On January 12 and 13, on the occasion of the fifth module of Session 22-23, the CHEC was welcomed at the Abbey of Royaumont and then at the House of Culture of Amiens for two days of reflection at the rhythm of the time of creation, whether it takes the form of live performance or plastic and digital creation. Exploration of the transformations at work and the challenges to accompany in Paris and Picardy.
It was at the Abbey of Royaumont, in the Salle des Charpentes, that Francis Maréchal, its Director General, opened this module dedicated to policies of support for creation in this high place of artistic effervescence. Following a long tradition of welcoming artists and intellectuals (starting in 1246 with Vincent de Beauvais), the Royaumont Foundation created in 1964 accompanies artists over the long term through residencies in music and dance that span 3 to 4 years. These programs mainly concern emerging artists who have left school, giving them the opportunity to professionalize while experimenting and taking risks. The Foundation thus stimulates the creation by freeing it, in its research phase, from an obligation of result. A positioning enabled by the mixed economy of the place, its network of patrons, its exploitation and public subsidies.
After a visit of the place, Michel Orier, Director of Music and Creation of Radio France, evoked the need to rethink the event in creation by reflecting on a slowdown in the frenetic pace of the seasons that negatively impacts the dissemination and diversification of audiences. In it, he highlights the importance of the long term to reach a diverse audience while maintaining a plurality of the offer, thanks to the Department’s forward-looking and steering role in cultural policies.
Following him, three auditors presented their experiences and appreciation of these creative times within their respective institutions. Cédric Martin, Managing Director of the Biennale de Lyon, evoked the calendar echoes of the Biennale with its close environment (more than 280 events resonating in 73 cities around) and distant The Biennale is a major event with a strong international dimension, symbolized by its curators and the presence of 75% of the 87 international artists present, from 39 countries, and numerous partnerships with foreign institutions.
Anne Possompes, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Palais de Tokyo, recalled the constraints of mixed programming and financial balance of the institution, and indicated the current reflections allowed by the philosophy of “institutional permaculture” of the art centre, stimulated by its President Guillaume Desange, to consider differently the rhythm of activities and their articulation. Finally, Caroline Simpson–Smith, Deputy Director of the Théâtre Sénart – Scène nationale, emphasized the importance for this establishment to be integrated into the daily life of all inhabitants of the territory with collective time through a diversified programming, performances outside the walls, or a festival open to all.
The group then exchanged with the young musical ensemble Apotropaïk, who had just arrived in residence, and their lively look at the medieval repertoire, then enjoyed a time suspended with an intimate concert that these exceptional musicians recently released from the National Conservatory of Music and Dance of Lyon gave within the Library Henry and Isabel Goüin.
The auditors ended the day with time devoted to group work.
The next day, the CHEC visited the Maison de la Culture d'Amiens, a veritable “secular cathedral of culture”, the only national stage, with its own label, and an urban hub for the production and dissemination of contemporary creation. Laurent Dréano, director of the establishment, recalled the history of this emblematic place of the movement of theatrical decentralization desired by André Malraux and reaffirmed that conviviality was at the heart of this multidisciplinary cultural project, as indicated by the signage at the entrance: Here at home.
Explaining the importance of working hand in hand with the various actors of the territory, he was joined by Pascal Neveux, director of the Regional Fund of Contemporary Art Picardie – Hauts-de-France , Raphaëlle Peria, Artist in Residence at the FRAC of Amiens and Noémie Ksicova, artist and director companion of the MCA of Amiens.
In a unique territory with only one art centre (outside the walls, in Clermont-sur-Oise), without a museum of contemporary or modern art, with a high level of lexical and visual illiteracy, the FRAC has positioned itself as a resource and accompaniment hub, placing artists at the heart thanks to a fine territorial network and the companionship of one. e artist every year. The FRAC is part of a real attempt to anchor in the territorial ecosystem, coupled with a pedagogical training mission on contemporary creation. Its links extend beyond the regional border to reach Marseille (with a cross-residence at the time of the drawing fair), Quebec City, Villers-Cotterêts, etc. The key issue was the invention of «time of presence» to structure the sector and to visit existing initiatives, notably self-managed by the artists.
