Saturday, May 05, 2007

What does Embrèvement mean?

Over someone’s shoulder this week I saw a picture of this (see video below) and thought to myself: ‘Boulevard de Clichy, must check that out!’

Anyway, last night as we were heading off to ‘dance’ enthusiastically (well the girls were enthusiastic, I was moaning about having to pay 10€ to get in and the music would be shite and there would be lots of young whippersnappers about) I spotted it on the other side of the road. ‘Cool!’ I finally whipped up some enthusiasm and was beaten into it by Colleen, but a swift bum bump knocked her out of the way and I flung some poses for my friends below... until I realised I was elevated and visible to all passers by and not just my grinning mates below.

So what’s the story here? Well according to Philippe Langlois (who was the only person I could find who seems to be talking about this and whom I apologise to for any mistranslations – his English seems pretty good), it’s called Embrèvement numéro 3, Installation illicite d'oeuvre en milieu urbain (???[1] number 3, illicit installation in an urban environment). It’s sitting on top of the empty pedestal of Charles Fourier which has been empty since the German occupation of France during World War II. The purpose of the installation is to underline the fact that the statue is missing and to bring this issue back into the public eye. It was put up secretly in the middle of the night (I think I’ve got that right), which is pretty amazing considering it weighs 1.2 tonnes.

But who is Charles Fourier? Well according to the experts he was a French utopian socialist and philosopher who coined the term feminism. He believed that care and concern would lead to the success of society. He also had this crazy idea for communes – which he called Phalange[2]- where people would do the jobs they wanted because they wanted to and the less savoury jobs would be paid better. Can you imagine that?

His ideas seem to have influenced the Paris Commune, many cults in the US and contemporary writers. He sounds like a guy I’d like to find out a bit more about.

[1] My crappy French/English dictionary doesn’t even have this word and it’s been internetty translated as joggle or dimpling. Both are English words that I have learnt the meaning of today.

[2] Incidentally phalange in Spanish is falange; I’m a bit confused about this.


Sam said...

I like that big glass box up there. What's it for? If I saw it, I'd get in it and start shouting, "Beam me up, Scotty!"
And my kids would just be DYING. LOL

Verilion said...

It's just there to highlight the fact that many other statues that were used as ballast during the war have been returned, yet this one stays empty.

It'd be quite funny if you then did a wiggle and backed down the stairs looking like you had slowly disappeared!

Verilion said...

Oh oh oh... Sam you've got a French husband. Come on? What DOES embrevement mean?

Atyllah said...

Yo! love the new look. And Fourier sounds like a guy Atyllah might approve of!

Verilion said...

Hey Aty! I missed you. I had a Blogiversary while you were away and decided a little face lift was necessary. Hang on is this Atyllah or Chicken man? But, yeah Fourier does sound kind of cool. Will find out more about him when I've made me veggie meatballs.


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