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Le Massif du Sancy and Horizons–Arts Nature : When Land Art Rhymes with Attractiveness

Marie-Ève Férérol
Cet article est une traduction de :
Le Massif du Sancy et Horizons – Arts Nature : quand Land Art rime avec attractivité

Résumé

Since 2007, the Massif du Sancy (Puy de Dôme) has hosted the Horizons-Arts Nature festival. For the CRDT (Comité Régional de Développement Touristique/Regional Tourism Development Committee), this Land Art event “is a wonderful collision of art with nature”. At first glance, the festival may indeed appear surprising for a region like Auvergne which is perceived as a less open-minded territory and an unlikely place for innovative activities.
The object of this paper is twofold. First we want to understand the organisation and success of such an event in the region. What are the secrets to such a long run (10th edition in 2016) ? Why are artists so inspired by the area ? Is it the terrain that generates so much enthusiasm or simply the history of the site ? We are also interested in the role culture plays in making the area attractive. In the Sancy mountain range, which of these reasons is behind Horizons - Arts Nature ? What have local authorities and tourism professionals tried to achieve by creating the event ?

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1Mountains, globally speaking, have always been the object of multiple beliefs and representations (Siganos and Vierne, 2000 ; Debarbieux, 2001 ; Bernier and Gauchon, 2013 ; etc.). Artists would help shape the image of mountains. Writers (such as Rousseau and his novel Julie, or the New Heloise), painters (particularly Turner), musicians (Vincent d’Indy or Strauss) were inspired by this space to artistic ends and showed its less hostile face (Vierne and Siganos, 2000). Therefore, as early as the 18th century there was nothing shocking about making art of mountainous spaces. Today, the mountain as an artistic setting has taken on a more definite shape, at least in France, with outdoor music festivals (Megève Jazz, Musique mécanique aux Gets) or Land Art. Land Art is a movement that started in the late 1960s in the United States. Artists who belong to this movement are not satisfied with simply representing nature. They install their creations on site, hence the term in situ. This means working “outside the walls [...], outside a physical place, museum or gallery. [...] The place becomes a resource for art” (Volvey, 2007). Generally land artists use natural materials for their works, often from the site, but also willingly use manufactured products (like plastic). Hence, Land Art can be understood as “any artistic initiative produced in nature” (Tiberghien, 2007 : 7) either by using the land itself as a component or as the surface for an installation.

  • 1 All references to perceptions of Auvergne, from inside and outside the region, come from a portrait (...)

2Since 2007, the Massif du Sancy (Puy de Dôme) has hosted the Horizons-Arts Nature festival. For the CRDT (Comité Régional de Développement Touristique/Regional Tourism Development Committee), this Land Art event “is a wonderful collision of art with nature” (from the tourist brochure L’Auvergne en 10 étapes). The term “collision” is not neutral. By evoking the notion of violence, regional actors in tourism intend to highlight the singularity of the event. At first glance, the festival may indeed appear surprising for a region like Auvergne which is perceived as a less open-minded territory and an unlikely place for innovative activities1.

3Based on the Sancy example, the object of this paper is twofold. First we want to understand the organisation and success of such an event in the region. What are the secrets to such a long run (10th edition in 2016) ? Why are artists so inspired by the area ? Is it the terrain that generates so much enthusiasm or simply the history of the site ? We are also interested in the role culture plays in making the area attractive. Many researchers have emphasized the role of material or immaterial and generic or specific resources in reinforcing attraction. Yet among these resources we must include culture (Ritchie and Zins, 1978 ; Pecqueur and Landel, 2009 ; Mareste, 2011 ; Guillon and Scherrer, 2012 ; Delfosse, 2013 ; Proulx, 2016…), cultural levers being museums, festivals, events organised around local products...For Meyronin (2010), there are three reasons underlying cultural development : reviving a positive image, demolishing a negative image and reinforcing a positive image. In the Sancy mountain range, which of these reasons is behind Horizons - Arts Nature ? What have local authorities and tourism professionals tried to achieve by creating the event ?

