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Portrait
Digital
Theatre

Pascal Keiser

In order to develop a cultural project, digital technology is fundamental, and when faced with an audience that has dropped out, digital technology is a tool that opens things up.

Founder of the collective La Manufacture and President of “FXP Festival Expériences”, the Avignon Festival’s digital subsidiary, from the outset Pascal Keiser has worked towards democratising culture. He is particularly involved in promoting transversality between technology and the performing arts.

Updated on 05/07/2021

2 min

Born in Wallonia, Pascal Keiser discovered the world of the arts and culture at school, thanks to one of his French teachers, the playwright and bard of proletarian theatre, Jean Louvet. Trained as an engineer, he soon turned to the stage, in the Avignon area, where he founded La Manufacture, a contemporary collective, which he envisaged from the outset as a space dedicated to modern, innovative and committed creations. Organised at different sites, on the fringes and in the heart of the city, the programme soon became a reference in the “Off” festival.

In parallel, in Mons, Belgium, he developed transversal activities linking digital technology to the performing arts. He founded the le Centre des Écritures Contemporaines et Numériques (CECN) in 2004 as part of the Manège Mons Maubeuge cross border stage, and from 2007 onwards he was the director of Technocité: two platforms to train artists in new technologies. His appetite naturally led him to direct the digital technology programme “Mons, capitale européenne de la culture 2015”, the national label “French Tech Culture” (from 2013 to 2017) and the Avignon festival’s new subsidiary: FXP Festival Expériences.

There were two key moments in Pascal Keiser’s career. His childhood in a modest milieu was to leave him with the constant desire to fight what he calls “cultural determinisms” seeking new ways of reaching out to the most fragile audiences. The Manufacture’s commitment to the poorer populations in the north-east of Avignon, or his role as artistic advisor in the context of the Micro-Folies, a freely accessible digital museum system, are two emblematic illustrations of this.

His meeting with Didier Fusillier, with whom he had worked a great deal at the Manège Mons Maubeuge, and who also participated in the Micro-Folies’ activities, allowed him to reiterate his conviction that digital technology enables new relationships between an artist and the audience, in order to seek out those who are distanced from culture. The desire to be an innovator, the Manufacture’s true credo, allowed him to bring authors as unique as Fabrice Murgia or Anne-Cécile Vandalem to the forefront.

Located between Belgium and France, Pascal Keiser’s activity is deeply rooted in the European and international stages. One of the Manufacture’s original desires was, and is, to welcome artists from all over the world. Every year about ten countries are represented in the programming. In terms of innovation, Pascal Keiser’s role in the creation of the culture and technology start up accelerator “The Bridge”, or his involvement in the H2020 Vertigo STARTS programme make him one of the most influential personalities in the European cultural world. In 2020, when the Avignon festival team decided to add a media platform– the subsidiary FXP Festival Expériences–to valorise its audio-visual assets, they naturally called upon Pascal Keiser to be the President.

  • 2001

    2001

    founds La Manufacture, Contemporary Collective, in Avignon.

  • 2004

    2004

    arrives in Mons to found the CECN, then heads Technocité. He works at Technocité for over 10 years, training artists in new technologies.

  • 2010

    2010

    artistic advisor, Belgian pavilion, Shanghai World Expo.

  • 2015

    2015

    art director for the digital technology programme Mons 2015 Capitale Européenne de la Culture

  • 2017

    2017

    He created the digital museum, the main component of the Micro-Folies (Micro-Madness) of the Parc de la Villette.

  • 2020

    2020

    President of the FXP Festival Expériences platform, the Avignon Festival’s digital subsidiary.

The Institut français and La Manufacture

From July 7 to 11 2021 the Institut français is organising Focus Spectacle Vivant à Avignon, in partnership with the Avignon Festival, LAPAS (l’Association des Professionnels de l’Administration du Spectacle), La Manufacture, le Théâtre des Doms et le Théâtre du Train Bleu – accompanied by La Magnanerie.

For more information and to know about Focus Spectacle Vivant

 

The Institut français supported the international development of the FXP Festival Expériences platform in Latin America, the United States, Romania, South Korea as well as in Australia.

L'institut français, LAB