On Friday 11th May 2012 – 6:30 pm, Communication Square - Béthune, in the southern district of the city. The patience of the residents is finally rewarded. Who is there ? Coming out of nowhere, here it is finally (!), the Mammouth, coming back up the Mont-Liébaut Avenue ! Three months after the first encounter between the inhabitants, Pierre Berthelot and Laurent Martin, the fantastic engine, which must take pictures of a population proud of its area freshly restored and renovated, is appearing where the inaugural show of the 13th Z’Arts Up Festival takes place !
In its wake, the features blackened with kohl, a bunch of strange characters dressed in white, some of them are armed with a long bamboo pole and walking at a military pace to the 400 people gathered together in front of the Jean Buridan multimedia library, some others are perched on a truck accompanying in rhythm the coming monster surviving from a distant era when the precision of a picture was not measured in pixel or DPI…
Chantal Lamarre, Culture Commune’s director, grabs her camcorder… Sure : something important is about to happen !!! It is starting !!! Kids are runing everywhere. “Where do I have to go ?”, “Sami, why are you not in your group ? What are you waiting for ? They will be at your place in 10 minutes !” Stéphane Schleininger, coordinator of this European Festival of Street Arts has even no time to finish his interview that “the horde of Génériks” is making a spectacular entry !
The staff of the multimedia library all together genuflects in front of the new god of the Street, counting the seconds which are separating them from the supreme recognition : a picture of their scenography, hardly negotiated with Didier Majewski in charge of the scenography for the Phocean company, by these artists who are coming as tutelary angels to come back to a district in which they have already performed in 2008 with their show Transport Collectif, still in every memory !
The monster is now reaching the Bruxelles Street to meet Sami, his football players’ friends and the “Beffynoises”, majorettes used to the festival. “We are cold, is it going to be soon ?” The Culture Commune’s mediator does not know what to do anymore to calm them down. An improvised stop in front of the Lords of the local garden gnomes’ palace and it is their turn ! Click ! “In the box”, as they say during the Zepa symposiums ! The whole district is getting hooked…kids are roaring with laughter and the procession is getting bigger right before our eyes.
Successively, the women of the female foster home, the amateur photographers of the “Images Contemporaines” Group, the kids of the “Centre Animation Jeunesse” (youth centre) and “Enfance Vaillance”, the members of Confitroc, the volunteers of the “Secours catholique” (French Catholic Relief Services) and the joyful retired people from the Maison des Sorbiers take part of the dubbing ceremony ! The rhythm is not getting down, neither the volunteers’ energy and the strange machine ends up one hour later in the Communication Square for the final picture, with everybody, around a container covered by drawings from the kids of the area. Reference to Waterlitz, of course… Last countdown and the Photo Communale is in the box, soon visible by everybody at the library. That’s it ; the festival is launched and looks very promising ! Sun God knocked down the clouds, that are not going to come again before a few days…the time for the audience to appreciate under a cerulean sky this 13th edition of Z’Arts Up !, in the city centre and towns around.