Retourner à Alger

C’est avec un immense plaisir que je retournerai à Alger en octobre afin de participer au FIBDA – Festival International de la bande dessinée. Mon voyage de l’an dernier reste un des meilleurs que j’ai fait, j’ai adoré Alger mais surtout la créativité et la gentillesse de tous ceux que j’y ai rencontré. Vraiment hâte de revoir tout le monde et de rencontrer de nouveaux talents, de nouveaux amis.

J’avais écrit quelques articles sur l’édition précédente :  reportage en quatre parties pour Actualitté  | trois articles en anglais dans Words Without Borders | un article en turc pour Kültürel Güncel’e yazdım.

Cette année-ci, je reviens avec une tâche différente mais tout aussi passionnante. Je vais partager du mieux que je peux mes connaissances des milieux culturels européens et internationaux pour offrir des conseils aux jeunes artistes et acteurs culturels travaillant notamment dans la bande dessinée et surtout de donner quelques outils qui permettront de présenter leur travail à l’international, collaborer avec d’autres artistes, postuler pour des résidences artistiques ou encore où chercher des fonds pour réaliser des projets… Toutes les infos sont sur le site du FIBDA. Je participerai aussi à une conférence sur les festivals afin de parler de mon expérience sur Istanbulles, le festival international de la BD d’Istanbul.

J’espère bien entendu aussi profiter de mes amis algérois et de la ville.

Narratives for Europe

I have been working with the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) since August 2011 on this online project called “Narratives for Europe”. I have been most attracted by this project because I personally think there is a need to hear voices from different places, whether geographical, economical or sociological, and in different forms. I think this is what ECF’s Narratives platform is trying to achieve, with three main sections: Voices, Reading Room and Comics, and a space for EVERYONE to be able to comment and truly join the debate.

The website Narratives for Europe is now live. The first round of debates starts around Historical Taboos, with contributors Iryna Vidanava, Neel Mukherjee, David van Reybrouck, Chrissie Faniadis, Ece Temelkuran, Lina Ben Mhenni and Kinan Azmeh. The Reading Room offers a more academic reflexion on the importance and variety of possible narratives for Europe. And last but not least, there’s the Comics section that presents a “European hero” or anti-hero… OSVALD.

Have a look at the different voices and formats to share new narratives about Europe and don’t hesitate to participate, that’s why this project is there for!

Breakfast and Creativity

It’s in a very prestigious location that took place the first Parisian edition of the Creative Mornings series organized by Aleksandra Mandic Killy.

I must be honest, I had never heard of this event/concept. I was simply checking the Paris City Hall website for events to see during my stay here and saw the announcement for the “Paris Creative Mornings”, and it said “open to all but registration required”. I liked the openness of it so I did register and I did go at 8.30am, as did a huge “creative” crowd.

The event was opened by Deputy Mayor of Paris Mr Christophe Girard, supporter of this very first Parisian edition, “we’re a bit behind though” he says rightly as Paris comes after about 20 cities that are having these monthly creative breakfasts, some like New York where it first started in 2009. “I’m here to welcome you at your City Hall” says Mr Girard “whether you’re Parisian or not, this is your space.” I did feel welcome, and isn’t culture there to get rid of all these frontiers anyway.

There are of course still way too many borders in culture and unfortunately, these are not just about geography. The speaker of this first creative morning, Marion Hislen, is one great example of these innovative people who work beyond these frontiers. Marion Hislen is the founder of the cultural organization Fetart, initiator of the festival Circulation(s) aiming to showcase emerging talent from across Europe in the heart of Paris. The festival took place for a month until 25 March 2012.

Marion Hislen was asked by the organizers to tell a personal story so she started from the very beginning: her childhood and youth in an artistic family of architects, musicians, theatre costume makers… She was herself sent to dance school at an early age. “My mother said ‘my daughter will be a dancer'” says Hislen. Then at 18, she started to work as an “employee”, the very first one in that creative family. “‘I’m going to the office’ were words never pronounced before me in our family.”

Arriving at 30, Hislen decides to leave it all and work in the cultural field. She studies Art Sociology, Bourdieu theory, then starts with organizing a Chinese contemporary exhibition in Paris. The collector she was working with had a wonderful photography collection. Following this experience, a few financial troubles come her way and she gets back to the private sector for a little while, but always with photography somewhere in her mind and close to her heart. “If I want to do this, I told myself, I need to work at it” explains Hislen, “so I created a foundation to support young photographers.” That’s when she founds the association Fetart. The first exhibition is organized in 2005, and until 2012 they’ve organized 43 exhibitions of photography.