4After presenting, in the first two sections of this paper, the territory studied and the origins of the festival, we shall go on to examine the dialogue created between works of art and the mountain region and conclude with the role of Horizons - Art Nature in regional and tourism attractiveness for the Massif du Sancy. Finally, we must point out that the methodology used in this paper is traditional i.e. based on semi-structured interviews conducted in July 2016 with the actors concerned.

The communauté de communes du sancy : low-key attractivness

5Covering an area of 800 km2, the Massif des Monts Dores, more commonly referred to as the Massif du Sancy, named after its highest peak (1,886 m) belongs to a series of volcanic terrains that stretch across Auvergne (Map 1).

Map 1. Massif du Sancy

Map 1. Massif du Sancy

© Sancy Tourist Office ; MEF 2016 ; Colin 2010

6Despite its specific volcanic formations and alpine landscapes, Sancy has suffered from its image as a “medium-sized” mountain range. It also suffers, as does Auvergne in general, from being a peripheral area in the centre of France, located in the middle of nowhere, that is also plagued by lagging demographic and economic development (Férérol, 2017). Over the last few years, Auvergne has been labelled different ways, according to the trend towards political correctness. From “disadvantaged” in the 70s, it has become “fragile” in the 80s and a “sensitive” region today (Chignier-Riboulon, 2007). By referring to its handicaps in an open economy where competition is the rule, this terminology always drives home the same point : Auvergne is a marginal territory, both demographically and economically. The Massif du Sancy suffers ipso facto from the overall image of Auvergne, but the impact of these negative traits are somewhat diminished by its renown as a tourist attraction.

7Founded in 2000 by 8 towns, the Communauté de Communes du Sancy has 16 members today. Covering 510 km of the 800 km2 in the Monts Dores, this space is characterised by its very low density (17.9 inhabitants/km2) and a population per town that is very small. Only three towns, dedicated to winter sports and/or thermal spas, stand apart with more than 1,000 inhabitants : 2,332 for the urban unit Bourboule/Murat-le-Quaire, 1,497 for Besse-Saint-Anastaise and 1,347 for Mont-Dore.

  • 2 28 % of 60+ years in 2011 in Auvergne stricto sensu.

8For the entire Communauté de Communes, including the three largest units, demographic losses are old, dating back to the 60s (Graph 1). The area has also been affected by an ageing population with 31 % of inhabitants over age 602 in 2012 and only 13 % under age 15.

Graph 1. The Communauté de communes du Sancy : a dwindling population since 1968

Graph 1. The Communauté de communes du Sancy : a dwindling population since 1968

Source : INSEE, 2015.

9Generally speaking, according to a Tourist Office study in 2012, the typical visitor is age 47.5 on average and 64 % of tourists come with their families. The regional clientèle is local (11 %) and comes from western France (Centre/Pays de Loire 32 %) and the Paris region (15 %). While 73 % and 69 % of visitors take vacations to relax and unwind, 83 % and 66 % respectively choose the Sancy in summer for the beauty of its landscapes and for its pristine environment. In the winter they are attracted by sports, value for money and the beauty of the landscapes (54 % in each case).

10In this context, is the aim of creating a Land Art festival a strategy to reinforce attractiveness for tourists and/or a means of responding to negative representations ?

Origins And Objectives Of The Horizons - Arts Nature Project

11The official statutes of the intercommunity Tourist Office (2003) specify that each town remains competent regarding events. However, elected officials have added a phrase that forces the TO to create a common and popular event that is at least nationally recognised, and contributes to the tourist economy, at an appropriate moment in the year and that is managed by the TO. The solution in this context is a Land Art festival.

An Intercommunal And Popular Event

12For actors in tourism, it was unthinkable to organise an event outside the season. They thought about a project during the summer that would take place from June to September. The director of the Sancy TO, Luc Stelly, who had just arrived in the region, appreciated the works of Christo and thus had the idea of a Land Art festival based on temporary works installed in each town. All the works would be designed by and for the site. After presenting the idea to local officials, the project was adopted and the first Horizons-Arts Nature festival was organised in 2007.

