His name: Damien Monteux. Ten years ago, he created Taco and co, a rickshaw company that eliminated the nightmare of Arles taxis for festival-goers. We also asked him for his memories of the Rencontres.
My first memories of the “Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie” do not date from 1969 but from adolescence, that is about 25 years ago: the party, the “Parisians who landed”: with straw hats, sneakers, the smells lemongrass, the crowded Forum Square, the openings, the projections in the courtyard of the Archbishop’s Palace or the pasta of the Italians at the Forum Hotel ….
I discovered the other side of the festival by starting to work in Arles in 2010.
Before, I did not understand the stress of festival-goers. For me, this opening week was a huge free party, under the sun.
By transporting people by bike and rubbing shoulders with artists, my vision of the Rencontres has evolved. I understood the importance of it professionally and artistically. This is where everything is played out. The festive side just to evacuate the pressure.
I convey a lot of people with my team cycling during the Meetings. We discuss, we discover, we advise, we exchange. We had the opportunity to gather some anecdotes that made us aware of the special atmosphere:
For example, a woman being transported fired her assistant by phone because the hotel booked is not in the old center. A man comes to us on the phone as “a regular” when he comes only once a year. Another woman gets angry because no one is free to transport her, she concludes by saying that Arles, “is really a Third World! “.
For the people of Arles, it is also when everything is played: “the opening week”, the bulk of the season.
All year long, shop keepers grumble about having no one except for Les Rencontres, where they are grumbling at having too many people.
During this festival, two worlds, so different, move, rub shoulders, party and play “their year” at the same time.
In 2019, we talk about the “Rencontres d’Arles”, the word international has disappeared as to better welcome, better gather, Arles becomes the cultural and social boiling place with its unusual encounters and the links that are created.
All the festival-goers feel Arlésiens for a few days … and the Arlésiens, festival-goers.
After this famous opening week, when calm returns, life goes on. Relieved that it ends and impatient that it starts again.
One of his particularly memorable memories: “Without hesitation, the mano to mano Peter Lindbergh / Paolo Roversi at the Antique Theater in 2008”