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30th edition (1988 – 2017) of the Festival Les Instants Video

30th edition (1988 – 2017) of the Festival Les Instants Video


To Chantal, Anne and Marc, I am lucky! I am lucky to co-direct an association whose project has enchanted and captivated me from the very first day (20 years ago already). There are artists and artworks through which I travel across borders, opening up new languages and new perspectives on the world. Then, there is the audience, this collective of actors who make choices, give their time and interact. There is also the unfailing commitment of faithful and joyful volunteers. However, I would like to highlight here an aspect of the festival that makes it unique, gives it all its beautiful dimension and that we must defend at all costs. There is in this festival, a constant sensitive conviviality. I am not speaking of a conviviality in the design way or a computer friendly one (“user friendly”). And this conviviality is not limited to its festive aspect, or related to a generalised sympathy. The conviviality I am referring to is a fulcrum that allows the experience of something more exalting: hospitality. The festival does not content itself with empty words but seeks the subjective, the singular, it leaves room for the difference in viewpoints and the confrontation of ideas. It refuses to limit itself to all that is familiar and demands the Other in abundance. It imposes itself the necessity of the creolisation of cultures and languages, the production of thought, the curiosity (the taking care) of the world You know that hospitality and hostility have the same etymology. The two terms come from the same Latin word: “hostis” which designates both the stranger and the host. Hospitality is the process that humanises the encounter of the stranger. It consists in letting the other enter in one’s home or in entering the stranger’s home. To embrace hospitality, the festival did not neglect the consideration of this fundamental question that I borrow from Nicolas Frize: “How can we enrich both the individual perception and the public perception (dress, linguistic, temporal, spatial, financial rituals in performances), addressed to networks that are strongly concerned with specialised aesthetic and social belonging?” To this end, the festival has defined its own rituals considered as the key to radical hospitality: – To propose the principle of gratuitousness (therefore also the disengagement of chains, an amplification of the imaginary …) as art obeys the principle of necessity and not utility; – To be as close as possible to the productive and daily life (the contrary of a touristic activity); – To avoid confining people into categories that crystallize their identity; – To never consider “audiences” as consumers or works as products; – To pay close attention to each artist and to take care of the works we are entrusted with; – To be very demanding in every detail and every word; – To always emphasise sobriety, solidarity and cooperation. You will understand why, for the 30th edition of the festival, it seemed important to pay tribute to Chantal Maire, Anne Van den Steen and Marc Mercier, the founding trio who in 1988 created an “event on video in Manosque that could lead to a movement… “(founding text of 1988 “Video to the MJC. Why, How?”). This necessity to take their share in the responsibility of being in the world, they have translated it by an experience of hospitality which makes us discover to what type of society we must strive for. And in the context of this bad weather that is violent, this is exactly what it is about. Naïk M’sili (translation Elizabeth Grech)


We dedicated the festival to our friends  Phil Spectrum (musician / Leda Atomica) and Jean-Paul Curnier (philosopher). 30 years that our desires are disorders 30 years that we break through cultural, social and economic barriers 30 years that together with the artists, we draw escape plans 30 years that we forge networks of international poetic and political complicities We are celebrating therefore in 2017, 30 years of poelitic intercontinental video agitations in 30 events without borders (Tunisia, Morocco, Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, Egypt, Argentina, Italy, France…) and in a completely undisciplined way (art spaces, social spaces…)… Together with our partners, we are building enlightening spaces of resistance to human, mercantile, warlike, xenophobic… stupidity. Video art is savoir + savours. Indeed, the world “savoir” in french comes from the latin world sapere: (to dare) to know or to savour. In other words, what has no savour can’t be a knowledge, it is junk food, reader’s digest content, or any other insipid ready-made thinking that turn our brain into big fat bellies. By the fall, we reached Marseille, our launchpad and home base. A month of November spiced up with exhibitions of video installations, screenings, performances, round tables, concerts, spread in 11 spots: FRAC (Regional collection of contemporary art), Gallery Deux, SARA (working with persons in exile), ADPEI (Social economy), Cinema Les Variétés, Friche la Belle de Mai, La Fosse (Artists atelier), ARI (working at the integration of mentally handicapped persons), Italian Cultural Institute, Canopé (Library resource centre for teachers) and Vidéodrome 2 (Alternative cinema). The “official” opening (to new possibles) will take place on November 10, at the cinema Les Variétés, which name is so relevant in expressing the flavour of the hybrid world we demand. On your way, you will surely meet our guest from Libya who, together with our partners from the REF (French Euromed Network) and La Ligue de l’Enseignement share an issue of very great concern: how to have our cultural and poetic rights enforced regardless of our social, mental or physical living conditions? Warm greetings to the social activists, to all our welcoming partners, to all the artists who again this year offered their art works without any salary (because of ever growing funding shortage) for providing to the public a cultural service that must resist the commodification of art and bodies. And indeed, all the entrance to the festival are free of charge. Long live to the International of wounded and happy, singing and multicoloured seagulls, whose wingbeats will blow out the 30 candles of the festival, critically digital and madly poetical. Marc Mercier (Translation Naïk M’Sili)

