Press Release

NO to Performance Art
Polysonneries, an internationally recognised festival of living art supported by the European Commission will not take place (has to be cancelled).
The Lyon local authority and the DRAC don't want it !

The Lyon based "Festival Polysonneries" obtained a grant from the European Commission for 2003 of 59,176 euros. Alas, despite this success, the local finance (a condition for the payment of the European grant) necessary for the production is still missing. The thousand and one reminders addressed to the local contacts have achieved nothing.

The town of Lyon, which up to now has been the principal partner of the Polysonneries refuses to support the 2003 edition. Worse still, the cultural adjoint, M. Beghain has refused the "Convention AFAA/Ville de Lyon" which the Festival benefited from in 2001, considering that the cultural year of China in France : an "event" which the Polysonneries has not wait to include Chinese artists in their program.
The DRAC following the opinion of only one of its artistic advisors, Alain Reyrat (although Benoit Guillemont and Odile Nublat were in favour of the event), still maintains the same sanction as in 2001 and for the 2nd time its ex-directeur M. Bengio has refused categorically its support.

From the Rhone-Alpes regional administration, we have received the same sum as the previous event, that's to say 3050 euros, 20 times less than the European grant.
The "Centre National du Livre" in Paris continues to support the "Sound Poetry" part of the Festival with 6000euros.
As for Guy Walter whom we met during the spring to request access to the Villa Gillet for the Sound Poetry section, armed with an agreement in principal, his response will never reach us

The Polysonneries is a proven event which is unique in France and enjoys, among critics, an undeniable reputation on an international scale.

It is with a certain bitterness that the Festival Polysonneries, considering the state of the financial commitments of its various partners, is obliged by regulation to return the European grant. This despite the fact that the total sum gathered (119,288 euros including grants and own resources) represents half the budget requested. It is worth while to underline that the local support is obligatory for an European grant, which itself represents 25% of the total Festival budget. And that the amount for the organisation abroad by the finish and belgium partners are included in this previous budget.
What an incredible waste, without even taking into account the work already done, to prepare the 2003 edition, at a pure loss ! Which, among other things, foresaw close collaboration with the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, in Finland, in conjunction with FRAME (Finish Fund for Art Exchange) and with the Echevinat of Ixelles in Brussels. The Festival should also have taken place in these 2 countries.

The result is afflicting !
How does one resolve without bitterness the loss of one of the rare places of discovery and confrontation dedicated to Performance and the authentic creativity it engenders ? How does one envisage the activity of the organisers of such events linked to similar domains if they can, from one year to another, be completely questioned, which bars any long term strategy as well all risk taken as research and audacity which are necessary in such cases ?
Is it necessary to remember that in 1979 the Symposium of Performance Art formed the basis for the current Polysonneries.
Why, here in Lyon, is there no wish to support independent structures, who work in the multidisciplinary sector to which official speeches today pay continual lip service. Why, with each change of local government, is the future of such manifestations questioned ? Are we eternally condemned to precarity, subject to the tantrums or the incomprehension of one or other official or politician?

More generally : should we resign ourselves to the fact that the end of the Polysonneries signifies regression and at the same time, an acceleration of the process that brings us closer to the unsharing reign of commercial and spectacular culture : catholic tradition, institution and show business apparently welded together and reacting in unison to liquidate liberal space essential to life.

The situation is grave, we must react !

Sylvie Ferré, director