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PROGRAMME 2015
Festival ?
Festival !

SAM STOURDZÉ
DIRECTOR OF THE RENCONTRES D'ARLES

What is a festival? Neither a museum nor a trade show; the festival must escape this neither‐nor trap and constantly reaffirm its freedom.
The institutional recognition of photography as an art - to which the Rencontres d'Arles has greatly contributed - casts museums as the guardians of the temple. Trade shows, meanwhile, provide an overview of the state of the market - which is too often taken as the state of the art.

The festival, however, is most itself in being multiform through the variety of its exhibitions, sites, and artists. The simultaneity of projects makes it possible to establish dialogues, take risks, dare adventures. In fact, the alchemy of artistic direction is based on programming a kaleidoscope of potential combinations in which exhibitions play off each other. They expand upon each other, communicate, challenge, and clash among themselves, in a great movement of decompartmentalisation. This year photography will enter into the worlds of music, film, architecture, slyly reaffirming that it is often to be found where least expected! It is then up to our visitors individually to create their own experiences, to construct their own sequences of exhibits.

The festival is a cultural incubator, combining short and long duration in its events and exhibitions.
It is an annual x‐ray of photographic creation paired with a festive heart. Every year it displays trends, blazes paths, deciphers images, produces meaning, and constructs content. As a centre of experimentation and cross‐disciplinary exploration, the festival, together with its artists, contemplates and explores the world of today. Hybridisation, contamination, confrontation, friction ... photography reinvents itself through contact at the intersection of disciplines and movements. Photography itself is a meeting ground for transdisciplinary dialogues that restore its vigour. It continues to surprise us today with its ability to address issues - not solely artistic, but also social, cultural, and historical ... The well‐ named photographic rencontres (encounters) multiply its impact, echoing and promoting artistic practices both historical and contemporary.

A place of exchange with artists, between professionals, and especially with the public, the festival maps the whole terrain of photography. For forty‐six years, thanks to the inspiration
of its founders and the pugnacity of its successive directors, the Rencontres d'Arles has been - and will continue to be - at the side of the artists and sensitive to the public.
For, like no other discipline, photography and its artists awake the gaze, provoke dialogue, and encourage encounters.