Having a guest, being a guest is a precious concept. Inviting people in or being invited in so as to get to know each other and pay each other respect, in a context based on the inviolability of hospitality, is the aim of the CAVILAM-Alliance Française de Vichy, the Vichy Centre for Living Approaches to Languages and the Media. One of France’s leading associations, CAVILAM brings over 4,000 foreign students and trainees who want to learn French, into contact with hosting families in Vichy each year. Photographer Gilles Coulon of the Tendance Floue collective was invited to take up a residency in Vichy and he decided to spend the season exploring the link that brings human beings together when, one day, counter to every prediction, they find themselves living under the same roof, sharing the same landscape.
From these portraits of hosts and guests, all taken in the intimacy of houses and apartments in Vichy, emerges a sort of idea of exile on the one hand and brotherhood on the other, but above all, perhaps, a hidden desire to live together and understand each other, above and beyond language and cultural barriers.
Excerpt from text by Natacha Wolinski