Absolutely no idea why it is called lille 3000 and not some other arbitrary number, but apparently the local government decided that 3000 sounds mighty futuristic (and 2006 would be so last year in three months anyway) and here we go… I am also not sure if lille 3000 is the same as the ‘Bombaysers de Lille’ (the sexual pun is apparently intended) exhibition that was opened with much French pompousness this weekend. Like the city of lille the exhibition is definitely worth a visit: Ashok has a great piece (called GPS) installed on the Place du Theatre and the ‘Maximum City’ exposition (after Suketu Mehta’s must-read book with the same title) is pretty impressive (although it contains too many pictures of black and yellow taxis, but then it is about Bombay so i guess you can’t avoid them..) and there is other gems hidden across the city (try to find the tourism office, without getting misdirected by the signage).
My favorite piece is the photo series ‘Monrachs of the East End’ by Gavin Fernandez, which is part of the ‘rich mix‘ group exhibition in the Maison de Follies de Wazemmes. I want some of of those, badly!
But back to the lille 3000 business: the whole exhibition (which in a sense is the continuation of the the cultural capital activities of 2004 by other means but with the same esthetic and conceptual drive) seems to be part of an aggressive attempt to re-position Lille as a city of the future (the past can be seen in the extensive ruins of its former industrial glory around the northern suburb Tourcoing on the border with Belgium – a small scale version of Bombay’s mill lands that occupy much of central parts of the city).
Exhibitions and impressive architecture aside the fact, that lille is indeed about the future is most evident when one looks at the local population: This weekend it looked like two thirds of the people in the streets are teenagers, which makes me wonder what they do to the old people (they probably ship them to the Belgian coast, but that is something for the next post). Maybe this abundance of kids is the result of the city actively collecting kids that can be deposited at designated locations:
Even more futuristic are the public spaces (and i am not speaking of that but ugly Euralille complex, which shows once more that Mr Koollhaas should stop actually realizing buildings and continue to publish books instead) but the public parks. It is well-known that the french are nazis when it come to their parks: (‘no walking on the grass’ and closing them at 5 in the afternoon for no good reason other than to piss of park-goers) but encircling a park by 4 meter high, red, state-of-the-art prison fence (complete with diagonal supporting poles, so that the fence cant be pushed down), is quite an extreme measure, to keep the kids from lying in the grass and smoking a joint after 8 pm if you ask me (but then fences are fashionably european these days, so it might just be an esthetic statement):