  • 3 Only the town of Espichal (member since 2012) has not benefited from a work of art so far. There ar (...)

13The event wanted to be resolutely intercommunal in order for each town to benefit from it (Map 2). Up until then, the three largest towns were in the spotlight. Now even the most rural and remote communities would be the object of communications and visits. However, while at the outset it was rather simple to install a work in each town, it became trickier with 16 members. Therefore an annual alternating schedule was set up3.

Map 2. Towns exhibiting works during Horizons - Arts Nature

Map 2. Towns exhibiting works during Horizons - Arts Nature

NB : Égliseneuve and St-Diéry joined the Communauté de Communes in 2000 ; St-Nectaire in 2009 ; and Compains, Espinchal, St-Pierre-Colamine, St-Victor and le Valbeleix in 2012.

MEF, 2016 : designed based on a map of the tourist office.

14For the TO director, via the Land Art festival, the ideas of “deambulating” and “irrigating” the region are the highest priority. The term “irrigation” carries the idea of compensating and developing the region (and not agricultural crops). Beyond the rallying factor, Horizons-Art Nature is also an event designed to improve visibility outside the region and respond to stereotypes regarding stagnation.

A role in communication

15As a rallying event for residents and towns, the Land Art festival has another function in terms of communication. Something visual was needed so visitors would take photos and share them. One of the paradoxes and problems for Sancy concerns “selling” its landscapes. As the TO director explains, tourists come to Sancy and leave saying “your landscapes are superb, extraordinary”. If the Massif du Sancy communicates exclusively about its landscapes, tourists, particularly Parisians, will say “I don’t want to come ; I’ll be bored” (TO study). For the TO director “emptiness is scary ; it frightens potential visitors”. The problem of landscapes concerns not only Sancy. For the director of the association Auvergne Nouveau Monde (the regional brand) today they need to show Auvergne landscapes with people in the foreground (young people if possible) in order to erase the image of a region that has been deserted by its inhabitants (Férérol, 2017). In Sancy, the Land Art festival is used to communicate about landscapes embellished with works of art. For the organiser, this means “using a contemporary perspective to enhance landscapes that have been frozen like post cards.”

The dialogue between works of art and the mountains

16In this part we seek to understand the current logic of the artists. What is their bond with the site ? Which components inspire them the most ? At first glance, the artists that take part in Horizons-Art Nature are similar to the pioneers of Land Art in their will to exhibit their work outside traditional cultural institutions and free themselves from the formalism of creating art in a studio. However, they are very different in their conception of the landscape. “Artists in the 60s went off to explore natural sites, not so much to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, but to test the limits of their art” Tiberghien, 1993 : 21).

The main themes of the festival

17The festival’s organisation is simple. A call for projects is launched and artists are given a list of sites with their presentation and related legends. Each year nearly 300 projects are proposed, but only a dozen are selected. The selection committee asks artists to write a few lines explaining the philosophy of their works through the prism of the region. In most cases (except for those who refer to local legends) they are “considered landscapes” : “a considered landscape is considered in that it is the object of visual as well as intellectual attention” (Domino, 2007 : 15). It is vital that the work exists “in harmony” with Sancy from a human or natural perspective, i.e. that it has a link with local history or geography. If their proposal is accepted, the artists receive 8,000 € (paid in several instalments) to fund the creation and transport of the work. In response to a few inhabitants and/or professionals who complain about the sums paid out to artists, the TO director claims the investment is minimal with regard to the media windfall (900,000 €).

18The works are installed on public or private land. In both cases, the location, which is not destined for artistic activities, is offered free of charge. The TO refuses to compensate land owners or farmers. The philosophy of Horizons - Art Nature really does consist in the co-construction of a collective project that serves the community. Since Sancy has national natural parks that belong to the Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne, permits must be obtained. These are easily granted especially since the PNR is on the selection committee along with the DRAC (Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles /Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs) and local officials.