“In France there’s not that much opportunity for photographers outside the press” says Hislen, “galleries prefer to work with professional artists who can produce more, they also won’t always take the risk to exhibit emerging artists. As for the fairs are linked to the galleries.” So concretely, Fetart organizes open calls at the European level to gather as much work as possible and through a jury, select the photographers. The very first step is selecting 8 photographs out of the 350 images usually presented, then they work on the formats, “many photographers want big formats but we also like to work with smaller formats” she says. Then the focus is on the paper (glossy, mat…), the framing and finally asking the artists to talk about their work, “which isn’t always easy. Sometimes you don’t have a lot to say but you need to be able to tell the story of your photo series” says Hislen, which is also why Fetart thinks it is part of their work to support artists in presenting themselves. And one major role as a foundation is to get audiences: professionals and the general public. “Relationships can be built but sometimes it takes really long, say two years, to get work following up the expo” she adds.

Next to the exhibitions, Fetart also organizes feedback sessions, the “Lectures de portfolios”: the photographers present their portfolio to professionals and can receive a wide variety of feedback. “There is no good photography” says Hislen, “we can all have completely different views on an image.”

As for the business model of Fetart, they have 50 euros in cash and work with many volunteers and partner organizations. “Everything is free for the photographer. We’re all in the exchange, we don’t have a space. So we don’t really earn money and exhibitions are hosted by partners” explains Hislen. For one of the exhibitions they’ve even completely rehabilitated a space with their own means and help from friends. This way of working also allows a warmer and more friendlier experience according to Hislen, including for the visitor: “When you enter one of our exhibitions, you can feel home and in a warm atmosphere, unlike in many galleries. That is because we build the whole space ourselves. We ask friends to help out, all on a voluntary basis. It creates links! Our festival also creates links you would normally never be able to have in Paris, like having a beer with the curator photography of the Musee du Jeu de Paume.”

So far they have seen very good results with photographers receiving important prizes. In 60% of the cases an exhibition at Fetart gives active contacts to the photographer. Showcasing works is therefore really important. But in order to gain credibility as a foundation, they needed an annual event and therefore become a bit more institutionalized. This is how the Festival Circulation(s) has started. For the first edition, they have looked during one year for a place to host the festival and the Mairie de Paris has supported the foundation which hosted the 2012 edition of the festival at the Parc de Bagatelle in Paris.

A very inspiring talk that was followed by an informal gathering around coffee. Whether you like “networking” or just listening, you will definitely gain something from spending a short hour every month learning about what other people are doing. It is also refreshing that the event is cross-sectorial and you can hear about a photography project, then maybe future sessions will present designers, advertisers, developers, sculptors, or artistans to speak about how they work in the very wide and rich creative sector. I personally wouldn’t have known about the festival Circulation(s) and Fetart if I hadn’t come to this Creative Mornings session.

Looking on the web for more information about other Creative Mornings, I found out one was about to start in Utrecht with a first session on 30 March 2012. I think all cities need such events as it is always helpful to hear from other professionals, especially from a personal point of view. It is encouraging to see that many people around the world are trying to make things happen, all with their own means. And as Cory Doctorow says (he signed this in my edition of Makers): “Get excited + Make things!”

Soutien à François Bon et à Publie Net

Dégoût profond de lire que Gallimard attaque François Bon pour “contrefaçon” (lire ici brève de L’express).

Cette attaque concerne une nouvelle traduction par François Bon du Vieil homme et la mer de Ernest Hemingway, publié le 7.02.2012 sur Publie Net.

Comme il l’explique sur son blog, ce projet de traduction était pour François Bon un projet ancien

avec des souvenirs venus d’une enfance dans un recoin pauvre, le littoral vendéen à l’Aiguillon-sur-Mer, ses ostréiculteurs, le travail sur la digue où j’accompagnais mon père et mon grand-père. Parler lent, parler rare, épreuve continue des éléments de nature.

