the “Placard” festival - interview with Erik Minkkinen

Erik“Placard” in french means cupboard, and that’s the best comparison you can find with the parisians “maid’s room” which are basically a bedroom with everything inside (bed, kitchen…) on the last floor of a building, just under the roof. With an average of 9 to 12 square meters, these places are rented as a real flat, often to students but also to anybody who can’t afford the incredible price of the parisians flat. And that’s where the first edition of the “Placard” festival took place in 1999! That’s how it was born, and of course it wasn’t the ideal place for a big sound system so the festival could welcome 6 people and they could enjoy the sound with headphones for 72 hours non stop.

Listening to the sound with headphones wasn’t just due to a technical issue though. It goes with Erik Minkkinen’s ideas of the festival. Erik is the creator of the Placard and that maid’s room was actually his room, which became a workshop and even hosted the first edition of the festival. Erik clearly lives in a subculture which he is reinventing at the same time. Naming that subculture can quickly become a tough game but words like world wide web, internet relay chat, electronica, streaming, apple laptop, webcam, web design, record label… would definitely be part of the tags.

The ideas behind the “Placard” are based on that subculture; at the time of the first “Placard” it was not very common to find people making some electronic experimental music so setting up a festival to promote this and meeting new people was not the easy business of that time. So musicians and public (often the same people) had to be very volunteer and had to be ready to do unpredictable efforts to set up the show or even to get to the show. For instance at the first “Placard” only 6 people could be in the room at the same time, the others had to wait at the bar downstairs until someone leaves the room! And the other main idea is the intimacy that headphones give between the musician and the public, it’s not a matter of playing loud here, but you’re rather giving your sound directly to someone, like a gift. And when someone takes a pair of headphones it means someone else has to wait if no other headphones are free at the moment so you can’t be passive here like in a traditional concert with loudspeakers where it doesn’t matter if you’re listening or not, here you are an active listener.

In the video you will see how the “Placard” looks like in its 9th edition, Erik will explain how we got here from the first “Placard” with the evolutions that took place like how it started as a 72 hours non stop festival and is now lasting 3 months. You’ll see Jan Zimmermann recording vinyls in live! Jan has an incredible knowledge about the process of recording vinyls, he is making some experimental recordings by using the vinyl’s sonic pecularities. Along with some performances including a guitar performance with Erik. The festival is in a different place every year, this time it was @ “La Generale”, a kind of squatt in Paris, a huge place which is hosting different projects.

Some related links :

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  • 4rtist.com#─────██████████════█
    says:

    very interesting &reat video as always

    What about your berlin visit ?

    6reetings

  • bias
    says:

    yes
    excelent montage … superbe !!!
    bye :)
    fred!

  • HarS
    says:

    thanks for this bastien !
    nice work, lovely document :)
    hars

  • bastien
    says:

    I’m so broke I can hardly go out of Paris but I found a job… so I’ll come to Berlin later I guess. I always come in winter !! I want to se the sun in Berlin

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