SYNOPSIS OF BANDITS-MAGES GATHERINGS 2015
In 1992, a group of students at the Fine-Arts school in Bourges founded a festival aimed primarily at showing emerging video works. This was the start of Bandits-Mages. But who are these Bandits-Mages?
“They are inventive, clever, lucid and keen on sharing their passion for images, other than the worn-out, empty unimaginative ones we are constantly exposed to,” said Patrick Talbot in 1993, the then principal of the Beaux-Arts.
And the ’90s also saw the first web browser capable of combining image and text. So it is not insignificant that the festival in question was to grow up with the arrival of the web, one of the most powerful and virtually uncontrollable communication tools known today.
In 2015, in an era of youtubers, the 35mm spool has disappeared from our cinemas and the youngest among us barely knew analogue recording and distribution systems: audio K7s, VHS etc. They have grown up with digital everything. So, while widespread digitalisation has allowed for easy and practically instant access to a catalogue of knowledge and ancient or recent works, sometimes even to the works themselves, the traditional value of a unique and precious work has been downgraded.
Amid the current scenario of hypercapitalism, denial of basic principles of human integrity and the superpowers of the media, it is vital to reflect very seriously on the issues of teaching self-reliance, the appropriation of information technology and of our bodies, the appropriation of oral transmission (what, where, how and by whom) and History through our lifes. We act in a time where exists a will of gathering of micro-politics and a creative fabrication of hybrid worlds.
In the eyes of history, our own and in the broader sense, how can the policies and productions of generations of creators be evaluated? What can we base ourselves on? What can we draw from all this and, above all, what can we offer?
4 MAIN BRANCHES FOR SUGGESTION IN FAVOUR OF NEW NARRATIVES
TEMPORARY SCHOOL STUDIO / HACK SCHOOL
We have long been interested in the techniques of hackers as representing an opportunity to retrieve our tools, our narratives and our work and living spaces. We are offering art-school students the chance to use a tool which could amount to a piece of freeware, a Hack School: Hall Noir. This takes the form of a laboratory for programming and reflection, with open workshops. A group of students will find a new space dedicated, at this point, to demonstrating a creative condition which evokes a critique of current social and environmental concerns – concerns which they reckon are not adequately addressed in our institutions – a space where they can hack another creative form, in a do-it-yourself school.
Roll it … ACTION! / Regional and international artists’ residencies, VJing master class, workshops
Pierre Schaeffer had a dream of television dedicated to education, so in the 1960s he set up the research service Service de la Recherche. Not only a marvellous place for the national broadcasting agency (ORTF) to experiment with producing, it was also a place for the directors, technicians and creators to ponder on television itself and the procedures involved.
The reflection process which emanates from experiment, observation and (re)diffusion is still a key concern for a good many artists, film-makers and thinkers. The question of passing on a creative act, the responsibility it involves, is directly relevant both to the programming of the Rencontres festival and to the rendering of the results of the year-long work of artists in residence in the region and worldwide, in the VJing masterclass and workshops.
LIGHTING / LESSONS IN THE CINEMA
What genuine transformations have we inherited from filmmakers? What do we pick up from those films which invite us to act and reflect? What changes can we make today? Our transmission space started out as the projection room. We are now making it available as a space as much for viewing as for learning, reflecting and meeting filmmakers, teachers and programmers, all with a strong desire to hold a view, make a statement, tell a story, do research and make commitments.
FOCUS / ÉCO QUEER
Here we are dedicated to the invention of new storylines which challenge mainstream views on the relationship between nature and culture, on our animal and cyborg identities, our collective and hybridised futures. We are interested in the creation of imaginary messengers of hope, such as those born from science fiction, fantasy literature and critical theory. We find ourselves embroiled in long struggles to break down hetero-normal systems and patriarchal domination. The “queer” doings of today are an example among others of how we can effectively change the paradigms. So the “ecoqueer” weekend will be an opportunity for relaying Do-It-Yourself skills and techniques, bringing us into contact with ancestral wisdom, current ecological and bio-political combats and the unknown futures of our alien bodies.