  • 4 Their presence is explained in order to emphasize events like the 10th anniversary of Vuclcania (vo (...)
  • 5 In the area there are 670 km of marked trails.
  • 6 To learn the local legends, either the artists can do research themselves, or they can refer to inf (...)

19Each year the festival tries to find different sites. Since the first edition, 86 natural sites have been occupied, including 4 outside Sancy4. The person from the TO that has full-time responsibility for Horizons-Art Nature is in charge of finding different sites each year. As the festival has become more renowned, it unofficially gets help from local inhabitants who spontaneously propose new ideas. In selecting a site some criteria are difficult to weigh such as the presence of a hiking trail5or a car park nearby (to prevent vehicles from deteriorating the land) and a place where the mountain landscape of Sancy can be appreciated. Other criteria are considered as well, such as the existence of a local legend6.

A natural and human environment that is part of the work

20For many artists, the beauty of a natural landscape resides in the absence of any human activity. “When faced with vast open spaces, we start to dream of the sublime (Tiberghien, 1993 : 93). In Sancy, vastness is not the only source of inspiration. The power of volcanoes is present everywhere (hot springs, crater lakes, dykes, etc.) as well as water in every form (rivers, springs, waterfalls, lakes). The unexpected presence of alpine landscapes also stimulates creativity. According to booklets presenting the works, inspiration comes from the “topography”, “morphology” or even the “volumetric” of the sites.

21Artists try to bring out contrasts or, on the contrary, blend the work of art into the landscape. But in every case they “appropriate the space and transform it [...] to invent new landscapes” (Pradel, 1999 : 84). Artists encourage visitors to question the notion of landscape and force them to look at them differently, through a window, for example, or via mirrors. In 2011, Cardinal (Photos 1), a work by L. Gongora and M. Robert, “divides the landscape among a series of frames that are just as many points of view” while Les Portes de l’espace (the doors of space) by L. Sicard and B. Bonijoly, are “doors that open onto space, framing the landscape. [...] The doors are all identical, but the experience is unique : wanderer, do you realize your eye makes the the landscape ? Do you realize you have become the landscape ? ” In 2015, a dozen hollow cairns, an idea by A. Soriano,“ invite the spectator to a different perspective”.

22

Photos 1. Fractions of landscapes

Photos 1. Fractions of landscapes

© Sancy Tourism Office

  • 7 Since the first edition of the festival, a dozen "sound" works have been recorded.

23Whatever the case, the environment is not a frame for the works. This observation has been reiterated several times. The environment is either an integral part of the work or the work belongs to the landscape according to the artist. Let us examine several examples. For Aequilibrium singularis, a work installed for the 2016 edition in the Bois de Charlannes in La Bourboule, the environment is an integral part of M. Bougard’s piece. In a quiet woodland area, the sound of a stream and the wind7 accompany cones hung high in the air.

24For other artists, the work is part of the landscape because it fits in (Photos 2). In 2016, two Frenchmen simply christened their work set up in Capucin (Mont-Dore) Relief. The wooden sculpture is supposed to echo the differences in relief already present in the landscape. In 2014, another work, entitled Golden Replica, made of wood and polyester foam, also fit in with its natural environment as it was a perfect copy of the rock facing it. As for Eruption, set up near Montcineyre Lake (Mont des cendres), it was made of red digital images representing boiling magma.

Photos 2. Works part of the landscape

Photos 2. Works part of the landscape

© Sancy Tourist Office

25While environmental themes have been quite popular over the last 10 years, local culture or legends sometimes inspire artists. For the 4th edition in 2010, an artist used the myth of Coulobre, a little dragon that was said to terrorise the inhabitants of the Dordogne River valley. He imagined Dordonhia Viperinae, a metal snake covered in slate tiles instead of scales (Photos 3) that he quite logically set up along the Dordogne River since that is where the monster is said to come from. As for Nil novi sub sole (2016), the work of an architect and graphic artist from Lille, it refers more specifically to Sancy traditions (Photos 3).

