Le Bazar Palace


a project about the 2003 floods in the Camargue

On 3 December 2003, the world spilled over. And if you haven’t lived through it, you can’t imagine it. There was the sudden impact of the disaster and then the long process of individual reconstruction. There were the people affected, the volunteers, the firefighters and the solidarity.

Twenty years on, it’s time to pass on the torch.

So how do you unfold an individual story so that an anecdote becomes a shared narrative? How do we let go of our representations and allow ourselves to be swept along by the stories of the people we meet? Listening, gathering, exchanging and transcribing, in keeping with the generosity of those who have shared their stories, mark the stages of our journey.

The aim of this project is to place the floods in the context of people’s lives, and to draw on their memories to pass on the living memory of a region. But above all it’s about creating encounters to piece together a collective history from fragments.

This process gives us the impression that we are only at the beginning of an adventure: that of writing the sensitive story of our city. Because learning about our own city from the people who live here means creating continuous, never-ending links.

We’d like to express our gratitude to everyone we’ve met along the way for all the quality moments that have brought out emotions and, once again, shared ideas.

In response to a proposal from SYMADREM and the CPIE, the Bazar Palace was asked to set up an artistic and sensitive project to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 2003 floods.

This artistic project was driven by a global and theoretical reflection on the aestheticisation of the disaster. We wanted to avoid the pitfall of romanticising the disaster, and that’s what guided us throughout this commissioned artistic work.

Our project took place in two spaces and times:

A sensitive installation at the Espace Van Gogh in Arles

This artistic installation evokes the floods of 2003 through objects that have disappeared, been found or recovered by those affected. During the creative process, we went out to meet people affected by the floods and/or volunteers. The creative process was devised by four artists from different disciplines, who collected testimonies centred on the objects. The exhibition is made up of objects entrusted to us and artistic reinterpretations of objects that have disappeared, as well as a projection of photographic images collected throughout this adventure.

This installation was accompanied by a performance written from texts by Constance Biasotto for an accordion and an actress, played in the middle of the image projection.

An exhibition in the newspaper

he principle is rooted both in the serial novels of the early 20th century and in the desire to highlight the essential role of the printed newspaper in the collective memory of this disaster. We therefore published the texts by author Camille Nauffray and the photographs by Rosalie Parent in the local newspapers La Provence and Le Midi Libre every day during the exhibition.



Constance BIASOTTO / design, direction, writing of the performance

Elizabeth GUYON / design, artistic direction installation

Camille NAUFFRAY / dramaturge

Rosalie PARENT/ photographer

Patrick POISSON/ visual identity

Basile LECLEA’CH/ construction

Sophie ZANONE / actress

Olivier BRUN / lighting design

Louisa FOURAGE / multi-function production

Vladimir POISSON / trainee




Commissioned by SYMADREM (Syndicat des aménagements des digues du Rhône et de la Mer)

with the support of the Centre Permanent des Initiatives pour l’Environnement, the town of Arles, the town of Saint-Gilles, the newspaper La Provence, Midi-Libre, Soleil FM, the Ressourcerie du pays d’Arles, the Emmaüs community, the Collectif Solide, the Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation and all the local associations that relayed the call for testimonials.

Research, meeting and design: November 2023

Opening: Sunday 3 December 2023

Exhibition and publication: 03 to 16 December 2023

Espace Van Gogh, Arles and La Provence and le Midi-Libre