewpoint of international creative students. Their identity is being transformed by their study visit, the degree to which they are anchored in it, the exposure they gain and the discoveries they make in Paris, as much as Greater Paris is being fashioned by and in the gaze of foreign residents and visitors.

Bobigny is also one of the most diverse municipalities of Greater Paris, its esplanade being the natural theater of expression of its inclusion challenges. Located on the esplanade and standing as a symbolic landmark, the Prefecture is the very place where foreigners get their residency permits.


Some of the images produced in this session have been used and storified by RBW in her lab Machination #3 (8 episodes) published in 2016-18 on literature platform



Action Shooting Lab presentation


The Action Shooting Lab is exploring new aesthetic and critical fields at the crossroads of the making of images, identities, urban imaginaries and digital humanities, via performative photography experiments in the public space combined with reflexive writing – principle of a laboratory connecting experimentation and intellectual production.

Whether individual or collective, the shooting is transformed into an urban setting where cameras and smartphones become protagonists of a performance under construction and a set of multi-dimensional interaction. For each lab, RBW creates performative protocols to guide, explore and mark out this new field of photographic experimentation, where the notions of ‘in front of the camera’ and ‘behind the camera’ no longer make sense, and where the border between reality and fiction vanishes. Conventional photographic intentions, codes and “consciousness” are set aside. Both guidance and improvisation can focus on other issues, such as the occupation and interpretation of surrounding space, or even deliberately abandon any directed gaze to leave room for bodies’ freedom and eventually dance.

But it is just as possible to experiment with more elaborate and scripted staging, sometimes including props (for example a simple chair in ASLab # 3), that may become protagonists as well.

These live sessions are associated with time to analyze the experiments carried out and the images produced, additional research, speculative or prospective extrapolations, and then writing.

One of the references of the lab is the photographic practice of William Boroughs who “sniped” quite savagely the city with his camera, lived a singular psychic experience during this and then used his photographs as material for his cut-ups and literary productions. It was also originally through urban photography exploration that RBW developed an understanding of urban realities, prior to designing full urban labs such as its Paris Galaxies project, on the future of Greater Paris.

See the project site

The Action Shooting Lab was thus born in Greater Paris, and has been then storified by RBW in different ways, whether in her Machination project or, and this time on a very large scale, in her book “Paris Ars Universalis, fictional scenario of a future Greater Paris” (Avant-Garde Collection, L’Harmattan publishing, 2017).



Action Shooting Lab history


2015: Action Shooting Lab #1 in Bobigny (Greater Paris), with a group of urban photography students, Paris College of Art. View photomontages and fiction experiment in Machination #3 (2016-18), published on (literature and photography platform).


2016-17: Paris Galaxies Action Shooting Lab, fictionally expands into a giant art-based urban lab in a chapter of Paris Ars Universalis, Scénario-Fiction d’un Futur Grand Paris, R. Bidault-Waddington, Avant-Garde Collection, L’Harmattan publishing, Paris (written in 2016, published in 2017).


2017: Action Shooting Lab #2 in St Ouen (Greater Paris), with students of CASA93 (professional and social rehabilitation fashion school). + Paris Galaxies website.


2018: Action Shooting Lab #3 in St Ouen (Greater Paris), with students of CASA93 (professional and social rehabilitation fashion school). + Paris Galaxies website.


2021: Action Shooting Lab #4 in Bois de Vincennes (Greater Paris), with a group of free meditative dance in the public space.

Action Shooting Lab