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France – and the world – are in chock after the horrifying attack on the journal Charlie Hebdo in Paris today where twelve people were assassinated and around ten people hurt.
It´s an attack on the open society, says the Editor-in-chief Peter Wolodarski at the daily Dagens Nyheter, one of all the people who have been writing about and condemning the attack today.
Tonight people gathered in Paris on Place de la République to stand up for the open society and condemn the killings.
People held up the sign ”Je suis Charlie”, crying out ”Freedom” and ”Charlie”. The stream of people joining the manifestation of solidarity and grief seemed endless.
With his interest in territory and cultural heritage, artistic director Christophe Guiho wanted to create an organization with this specific focus. Territoires Imaginaires started in July 2012, is based in Nantes (France), and around one year later the project La Nuit des Pêcheries took place.
The idea is simple and inviting. Along the Atlantic coast on the west coast of France you find small private fishing huts, pêcheries, placed on poles a bit out in the water due to the tide. The huts are private and walking a bit out on the bridge, you are met by a locked door. For the owner it’s an enjoyable asset, overlooking the ocean where you quietly roll down the fishing nets and wait for your catch. The public in general has no access and usually these huts have been inherited within the families. No new ones are aloud to be put up.
With the project, Christophe Guiho wanted to make this heritage sitting along the coastline accessible and opened up for the public. He worked together with artists to make art installations in each of six fishing huts.
More than 1500 people gathered on the opening night on the hills overlooking the huts, enjoying music event and visiting the art installations. He did this project with little money and with mainly his own drive, energy, and a successful project as payment.
Another project in Nantes over the summer is Le Voyage Nantes, run between June to September and with a much larger budget. During 2013 Nantes is The Green Capital and to celebrate this, the city has decided to each summer fill the city and its surroundings with artistic interventions.
Over forty interventions in just the city of Nantes, with artists such as Daniel Buren, La Machine, Jean Jullien, Mathias Delplanque, and Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping. A green line is put in the pavement and is easy to follow around the city and Ile-de-Nantes to find each of these grand, imaginary, humoristic, and serious interventions. It’s by no means touched up, many pieces poses relevant questions and raises reflections.
And for the city of Nantes this has become a success. Visitors are many, and children and adults can enjoy the happening such as joining the enormous elephant created by La Machine for a tour on Ile-de-Nantes.
Yet critical voices are heard. It doesn’t have to be a contradiction between a city’s will to create big events and the on-going small-scale cultural organizations’ every-day struggle to create art with little money in their pockets. Unfortunately it often is.
A wise cultural policy that both enjoy the small-scale initiatives and the large events is wanted!
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