Our day of art at the Musee d’Orsay on Saturday was delightfully completed by a night of art at La Nuit Blanc, a city-wide, one night free annual arts festival. Justine, Michelle and I had some dinner at Justine’s, then hopped the metro to Le Marais (the Jewish and gay section of Paris), where La Nuit Blanc web site showed there would be a number of different pieces.
Before we left Justine’s, she had been watching bits of the much anticipated France v. New Zealand rugby match. We’d seen people in the Musee d’Orsay with the blue, white and red of the French flag painted on their faces, people had been chanting "allez le bleu" ("go blue") in the club the night boefre, so we were starting to get an idea that it was a big deal, and Justine had mentioned that the train to London (she works on the Eurostar) that day was full of fans heading to the game, but still didn’t think much more of it. When we left the apartment, France was behind and was expected to lose, in any case.
Coming up out of Hotel de Ville Metro station, though, was a different story. People were running down into the station screaming, the people they screamed to starting screaming too, and as we came up the steps towards the street it sounded like a riot or a war. France won, and they had apparently shown the game on an enormous inflatable screen in the square that we were coming up into. People were screaming, chanting, honking, climbing things, reinforcement police were blaring in to keep things under control (apparently, they had fewer men on patrol in anticipation of a loss).
Allez le bleu! Allez le bleu!
The art was not spectacular, but still really cool to see pieces set in little medieval courtyards and churches. Our favorite was in an old chapel with a red carpet set in the middle you could sit and lie on. On all four walls there were projections and a hypnotic, droning music accompanied by tabla and other simple instruments lulled you into a trance.
Most of the art would have felt very much at home at Burning Man: a giant projection of the name of semi-precious stones that slowly coalesced out of stars, then exploded only to slowly reform over five or ten minutes; a giant papier mache star hanging in an courtyard with spooky blue light and words projected over it, an three-story high wall video of people explaining what their favorite objects were, and a bizarre piece of theater called "Theatre Bla Blah".
Here are a few shots, with a bit of Paris graffiti thrown in for good measure.