Launch of Amour Constitutionnel
February 18: the day of the launch of Amour Constitutionnel. Even before entering the pop-up space near Les Halles, Paris, attendants are amazed by the multicolored graffiti outside the location, as well as the gigantic flag with the Amour Constitutionnel logo. The logo consists of a circle-A as in the anarchy symbol, the word “Amour” in high-voltage shape, followed by birds transforming into hearts, above the word “Constitutionnel”, static yet gritty. Does love need freedom? Impulses? Or does it need to be placed in a solid framework altogether?
Inside the space, in a friendly and warm atmosphere, the participants’ attention is directed towards hundreds of white papers on the walls with irregularly placed words and phrases, black and bold, in English and French, such as: “all alone”, “feeling with your cock”, “too many cars, too many buses, too many metros”, “she wasn’t proud of me”, “sometimes I’m sober”, “a life with regrets”. It’s difficult not to stop a second and contemplate the meaning of these messages, then to continue on strolling, gathering inspiration from the photos taken by Gregory Happart. The latter has tried to capture aspects of the concept of Amour Constitutionnel through pictures such as a trapped heart, an impotent drug addict lying on the floor, a curious and innocent gaze from a cat, a wrinkled magazine reading “Trump, a shattered America,” and more. Participants start wondering: is the project about contemporary societal topics in metropolitan areas?
Before finding an answer or understanding more precisely what Amour Constitutionnel is about, the participants – around sixty in total, all of whom came at different times throughout the afternoon, could at least satisfy their stomachs while discovering the Veggie Power Box stand, with Aurélia, the co-founder of this innovative detox concept promoting healthier, greener and more vitamin-rich food, serving up delicacies and smiles definitely worth the detour! At this point, all of participants’ senses are heightened and the tension rising …. Louisa and Vedran, who for some participants might be former colleagues, classmates from high school or Sciences Po friends and classmates, ex-lovers, or simple acquaintances, invite the participants to come up to the first floor to start the session.
But even at this moment, participants still don’t know what to expect. The two thirty-year olds had previously sent an invitation for the launch of Project 2021, without providing any information regarding the running of the session. Participants were able to choose one of six one-hour slots, in French or English. Fictional characters (see story below) were mentioned in the invitation, who could have taken charge of their lives and avoided unfortunate adventures if they had thought their lives through critically. Oh wait …maybe Louisa and Vedran had prepared a theater play?
Upstairs, participants’ gaze is immediately drawn to huge candles with a pleasant fig smell, as well as omnipresent Amour Constitutionnel postcards. Finally, the uncertainty and suspense comes to an end, as Vedran and Louisa greet participants and start the session with a video, presumably in order to engage the audience around the notion of Love and the various interpretations that exist around it. For Donald Trump, love is to build a wall separating the United States from Mexico, for doctors, it is the functioning of the heart and for Marine Le Pen, it is France without foreigners. Various expressions can be read on the faces of some participants who show– a sense of astonishment, anxiety, and wonder. Clearly, everyone has his or her own answer to what love is. Vedran and Louisa present Amour Constitutionnel via video interviews, and then give a presentation. Finally, the veil has been lifted!
At the end of the event, there are some stimulating discussions between participants and the duo. A series of discussion rounds is announced for the period of February and the end of March in the famous Café Beaubourg, on the subject of the interface between human relationships and political systems. At the end of the presentation video, there’s a small bonus– a humorous sketch, showing Vedran and Louisa finding the old hard drive with material from “Himmel ist Vorüber” (The End of Heaven), followed by a few extracts of Vedran’s former play, which wasn’t shy about subjects such as death, war, anxiety, and blood, leaving some perplexed when seeing these pictures. Two people met and, in their complementarity, decided to develop and launch Amour Constitutionnel. Their life experiences, successes and failures, pleasures and pain, opened their eyes to many things, which they now wish to share through Amour Constitutionnel. “All the answers are already there, found in the social sciences such as political science, philosophy, history, law, and others“, as they posit in their presentation. “Is there a link between the many questions and challenges of our time? And what about you in all this?” Amour Constitutionnel, this new multidisciplinary lifestyle concept based on self-optimization and critical thinking, is another gateway to all this knowledge.
Indeed, the concept was born in 2009; its beginnings were based on some of Vedran’s ideas from of his play “Himmel ist Vorüber“, which premiered in Germany at the Sommerblut International Cultural Festival. Even then, when Vedran was only 22, two German bloggers were already fascinated by his vision. In her blog post published in 2009, Roeschen was inspired by Vedran’s play, and asked questions about the notion of freedom: “Freedom! We have probably misunderstood it….” She understood from Vedran’s play that life has to be seen as a progression forward, step by step, undertaken without fear or doubt. Similarly, in 2009, Zabaoine published a blog post about Vedran’s play, writing that he had “dealt with subjects such as love, the end of love, anxiety, suicide (…) in a much less commercial way than we are used to”, thereby surpassing the leitmotiv of the festival, which was to “create a place of creativity, human expression, while giving visibility to inner worlds and human passions.” Vedran has continued to develop the foundations of the concept ever since, and along the way, joined forces with Louisa, who supported him back then in his preparations for “Himmel ist Vorüber“.
So what do participants think about all this? Just like the myriad of responses to the definition of love, everyone has something to say. Lots of laughter for some, while others leave with more questions than they entered with. Others ponder further that in a context of rising populist candidates in Europe, the Brexit, Trump, terrorism, etc., Vedran and Louisa, with Amour Constitutionnel, are really at the heart of current events and challenges in Western society, where in some way, people are facing an existential crisis. The strongest message of this day is that love will always exist and is available for everyone. It is the most powerful weapon.
Eight years after “Himmel ist Vorüber“, the two German bloggers, Roeschen and Zabaoine, were present again (it was worth the trip to Paris!) and published new blog posts! According to Zabaione, “these two Generation Y individuals left their well-paid CDIs to seek the meaning of life elsewhere”. “Amour Constitutionnel examines human relationships in their current form, and stimulates a new societal debate.” Roeschen states that “it was different this time. Vedran’s theater play, which had dealt with many societal issues and with the life of human beings, represented through texts, images and videos, has become a concrete project (…) going beyond simple questioning and critical thinking to go towards the implementation of answers to the dilemmas of human beings, running day after day on their ‘hamster wheel’.”
In summary, the launch of Amour Constitutionnel was a success! Vedran and Louisa achieved their goal for this launch event: not giving answers, but prompting participants to ask the right questions and search for information in the right place at the right time, now including via www.amourconstitutionnel.com.