From November, 05 to 25 2017 : International encounters (screenings, performances, round tables) Cinema Les Variétés, Friche la Belle de Mai, La Fosse, ARI, Italian Cultural Institut * Opening of the festival on Friday, 10th at 6pm at les Variétés * Opening of the exhibition on Saturday, 11th at 1pm at La Friche la Belle de Mai From November, 2nd to December 3 2017: Exhibition of installations, performances, screenings FRAC PACA, Gallery Deux, SARA, ADPEI, Friche la Belle de Mai, Vidéodrome 2, Canopé


Historical Overview of Les Instants Vidéo with the beats of wings of time and space beats

Before: 1986, lucky discovery of the exhibition “Où va la vidéo?”, in Villeneuve-lèz-Avignon’s Chartreuse, created by Jean-Paul Fargier. 1987, exhibition “Materia Prima” by Fabrizio Plession, in Cavaillon. Aesthetic shock. The desire of sharing these emotions. The writing of a project to find a financial support. Three persons put their trust in the project: Jean-Pierre Daniel (Regional Associative Department of Youth and Sports), Marc Ceccaldi (Regional Cultural Office) and Jean-Christophe Théobald (Ministry of Culture). To choose a name: Les Instants Vidéo. Socrate used to talk about the “decisive moment”, this moment where something suddenly become an event (a romantic encounter, a scientific discovery, a revolution) and is going to redirect our lives in a brand new direction, opening new perspectives. 1988: Birth of the 1st Festival Les Instants Vidéo in Manosque, founded by Chantal Maire (manager of the Youth and Cultural Centre), Anne Van den Steen (visual artist) and Marc Mercier (comedian). Guest of honour, Jean-Paul Fargier. Installations by Michel Jaffrennou, François Lejault… With the support of the distributors Heure Exquise !. Festival born in a Popular Educational organisation, in the same town (Manosque) where, in 1895, was born Jean Giono, the author of “Ecrits Pacifistes”, the same year of the invention of cinema (writing the unexpected), of psychoanalysis (saying the unspeakable) and the discovery of X ray (showing the invisible). The city where died, in 2002, the founding member of the Situationist International, the creator of psychogeography, Ralf Rumney. Here are our genes! 1990: A meteorite strikes the festival: the greatest electronic poet, Gianni Toti. The only one able to connect in a same constellation Russians revolutionary artists from the beginning of the 20th century (Maïakovski, Khlebnikov, Tatlin), and the pioneers of video art (Nam June Paik, the Valsulka…). He teaches us how lead the double battle of language and of politics. 1992: To increase the spaces to screen video art in the South-East Region of France, we run Vidéo Lux Associés network. 1993: Co-creation of the 1st Video art Festival in Morocco, Casablanca, with Ben M’Sik University of Humanities (with Beatrice Bertrand, Houria Lahlou, Majid Seddati…). Discovery of a young and talented artist: Mounir Fatmi. Creation, with the Moroccan artists Touria Hadraoui and Abdallah Zrika, of the International Icarist which gather those who didn’t relinquish their wings, despite the danger of Icare’s fall. 1997: The festival forges links with a magazine of art and poetry which publishes a special edition for the occasion: Burn your own patience/ Incidences, directed by Giney Ayme. With the participation of the artists Serge Pey, n+n Corsino, Jean-Paul Fargier, Dominik Barbier, Marc Mercier, Mohamed Abouelouakar, François Lejault, Abdellatif Laâbi, Christian Gattinoni, Christian Galatry, Mounir Fatmi, Gianni Toti, Denis Clarac, Sandrine Delrieu, Jean-François Guiton. When the artists Gaëlle Lucas, Sophie-Charlotte Gautier, Claire Dubois and Cathryn Boch exhibit Les Pisseuses. A journalist choose the headline: “ De l’art ou du cochon ?” (a play on word with the art /lard from the pig meaning Art or porn?). 2000: Back from the Balkans, still wounded by war, we host artists from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. Powerful emotion for the screening of the video The Origin of the World by Zoran Naskovski: a gasp of pleasure against as an answer to the cries of hate and pain. An artwork which will become the symbol of the poetic commitment of Les Instants Video, to change anger into a love song. When Ricardo Vaglini exhibit Shooting Valley, dedicated to the Syrian population of Golan, occupied by Israel. The cultural Attaché of the Syrian Embassy invites himself to the opening ceremony. The General Intelligence advise us that we will be placed under police protection. A leaflet is circulating saying that we support the Syrian dictatorship. 2001: The Croatian poet Tomica Bajsic, met in Zagreb, is arbitrarily imprisoned. Beaten, he loses his memory. In support to his sister’s call, Pavlica, we create an International Committee for his release. It took three months to win the case. With Les Acharnistes, run by the video artist Alain Bourges, we publish his first book of poems in French. 2003: Last edition of the festival in Manosque. We are invited to get lost elsewhere. Rallying support with the Quetzal Committee, after a bird name who once in cage, has his wings loosing its colours and his song fading away. He sometimes dies of it. 2004: Moving to Marseille. We choose to have a nomad edition of the festival, a living constellation of our poetic wanderings: France (Marseille, Metz, Paris, Nice, Aix-en-Provence, Martigues, Hérouville-St-Clair) Uruguay (Montevideo) and Argentina (Buenos-Aires). 