Besides reading all days long, summer holidays are also a perfect occasion to visit some museums… or enjoy some festivals. I had been willing to go to the Rencontres d’Arles for years: I finally managed to go there last month! This festival allows you to stroll through the streets of this centuries-old city while visiting various photography exhibitions. Art photography, photoreportage, experimental, contemporary art, light and sound, video artworks, you name it! If you’re a visual art enthusiast, Arles is definitely the place to go to during the summer! Here is a very small excerpt of what can be seen during this year’s edition (open until September 23!), as well as some comments about two other exhibitions I’ve been to, both in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.
The European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, the city of tartes flambées and of storks. These are the most popular visions associated with the city of Strasbourg. But actually the city, whose Pont de l’Europe connects France and Germany, besides being a “European Capital” due to the many European institutions and NGOs located there, enjoys a vibrant cultural life.
This can be easily guessed thanks to the Boutique de la culture which stands in front of the impressive Cathédrale Notre-Dame and sells all the possible tickets of cultural events in town. At closer look, if we talk about music, there are several venues, from small spots to bigger concert halls, which stage good live music performances.
Firstly, La Laiterie is a cultural institution. Situated in the city’s former milk factory district, it now offers a great variety of concerts all year long. Here, in the last saison, bands such as M83 and Django Django performed: the first, French guys concluding their European tour creating an intense atmosphere; the latter, British boys putting the room on fire with their electronic beats. Frànçois and the Atlas Mountains are also worthy of attention. They play indie-pop/indie-folk and, if you check them out, you’ll probably not get the romantic tune “Les plus beaux” out of your head.
Secondly, Stimultania’s principal vocation is photography. Last February it hosted an exhibition-conference of and about the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu and his photo-reportage, “Images d’Algérie”, about Algeria in the years 1958 to 1961. This exhibition-conference coincided with the 40th anniversary of the end of the bloody Algerian war and successive Algerian independence. Stimultania also organises des apéros-concerts and, after having presented artists of such calibre as American dark-rock group Xiu Xiu, the next few months will see some concerts within the framework of the Festival Jazzdor (8-23 November 2012).
Likewise, Apollonia – European Art Exchanges is a cultural institution which occasionally offers special musical events, as happened, for example, with the photo-concert of the duo Grand March and Stéphane Louis (which you will be able to see again on 16 November at La Laiterie).
Actually, there are many more cultural venues, such as Molodoi – Centre Autonome Jeunes (a self-managed space), l’Artichaut (Thursday jam sessions), Mudd (a small venue for underground rock, punk, psychobilly, and jazz bands) and Zénith (a big concert hall)… So for the coming semester, if you are there working, studying, as a stagiaire, or if you are simply passing through Strasbourg, do try to discover its musical rhythm as well.
Here are some suggestions for the next season in La Laiterie (October and November 2012): Wave Machines (electronic, 17 October), Johnny Winter (king of rock-blues, 31 October), Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (great electronic beats, 2 November), Animal Collective (whose new album was released this summer – rock, 3 November), Blood Red Shoes (rock duo, 8 November), Eiffel (French pop-rock, 10 November), and Grand March (rock duo, 16 November).
Student tip: don’t miss la carte culture which gives you great discounts, and be sure to take advantage of the cultural ticket office inside the university campus.
Bianca is Italian with Swiss roots. She studied BA Humanities for the study of Culture in Modena, Italy, and went on Erasmus to Malmö, Sweden. She is now enrolled in MA Euroculture , which she studied in the University of Groningen and the University of Strasbourg. She is currently doing an internship at Interarts, based in Barcelona, Spain, in the field of cultural project management and cultural policy. Her interests are anthropology, sociology, artistic and cultural life and institutions, cultural management and policy, and many more. She has the smallest feet a girl ever had.