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30.7.03

Performance Art in the Streets of Toulouse?

The author of the bilingual blog Blogorrhée has a post (June 30, 2003) with a photo of a mysterious demonstration at the Place du Capitole in Toulouse, where he lives. He has a theory that they may have been demonstrators from the union of the intermittents du spectacle, who have been causing trouble all over France this summer. These are people who meet a minimum requirement for part-time employment in the performing arts, which qualifies them for a sort of welfare benefit from the French government. They are worried that proposed budget cuts, particularly in the area of retirement and pensions, are going to affect their livelihood. So far this summer, they have shut down the prestigious arts festivals in Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, and La Rochelle, as well as blocking the route of the Tour de France and generally making a nuisance of themselves.

While this may well be the intermittents du spectacle, it also sounds like it may have been a flash mob or smart mob kinda thing. Cheesebikini? reported the first such flash mob in Europe that occurred in Rome on July 24 and another in Vienna on July 26. Apparently one is in the works for London. Was Toulouse next on the list? I would be interested to know more. By the way, Blogorrhée has included a link to Ionarts on his blog, so let me say, Mille fois merci de Washington!

UPDATE
SmartMobs has reported that this gathering was indeed the first flash mob in France.

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