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)