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Interview with Le Petit Bateau Art Collective Sydney

“Sharing our Culture is the beginning of creativity”


Le Petit Bateau (“the little boat”) is an art collective launched in May 2014 in a backyard space at the rear of a residential building on Bondi Road, kitted out by Anne-Sophie Ridelaire (An So), an art director from Paris, and her husband Gaetano Russo (Tano), an Italian boat designer. An integral part of Subsonic Music Festival for two years now, the collective’s endless motivation and determination to communicate powerful political and environmental messages through their art and actions never ceases to inspire us. Representing more than 40 artists, designers, architects, musicians, chefs and performers coming from all around the world, the collective creates, designs and produces unforgettable events, always based on giving a unique visual and sensorial experience to the public.

SM: An So, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us! What a pleasure it is to have you guys on board again this year. What does Le Petit Bateau stand for?
Thanks to you guys ! we are all super excited to be part of Subsonic Music Festival again. Le Petit Bateau stands for the planet and for human rights. That’s also why we called ourself “the little boat”, a simple way to remind you that we are all in the same boat. We believe that art is one of the best ways to understand each other. Simple and without any pretension, our collective uses art as an expression to share important messages that concern all of us, such as ecology issues, war, health and much more.

SM: What are some of the themes you’re interested in and how are they feeding into your creative practice?

We’ve always based our creations on the theme of recycling. We love to use and play with what has been designed for society’s consumption and what today represents one of the biggest issues in term of pollution (every 3 minutes 3 tonne truck of plastic is dumped into the sea). Everything becomes an artistic game, we invite the public to interact through our installations and push their imagination.

SM: What do you find so intriguing about this concept of a material to be recycled as art? Do you think that artists have a duty to think about wider socio-ecological issues and respond to them?

I was just talking about it with Dom Svejkar, one of the artists involved in our crew this year and we were saying that it’s much more interesting as an artist to work with material such as plastic bottles, plastic bags and all sorts of things you can find on the street. Firstly you challenge yourself and then you give a second life to the material, it’s really powerful and has plenty of symbolism. Of course, it would be awesome if every artist takes it as a duty, but I don’t want to put too much on the shoulder of art, artists are already giving a lot of themselves, I think every social group should feel concern. I still believe that art is the best way to talk about socio-ecological issues, simply because it’s an international language!

SM: Can you talk about some of your collaborations with other artists, organisation and creatives?

Yes! This year we are glad to bring the Pirates of Plastic to Subsonic, an initiative of the Pyrmont Heritage Boating Club. They’re a lovely bunch of old friends of ours that have been fighting for human rights and the planet for many years now. They use boats to engage people in helping the environment by conducting boat tours where you combine sightseeing with picking up plastic from our harbour waterways. A losing battle indeed but from little things big things grow. Since 2005 the Pyrmont Heritage Boating Club has worked to link local communities in Sydney’s Inner West to the culture of Sydney Harbour. It’s now 6 years that we’ve been collaborated with them.

I am also super excited to have an amazing dance company from Argentina on board called URGEN. Josefina Enrico, dancer and director of the company will be performing every day in different areas of the festival. One of her dancers was part of our crew for Sub16, that’s how we got in touch with Josefina. Once again, you can see how art connects people! I love it! Since that chat Josefina has made the decision to take a one-way ticket to Australia to join Le Petit Bateau for one year and I can’t wait to welcome her!

We will also be collaborating with the artists Skulk. and Neil Tomkins. Both are an amazing artistic support for our crew regarding the art installations we will be creating this year. And as every year, a little bunch of architects and designers are coming to give a hand and blow up their creativity.

SM: Tell us about this year’s concept for your art installations and activations on site.

From a giant plastic cube made with milk crates to sensorial experiences inside a container turned into a submarine, this year, each of our art installations will be focusing on water pollution. We will invite the public to connect and act. We only have one rule : NO Judgements, our art installation are only created to challenge your beautiful and natural inner power.

To bring our strength together to deliver a clearer message, that’s our goal for this new festival edition. TOWARDS ZERO WASTE !! 🙂

Oh yeah and we are also running the Sonic Kitchen this year !! Look for the Boat !

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