5 May 2013

Marseille Bursts in to Flames

Don’t panic, however. It isn’t a precursor to the apocalypse.  Rather it is the French city’s way of celebrating the fact that it is this year’s European Capital of Culture.  The event, Le Vieux Port: Entre Flammes et Flots (The Old Port: Between Flames and Waves and yes, it does sound better in French) marks the opening of the second chapter of the year-long cultural festival; this part is called Marseille Provence Under Open Skies

Something like this is best left to the experts and so the city invited the Company Carabosse (the name originates from an alternative name for Sleeping Beauty’s wicked stepmother, Maleficent) to bring their own brand of fiery know-how to the revelries.  The 12 strong artistic collective specialise in work centered around fire which, once lit, ‘reads’ anew a site with its human, architectural, sociological and environmental components. For this event their ranks swelled to 60.

The collective certainly managed to shed new light on Marseille, France’s second largest (and probably oldest) city.  Metal sculptures were dotted around the city’s old port each holding a number of pots in which the fires were started as the night drew in.  Although people were not encouraged to touch or clamber up the sculptures once the fires had been lit (for fairly obvious reasons) they were able to get remarkably close to the flames.

The crowds over the two evenings during which the free event took place were estimated by the organizers to be over 100,000 strong.  It was an epic start to this newest chapter in Marseille's year as the joint European Capital of Culture.

Above 4 photographs courtesy of Marc Hertaut
The four pictures directly above are courtesy of Flickr User Cro-magnon13
Kuriositas would like to thank Flickr users Marc Heurtaut and Cro-magnon13 for their very kind permission to use their wonderful photographs. Please visit their fantastic photostrams by clicking the link on their names.

First Image Flickr User cro-magnon13