“We open between four and five Micro-Folies a week. It doesn’t stop! A few days ago we were in Toulouse, yesterday in La Courneuve. Today, here we are in the third Micro-Folie de Paris which will soon have two more. But there are also some in Morocco, Ivory Coast, Peru, as far as Beijing! », enthuses Didier Fusillier, president of the public establishment of the Park and the Grande Halle de la Villette, during the inauguration of the Micro-Folie Paris 20th, on February 15th.
Modular spaces with various uses
If the Micro-Folies device was born five years ago, the idea was born in 1983 of the “Folies” designed by the architect Bernard Tschumi for La Villette. These small geometric buildings, recognizable by their scarlet hue, had been scattered over the lawns to house a café here, a workshop or an aid station there.
From this architectural gesture, the President of La Villette has declined an innovative formula: a modular space housing a digital museum which provides access, via a screen and tablets, to the masterpieces of major cultural institutions. From the Marriage at Cana by Veronese to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony recorded at the Philharmonie de Paris, the offer is wide and constantly growing. “We ourselves have not seen 15% of all the content offered by the Ministry of Culture and our partners”, recognizes Didier Fusillier, head of a team of 14 people and an annual budget of three million euros.
A “seen on TV” effect that promotes access to culture
In addition to this turnkey tool, the Micro-Folies can also have a FabLab (with 3D printer and laser cutting machine), a virtual reality space, a café, a toy library with games designed by museums…
It all depends on the size of the place where they are established: media library, cinema, shopping center or even boat, as in the Breton islands of Ponant! Everything also depends on the means available to the municipalities that host it. If the basic equipment amounts to 38,000 €, financed up to 80% by the State, the experience is not the same depending on the quality and size of the projection screen chosen.
The town hall of the 20th arrondissement of Paris, for example, has invested nearly €50,000 to set up a Micro-Folie in a Paris Anim’ center located not far from the ring road, while waiting to install it in the Hermitage pavilion after its restoration. “It is very important to start this project in the heart of a priority district for city policy. In Paris, one could say that people easily go to museums, but this is not the case. Many say to themselves that it is not for them, ”explains the mayor, Éric Pliez.
Vincent Branchet, director of the Ligue de l’enseignement Paris, which manages the centre, observes a “seen on TV” effect which promotes access to culture: “The public reappropriates art by zooming in on the paintings to look at details, or draw inspiration from them to create, like these masks made by children aged 8 to 10 around the collections of the Musée du Quai-Branly. »
Without mediation, the Micro-Folies do not take off
Equipment alone, however, is not enough. “Without quality human mediation, it is not of much use”, assures Philippe Nouvel, vice-president of the community of communes of the Foyen country, between Gironde and Dordogne. La Micro-Folie, installed in 2019 at the tourist office of Sainte-Foy-la-Grande (2,400 inhabitants), is still struggling to find its audience, especially schoolchildren, “failing to convince teachers of its more- pedagogical value compared to the tools already available free of charge on museum sites”.
In Dreux, Fouzia Kamal, the city’s cultural assistant, fought to impose the establishment of a team of five mediators within the Micro-Folie of the Dunant-Kennedy priority district. Installed at the end of 2018, the structure saw its attendance take off, going from 2,800 visitors to nearly 4,000 last year. “With young people from the college next door who come to use the FabLab’s flocking machines to print t-shirts, it has become a very lively place,” she rejoices.
Micro-Folies can also contribute to energizing a rural area. The one opened in 2021 in Châteaubriant, a small town in Loire-Atlantique, has made it possible to rehabilitate the chapel of the former hospital and to forge links with audiences far removed from culture, such as young school dropouts or residents of nursing homes. nearby retreat.
In Guadeloupe, an itinerant Micro-Madness has been criss-crossing the countryside for two years, stopping sometimes in a school, sometimes in a media library. For Alix Lautric, one of the mediators, “it’s a wonderful openness to the world for the islanders, we are always asked to come back! “.
The Micro-Folies in figures
354 Micro-Folies already open in France and abroad, 75 inaugurations planned for 2023.
More than 2,500 works and 5,000 supplements (historical records, videos, etc.) accessible.
123 partner cultural institutions including 12 founding national establishments (the Center Pompidou, the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre Museum, etc.).
9 thematic collections in 15 languages. The latest, launched in mid-February, brings together 500 masterpieces from the collections of the Museums of the City of Paris.
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