Art Souterrain

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 THEME 2017



“To make a man happy is to distract him from the sight of his miseries.“ (Pascal)

The will to have fun is inexorably linked to human nature.

Every period and nation is characterised by its games, its celebrations, its music or its dance. Synonymous of pleasure, relaxation and the sharing of experiences, playing is an action restricted by time, that has no obvious utility and that follows freely formed rules.

The nature and the position of leisure have evolved over the centuries.

The decline of religions found in Western societies, the hedonistic dogma of Lights, or even more relevant to us, the modification of work organisation, have brought us the arrival of a « civilization of leisure », creating a new social order.

Today, it is a true and real industry that listens to our desires, and it seems that we are now, more than ever, presented with proposals that can fill up our free time: games rooms, shows, theme parks, video games (which today is the biggest sector, taking over cinema and music), sport, big exhibitions, television, the internet?

The successes of multiplayer games available and accessible at all times on our phones, redefine the spatial, temporal and social limits of games and transform our pockets into giant casinos.

This extends even to shopping, which today is considered to be an activity of relaxation, and even to encounters, which have their own playful operations.

In addition, these “playful“ procedures that would develop logic, memory and concentration are increasingly used as an educational means of communication in a variety of domains: medicine, schools, businesses?

We are therefore speaking of the ?gamification? of society, and everything within it appears to be accelerating without effort, into a pleasant whirlwind.

This evolution of society and culture inevitably influences our development on an individual basis.

The human being needs entertainment. But what is the tipping-point between activities synonymous of emancipation or reflection and activities that are considered alienating and regressive? Have we developed a ?love for our servitude?, as evoked by Aldous Huxley in his work Le meilleur des mondes, letting ourselves be guided by rules defined by others and turning our backs on everything that requires patience and maturation?

 Does this perpetual quest for escape solely denounce an increasing frustration of reality or does it redefine our own nature? Have we become the “Homo Ludens“ evoked by the author J. Huizingua for whom play is consubstantial to culture?



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