In Concarneau, they are launching little books to “gain autonomy”

In Concarneau, they are launching little books to “gain autonomy”
In Concarneau, they are launching little books to “gain autonomy”

“Useful, accessible and sustainable”… The formula defining low-tech is now well known, particularly in Concarneau, where the concept has been deployed for many years by a host of players, Low-Tech lab in the lead.

Two Concarnois residents are coming to give new impetus to these new technologies, by launching, with Rustica editions, “Cap vers l’autonomie”, a collection of small practical books, “solutions for gaining autonomy”.

“The real issue is our behavior”

“Producing your solar electricity”, “Installing and using dry toilets”, “Living in smaller spaces”… Clément Chabot and Sandra Martins isolated themselves for a few weeks to work on these three questions, in 64 pages each.

Themes that Clément Chabot knows well. He, the engineer, co-founder of the Low-Tech lab in Concarne who, after starting in aeronautics, took a big turn to step back and break new ground, “see what is being done elsewhere” in terms of technology softer. And above all, share them. He also set up his company, Virage commune, to support organizations and communities in this process. “Technique is good, but it’s a small part of the job,” he says. The real issue is our behavior. It’s sobriety.”

“A certain subjectivity”

Sandra Martins is the illustrator and graphic designer of the project. She confides with a smile: “I knew nothing about the technique.” However, she has been looking into the issue for a long time. Through her work on the energy poverty of students, when she was at the Beaux-Arts in Rennes. Then by carrying out civil service at the Low-tech Lab, before joining the “third place learning in eco-construction” of Kerbouzier, in Melgven, and becoming co-creator of a traveling kitchen, La Popote.

Through this series of books, the objective of the two authors is simple: to transmit and raise awareness. “We are also working on the desirability of these technologies,” emphasizes Sandra Martins. There is no question of having an “expert position” on the subjects. “It’s our vision of things, with a certain subjectivity. We also have doubts,” she says.

“Story of experimentation”

Each book is divided into three parts. “First situate the subject on a societal scale,” indicates Clément Chabot. Then propose solutions, on our scale.” A practical manual, in a way. “And finally show how we live with it. It’s very important to show that it works.”

To do this, both collected testimonies by bike. Not very far. In Concarneau and neighboring towns, to deliver “experimental stories”, “show the plurality of solutions”, on a local scale. And finally testify that it works, that we can live with it.

From pocket to pocket

For Clément Chabot, the basic book is “Inhabiting smaller spaces”. “That’s where we better understand the subjectivity of things,” he says. I thrive more in smaller spaces today.”

Their dream would be to see their little books go from pocket to pocket. While waiting for others to emerge. Because there is no shortage of themes, according to them. Clément Chabot assures him: “It’s infinite”.


Cape towards autonomy collection, published by Rustica. Price: €7.95 per book.



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