Photos 3. Works inspired by local culture and legends

Photos 3. Works inspired by local culture and legends

© Sancy Tourist Office

The artist’s message

26While most of the artists who take part in Horizons - Arts Nature simply want to create art, like the Swiss artist M. Fulpuis (“M. Fulpuis does not claim to represent any movement or ideology. She creates.”) or show the beauty of the landscape where their works are installed (“Raise awareness that the riches of a landscape start with a simple look” C. Gonnet, 2013), others are more militant. Their favorite subjects are environmental protection or the excesses of contemporary society. In 2013, two works (Photos 4) served as warnings” (the French term alerte is used in both presentations). Earth Pulse, for example, by T. Klimor (Israel), is inspired by volcanic landscapes and looks like a seismograph that “rings out like an alarm that incites the visitor to pay special attention to natural resources and imbalances caused by unreasonable use.”

Photos 4. Two works serving as “warning”

Photos 4. Two works serving as “warning”

© Sancy Tourist Office

27As for the second case (excesses of contemporary society), two examples illustrate this theme (Photos 5). In 2008 E. Cartillier installed a bar code at Puy de la Tâche in Chambon in order “to show Earth as it is often perceived : a consumer good like another”. Along the same lines, Zone de turbulences (R. Cros, 2015) “questions the limitations of Man : technical and scientific advances seem to carry the seeds of his downfall”.

Photos 5. Criticism of excesses of contemporary society

Photos 5. Criticism of excesses of contemporary society

© Sancy Tourist Office

28In the end, thanks to the information provided by the artists in their presentations, we can see that the mountain environment plays a major role in the work : either it is an integral part or the two complete each other. In the words of A. Volvey (2007 : 10) “the work of art is not only in a place (locality), it is from and, above all, with the place ; it is an object-place”. And she continues : “thus we can measure the conceptual limits of the notion in situ borrowed from American Land Art : by vindicating a relationship of exteriority between the place (topos) and the object marked by "in", it does not help us understand the dynamic link and reciprocal concretisation between the object and the place that is created in the artistic practice. [...] The place is not a new pedestal for the in situ work of art, but the dynamic component of a chora. Defining the work of art this way invites us to reflect on Land Art from a chora point of view (spatial, genetic and relational) focused on the spatial fabrications of the object”.

The role of horizons - arts nature in regional attractiveness and tourism in Sancy

29We shall conclude this article by apprehending the contributions of this type of festival in a mountain region. Of course the cultural sector does not like the idea of being manipulated, but we must recognise its role in regional attractiveness and tourism. A Land Art festival organised by a TO surprised and shocked the cultural sphere at first (whether the DRAC or the departments concerned within regional organisations). But careful organisation and an effort to include cultural actors in the selection process forced everyone to take the festival seriously. The graphic arts councillor at the DRAC is in fact the only person, along with the festival manager at the TO, to preselect the works. The DRAC and other cultural actors (Fine Arts professors, museum curators from, for example, the Roger-Quilliot (MaRQ) museum in Clermont-Ferrand) are also on the selection committee alongside local officials and representatives of the national parks. In the previous section we dealt with the role of Horizons- Arts Nature from an artistic perspective. Now we need to examine the festival from a regional, social and economic point of view.

Considering culture as a resource

30Culture can be considered a resource in the context of regional attractiveness. Sometimes this resource is specific. Due to its singular and unusual nature, its added-value can be quite high and allow the region to stand apart. In other cases, a resource can be generic, as it is not original and can easily be transposed in another place (Pecqueur, 2007 ; Fabry, 2009 ; Senil & Landel, 2009).

31It is difficult to decide in the case of Horizons - Arts Nature. The festival is a generic resource in that there are other Land Art events in France or abroad, but it is also a specific resource if we consider the strong bond between the works of art and the region. Whatever the case, Horizons - Arts Nature is an established and innovative resource. “In the context of a general competition among regions, quality and innovation appear to be vital drivers” (Landel and Senil, 2009). Here innovation consists in developing a cultural festival around contemporary art in a region that is considered both narrow-minded and resistant to change. The man behind this innovation is not from the region (the TO director is originally from Paris). But local people (officials and residents) were capable of appropriating his idea and making it a collective project.