Then the artist Raphaëlle Peria shared with the listeners her concrete experience of her activity, and highlighted the fact that pure creative activity, the only consideration in recognition and funding, was very often reduced in relation to the long time spent researching, compiling files for scholarships or residences, and administrative work. All activities for which artists are often insufficiently trained and accompanied, despite the quality of the dialogue with the institutions on the creative work itself.
A finding shared by Noémie Ksicova, who adds the sometimes complicated relationship with public subsidies, because all the projects of companies in the same territory will be financed by the same envelope, and, in a context of inflation, it entrusts itself to pay more and more attention to the costs of its projects. And it is the very injunction to be created, often at short intervals, that the four speakers questioned. But initiatives exist to counter this trend, such as the Amiens-Valenciennes campus, from the association of MCA and Phoenix.
The following panel discussion focused on the transformation of artistic creation in light of the digital revolution. Albertine Meunier, artist, co-founder of 0x4rt, the avant Vossen Gallery and NFT Factory, presented her various activities and creations related to digital art: Le livre infini (2015), device on which you can load any content; My Google Search History, whose 3rd volume has recently been released, which makes visible, through the systematic collection of everything she writes in her search bar, our continuous production of data, and what it reveals about us; French Data Touch (2018), which evokes in music and joyfully the data; or the NFTs Hyperchips available on Objkt, and created with artificial intelligence.
Photo: Phoenix (2022) by Eric Minh Cuong Castaing, NEXT Festival, Sébastien Lefèvre.
Following him, Romaric Daurier, Director of Phoenix, national scene, European center of creation, presented the festival NEXT of which he is curator, and which makes the main part to digital creation, thanks to webj notably, mixers and mixers of the web, that take the audience through a narrative built from audio and video on the Internet. He also reaffirmed the importance of reinvesting the bodies, to live collective experiences together, via digital or not. For him, “Today’s theatres are becoming almost living conservatories,” and the Phoenix has set up free audience warm-ups before the start of shows that change the audience. For all are confronted with the transformation of forms and regimes of the shows, and of attention, within a real battle of time in which the artists are fully engaged.
Mathieu Lamblin, Deputy Director of the Maison de la Culture d'Amiens, then took up the challenge of showing the Maison’s various spaces to listeners, including the famous Label Bleu studio. We also thank Josephine Zameo for her invaluable help in organizing the day.
Finally, Pierre Savreux, Vice-President of Amiens Métropole in charge of culture and heritage, and François Decoster, Vice-President of the Regional Council of Hauts de France in charge of culture, heritage, regional languages and international relations, Mayor of Saint-Omer, both presented the political component that underlies the cultural development of Amiens. Their goal is to make the city a cultural metropolis of first rank, thanks to its many assets: it is the city of Jules Verne, the most translated author in Europe, that of a major gothic cathedral, of the largest collection of drawing in Europe, and the National Library of France will also install one of its poles in Amiens.
The city is applying to be European Capital of Culture 2028, with a program designed on roaming, with the aim of creating a great valley of culture. Several projects are mentioned: structuring the arts education sector, when up to 100% of students leave to study outside the territory (establishment of the S2TMD program this year), placing artists at the heart of the process, promoting long time, that of preparation, rather than pressing returns at short intervals, invest financially in culture, and in Arts and Cultural Education. The ambition also to work together with the territory, by sharing diagnostics and coordinating decisions, for example by proposing many events outside Amiens (such as outdoor cinema sessions in the surrounding area), to move the centrality, in an urban area with cultural competence.
Before leaving by train, the CHEC group had the chance to visit the magnificent Amiens Cathedral thanks to Caroline Dolacinski, State Architect, Head of the UDAP of the Somme, and guides.
The authors and auditors will meet in February for a module dedicated to Architecture au Patrimoine.