Dec 9

Meet Mouna Andraos, co-founder of Daily Tous les Jours

by: Carly Rapaport-Stein

On Monday, December 12, Mouna Andraos and Melissa Mongiat, co-founders of Daily Tous les Jours, visit Philadelphia to present at Mural Arts’ muraLAB. Read on to hear more from Mouna about the organization, their practice, and what you might discover during their muraLAB presentation.

Carly: What inspired you to create Daily Tous les Jours?

Mouna: I worked for a few years in film and digital media, and coming from a storytelling background, I saw a lot of potential in this new exploding media, to tell stories that could engage audiences. As I continued working, I began to explore the potential of physical space, instead of only having interaction in virtual places. When I came back to Montreal from New York, I wanted to pursue this potential of the physical world, and met up with Melissa, who was interested in exploring similar things. We have a shared interest and complementary backgrounds, and decided we’d start by doing projects and then see where that goes. That was the beginning of what came to be called Daily Tous les Jours.

Carly: I was flipping through your website and looking at the different projects, and each one is so unique and creative. I was curious about how you and Melissa go through the brainstorming process.

Mouna: Sure. So over the course of the last few years, Daily Tous les Jours has grown to include a studio of ten people. Our process starts with exploring the specific site and its context. What are we looking at? What are the inherent stories of the community? What are the stories that the community wants to address, and how do we use that to create something meaningful? We want to be in touch with the public, in that we want to try to understand a bit of their needs,  requirements, headspace, through investigation and idea generation.

Then we go on to the second big phase after research, which is prototyping models and ideas. We use prototyping to develop the technical and technological aspects of the project–which are all things that we’ve never done before, or things that no one has ever done before, or done in that form or shape–and our prototypes help us through these technical aspects. We also use these prototypes to get a sense of our assumptions about interaction and participation, and help determine which ones are correct, and which ones are incorrect. Through this process, we land on a single idea that we continue to pursue.

The Swings (c) Daily Tous les Jours. Photo by Jay Fenech.

Carly: In so many of your projects, I see a strong element of play. In that playful aspect, are there things that have happened that have been surprising? Or audience reactions that have been surprising reactions to you?

Mouna: I think yes, all the time. In many ways the projects only exist through the people, and through their reactions and interactions. We like to say that probably the biggest surprise we’ve had and we still have is our project, The Swings. The project was put in an area where there’s not traditionally a lot of play, but we were still surprised by how much the project touched people’s imaginations. It is such a simple concept: everyone who wants to participate understands the expectations around swinging, many of us have positive feelings of discovery and enchantment around swinging, and it’s also fun to watch!  It was meant to be a one-off presentation, but we’ve repeated it in a number of cities.

Carly: It sounds like the kind of project that could be meaningful in many different areas. What are some recent projects you’ve enjoyed, and what other projects coming up that you’re excited about?

Mouna: I really enjoyed working on last summer’s Mesa Musical Shadows, where people used their bodies to influence the sounds that are made on a large pavement. Coming up, we’ll be creating two museum exhibitions, one of which will be a permanent, interactive exhibition in Montreal’s Pointe-à-Callière museum in conjunction with the city’s 375th anniversary festivities that tells the story of the first site where the French arrived. And I’m also excited for us to participate in Igloofest, a night time electronic musical festival that shows off structures for the public to enjoy.

Carly: Are these the sorts of things that you’ll be discussing during muraLAB? What else might someone learn at Monday evening’s session?

Mouna: Definitely! For people who are already in the field, I think it’ll be interesting to hear about our methodology, our process, and how we’ve evolved – what’s worked and what hasn’t worked. And for people who are curious about our work but aren’t necessarily professionals in this area, I think they’ll begin to understand why we think this work is important for cities and citizens. This body of work is part of a larger conversation about urban environments – and hopefully everyone who attends will come away with an understanding of why this matters and why they should get involved.

Carly: Thanks so much, Mouna, and I’m really looking forward to hearing from you and Melissa on Monday evening!

Last updated: Dec 9, 2016

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