The three MIMI’S

novembre 2002

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Since its beginning (1986), MIMI Festival desperatly tried to escape the negative side effects brought by exclusive diffusion processes ("festivalisation"). Indeed, it came out very quickly that it was not coherent to pretend an enlightement for innovative artists on sundays, and then to send them back to their gloomy basements on mondays. Very soon, the question of the environnement for such artists (we could even talk about "cultural ecology"), the question of "what is before" and "what is after", the question of the efficient accompanying crew, etc... all this suddenly jumped out strongly on our faces ...

Twenty years later, these questions remain the same, firstly in the frame of the international cooperation programs of our Centre, but one could say that they question the thing from the opposite side of the problem.
Indeed, all the positive efforts in the field of training exchanges, of local development, of structuring processes, which we have built up with our foreign partners, need today to develop through further "live-scale" experiments, and to become visible, communicable, understandable.

This is why we have the feeling today that we must construct, every year, three workshop-festivals of a modest size (Marseille, the oldest and most mixed city in France, Narian-Mar, capital city of the Autonomous Region of the Nenetzs, North-Russia, Kinshasa, the heartbeat of Central Africa), respectively entitled Mimi, Mimi-Nor, and Mimi-Sud. They will be complementary in time and space (spring for Mimi-Nor, summer for Mimi, winter for Mimi-Sud), and they will create a permanent network, as well as on productions crews, as on artists. This (at the end, permanent) exchange between a common professional platform and a common artistic panel will generate (we are quite sure about it) an undisputable training advantage, not to speak about what will probably be the most important, emergence of new entrepreneurs and their networks in the concerned cities, regions, countries.

The number of staff members involved in this circulation reaches nearly fifty persons, coming from nearly ten different nationalities (many of them from the Provence Region, of course), also coming in large numbers from the preceeding mixed workshops run by A.M.I., thus swithching from the status of "trainees" to the status of "trainers". Concerned artists/trainers generally respond to the profiles chosen by A.M.I., and try to respect "local colours" without falling in the trap of "folklorism".

This kind of "baumschule", modest by size, but ambitious when considering its goals, seems to be unique today, as far as we know. Amongst other advantages, it will have the privilege to position Marseille and its region at the heart of what it should already be, the one of a worldwide dynamic "cultural heartbeats", not only through what happens here, but also through what it could generate in other places in the world. Facing these benefits (in terms of image, networks, trainings, etc... in one word, in terms of economy), the investment required by this spinal tap is less than minimal.

Already, Mimi (18 years), and Mimi-Nor (1 year) are existing. The "Halle de la Gombé", french cultural centre in Kinshasa, is already warmly welcoming Mimi-Sud and its workshops set-up, and we are already having technical discussions and logistic approach for an event planned in october 2004.

As internal consequences amongst A.M.I. crew, the setting of this chain-of-works presents a number of interests, specially a clarification of working articulations, synergies, but also an appreciable scale of economy. Furthermore, it fully enlightens the missions which were given to the Center by its comissionners, this is to say: artistic innovation, cultural development, cultural democracy, cultural neighbouring...