Traduire est un acte de générosité. On traduit pour le lecteur dans l’autre langue, on traduit pour offrir une autre perspective sur une histoire, un monde, on traduit pour “l’autre”. C’est un cadeau la traduction. Répondre d’une façon aussi violente au travail d’un auteur, éditeur, traducteur passionné comme François Bon est une attaque à la liberté de création et à la liberté de traduire. Cette attaque je la ressens personnellement en tant que traductrice, mais aussi lectrice, et j’en ai envie de vomir. Je comprends que François se retire pendant trois jours pour réfléchir au futur de Publie Net. Mais je souhaite de tout coeur qu’il n’abandonne pas. Il y a une communauté importante derrière lui, nous le soutenons tous.

Concernant les droits d’auteurs, je citerai ici Claro qui s’explique très bien dans son article sur le sujet :

Bien sûr, il existe des lois régissant les droits d’auteur, d’adaptation, etc. Bien sûr qu’il importe de les faire respecter. Mais ce n’est pas la traduction vieillotte de Dutourd que Bon a mis en ligne. Et il serait peut-être temps de ne pas considérer systématiquement comme illégale toute tentative de diffusion des textes autrement que par la sacro-sainte édition papier. Ni, sous prétexte d’un prétendu respect de l’œuvre et de sa diffusion, d’empêcher les démarches qui visent, au contraire, à en accroître et diversifier le rayonnement. Publier un texte consiste à le faire vivre, et non à conserver un minimum d’exemplaires en cave pour s’assurer qu’on en détient encore les droits ou à juger menaçante toute traduction autre que celle mise en orbite il y a des lustres.

C’est mon petit coup de gueule. Il se rajoute aux nombreuses voix qui s’élèvent contre Gallimard et en soutien à François Bon et Publie Net. Voici quelques liens (liste non exhaustive) :

MEYDAN | la place

I am extremely happy today. MEYDAN | la place, the anthology of contemporary Turkish authors I have been working on for months (and even longer) is finally published and available online in different e-formats: PDF, ePub, online streaming… thanks to the wonderful publisher Publie Net. It has been a great adventure and it is even more exciting because… it’s only the beginning. I have prepared a summary in English on the website of MEYDAN | la place, but since it is a French speaking project, most info and the eBook are in French. However, there are pictures of the Marmaray metro line project of Istanbul accompanying the texts, and four of the authors who have read a paragraph of their work in the original language. So if you feel like listening to Turkish and looking at interesting pictures, you can buy the eBook from Publie Net, iTunes, Amazon (kindle) and more online eBook stores.

Contourner les poteaux

Il arrive parfois, parfois trop souvent, qu’on nous mette des battons dans les roues, ou des poteaux en face des roues, pour nous empêcher d’essayer, pour nous empêcher d’avancer. Les raisons peuvent être multiples: jalousie, égocentrisme, incompréhension, ignorence, stupidité, et parfois simplement technique (mais c’est plutôt rare). Alors que fait-on? On peut s’arrêter avant le poteau, on peut se le prendre en pleine face, on peut le contourner. Et lorsque l’on contourne le poteau, qui reste bien à côté de la plaque, reste à avancer, jusqu’au prochain… Et puis le prochain… Du moment qu’on ne s’arrête pas. Il y a tellement de place autour du poteau. Ça serait dommage.


Photo: Piste cyclable, Istanbul

Alger et le FIBDA

J’ai eu la chance d’aller en Algérie début octobre, afin de découvrir le Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Alger, dit le FIBDA. Ma rencontre avec la bande dessinée algérienne a commencé en décembre 2010, lorsque j’avais organisé un voyage d’étude sur la BD britannique (vous pouvez lire le compte rendu complet en anglais) et qu’un des organisateurs du FIBDA y avait participé: Rachid Alik. Rachid est responsable de la communication du FIBDA, il a une vision d’ouverture et une véritable envie de créer des liens entre la BD algérienne et le reste du monde. C’est dans ce cadre-là qu’il m’a invitée à participer au FIBDA. Vous pouvez lire mon reportage en plusieurs parties sur le site Actualitté:

L’âme d’un festival BD est en train de naître à Alger
Renaissance de la BD algérienne
FIBDA, un aperçu de la création BD en Algérie
Des bulles si rondes dans la BD algérienne

J’ai également profité  de ce voyage afin de visiter un peu la ville. C’était trop court bien entendu… donc j’y retournerai.

Bambous dans le Jardin d'Essai, Alger