2006: Naïk M’Sili has the most audacious idea in the history of Les Instants Video: to create a video art festival in Palestine. We fly there, Gaza, Jerusalem, Ramallah. Search and questioning by Israeli authorities in a closed room in the airport of Marseille. And again in Tel-Aviv airport. From Gaza, we bring back the camera and tapes of the exile artist Taysir Batniji. With these pictures, he creates the video installation Bruit de fond. Gaza. Diary ≠ 2, that will exhibit the following year in La Compagnie (Marseille). Publication of a story of video art and of our festival, “Time at work / F(r)iction”, with a preface by Jean-Paul Fargier : In the Eterny family, I demand the Instant. 2007: Our friend Gianni Toti died on January, 8th. What a terrible day. I spent an hour with him in his burial chamber in Rome. He gives me his last wishes. He invents a new feeling: amourtier (a word made of two, love and friendship). 2009: Co-creation, with the A.M. Qattan Foundation (Mahmoud Abu Hahhash and Nisreen Naffa), of the 1st Video art and Performance Biennal /si:n/ in Palestine. We support the creation of the 1st Video art Festival in Syria, by AllArtNow organisation, in Damas (Abir and Nisrine Boukhari). 2011: When spring comes, the peoples from the Arabs countries rise up. We publish the “Zutist Manifesto”, calling all the artists to follow this wave from the South with a revolution of languages. Participation to the 1st Video art Festival in Kirghizistan. 2013: Co-creation of the 1st Video art Festival of Alexandria, with the Bibliotheca Alexadrina (Egypt). Result of a friendly and fruitful collaboration with the RAMI project run by Claudine Dussollier. Celebration of the 50th anniversary of Video Art, in Tokyo, Yokohama, Liège, Casablanca, Ramallah and Marseilles turned to the World Capital of Video and Digital Art for a month. Publication of the 1st history of video art written as a Tragedy: “The lost and found children of video art” by Marc Mercier. 2014: Hosting of the biggest exhibition of video art from Taiwan, Schizophrenia 2.0, in complicity with Pierre Bongiovanni (ex-director of the International Centre of Video Creation, CICV). Festival For a free circulation of bodies and desires, where we state that the duty of hospitality like the ban of incest is universal and unquestionable. 2015: Implementation in Marseille of the Ephemeral Popular Art Galleries with the complicity of social organisations. Our poster “You wanted me as a virgin, I wanted you less dumb!” was acclaimed. An old lady told us: You cannot imagine what a relief it is for me! 2016: In front of the freedom-killing policies and the comeback in Europe of identity-based segregation, we declare the State of Poetic Emergency. The Night devoted to video arts, performance and psychoanalyses gathered around 1000 persons: we are never poet enough! Since 1988, we presented almost 4000 artists and around 6000 artworks in Europe, Asia, North Africa, Middle-East, Far East, Central Asia, South and North America. We owe them so much. We are only the go-between. 2017: “Friend, where are the dreams of our childhood? We wanted to surprise the world. It surprised us.” wonders the poet Abdellatif Laâbi. Artists are like the stars, they die but don’t disappear: Jean-Christophe Averty, Vito Acconci, Armand Gatti, Phillip Spectrum (from the legendary band from Marseille Leda Atomica), Jean-Paul Curnier (film director and philosopher)… Les Instants Video belongs to this constellation of images, of music notes and of words wandering on earth as in the sky. We are the contemporaries of the living and the dead having a great love of justice and beauty. I look at the stars, I see anarchy which is not disorder, but the autonomous government of every light. What are poets for in times of distress? asks the poet Hölderlin. To remain faithful to the event that generated our desire to break the ties with a reality that destroys the beautiful youth that blooms every morning. What we have been calling “video art” for 30 years cannot be reduced to an additional artistic discipline. It is a way of being in the world and we cannot access it without desire. Every artwork stems from the movements of a body and a thought, the layers of an intelligence that is sensitive to indomitable movements, the crinkled pleats at the dawn of lovers dogmatic for freedom. After thirty years where we have stocked up light and images, we barely perceive what a glimpse is. In Hebrew, a same word means “eye” and “source”. If the eye receives light, it is also the source of it. This changes everything. Here is a new challenge for the three decades to come. The infinite is within us. Moreover we are the source of it. After: I want to live at peace with myself untamed I want to live at peace with the others untamed Only then will I be able to say: I want to live. I want every morning to light the flame of the unknown worker under the the triumphal arch of the production of wealth Every euro awarded by a public bodies to a cultural organisation has the smell of his/her toil. What a heavy but amazing responsibility. Marc Mercier (Translation Naïk M’Sili)

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