104

Just back from a film/discussion about a violence and arrests at a demonstration in Paris last March. I was somewhat underwhelmed by the film itself: riot-porn shot in black and white, with the sound turned way down. i.e. making itself look arty without using a great deal of art.

The discussion that followed, though, was excellent. Sylvain George, who shot the film, led it, with enthusiastic comments from a small audience consisting in large part of people who had taken place in the protest. Despite being too confused and tongue-tied to contribute to it myself, I was cheered up to find some fervent opinions being expressed for once.

My main reason for going, though, was an excuse to visit the arts centre 104. It’s much larger and more obviously government-funded than I’d imagined*. It reminds me a little of the Tate Modern: a massive, deliberately under-utilised space, a painfully clean industrial conversion. By the look of 104, I imagine it’s a former rail station or similar. Like a lot of places in Paris, it initially rubbed me up the wrong way by being too clean, too expensive-looking. But the programme of events is impressive, they’re mostly free or reasonably priced, and it seems to be providing space for artists to work rtaher than just strut. I’d feel considerably more at home there if it had a decent covering of grime, but that’s just my personal neuroses making themselves known.

* Actually, I suspect I’d confused it with somewhere else, such as a more self-organized atelier, but I can’t disentangle my memories. Such is the problem of using numbers as names.

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