Cultural development or regional development through culture ?

32The links between region and culture can be considered from two approaches. In the case of Horizons - Arts Nature, are we dealing with cultural development in the Massif du Sancy or regional development with culture as a lever ? According to our interviews, particularly with the director of the Communauté de Communes, it would seem the first option is true.

33Generally speaking, it is the French communes and their intercommunal structures that provide the lion’s share of financial support for culture (Delvainquière et alii, 2014). However there are disparities between different types of EPCI (Etablissement Public de Coopération Intercommunale /public establishment for intercommunal cooperation) and different communities. “Funding for culture depends for the most part on the towns, particularly the large towns, which is a handicap for rural space. The weak investments of rural communities are hardly compensated by rural intercommunity structures that rarely have a recognised competence in culture. When it exists it is often limited to historical sites or leisure, sports and tourism. Intercommunity spending essentially concerns funding the operation of local cultural facilities. However, large-scale cultural projects are initiated by rural intercommunity structures” (Delfosse, 2015 : 32).

34The situation described by Claire Delfosse fits perfectly with the case of Sancy. The intercommunal structure does not support the Land Art festival directly. The latter is financed with intercommunity funds that the EPCI pays the intercommunal TO, or 117,500 (78.9 % of the festival budget) of the 1,603,640 euros required. Other sources of funding for Horizons are the French state via the DRAC (12,000 € or 8.1 %), the Auvergne region (2,500 or 1.7 %), the “department” (6,000 or 4 %), private sector partners such as the CCAS (social activities and energy) (8,000 or 5.4 %) and revenues from the event (3,000 or 2 %).

  • 8 In 2010, two buses were hired and in 2016 five were required.

35As M. Sibertin points out (2010 : 240), “it’s not because an offer already exists that the inhabitants’ practices develop. However, it’s the mission of those in charge of culture to use this dynamic to develop practices”. The population quickly accepted the festival. The residents turn out for the opening, even though the cost is 30 € (transport by bus and meal). 300 people attended this year, a number that continues to climb8. The people are also present on the hiking trails, ready to (re)discover the local sites. In fact, Horizons - Arts Nature raises artistic awareness among visitors, whether local or not. Through an initiative targeting young people, the Communauté de Communes encourages children to visit with their families, despite the fact there are no initiatives planned during the year in schools.

36The residents have other opportunities to encounter the artists : they can offer accommodation (sometimes for a rather long period) or help build the works. Farmers are the first to be concerned, providing tractors and labour free of charge. “The artists therefore take part in the residential attractiveness of the space : they come to live there and create at the same time” (Delfosse 2015 : 35). These contacts are vital to show the local population “there is no hierarchy. One mustn’t be impressed by the artists ; everyone is on the same level” (director of Horizons - Arts Nature). This fear was justified because the presence of a rather elitist event could be surprising in a mountain region.

Reinforcement of tourism attractiveness and a relative diversification of the clientele

37Due to a strong tourism tradition, the Massif du Sancy already has a certain number of events (car racing, Sancy Snow Jazz...), facilities (skating rink, ski lifts...) and tourist attractions (zip line, themed museums, etc.) to satisfy visitors. However, the Land Art festival helps distribute attractions over a wider part of the region.

  • 9 White collar 32 %, managers 22 %, retirees17 % middle level professions-technicians 15 %, workers 4 (...)

38Since the TO did not want to provide a visitor profile, estimating their sample was too small (only 50 individuals) we will only deal with general aspects. The audience for Horizons-Arts Nature consists mainly of hikers and spa clients who are looking for activities to occupy them over a period of 3 weeks. However, the festival organisers have also noticed the presence of art fans (belonging to upper socio-professional groups) who come specifically to Sancy for Land Art, particularly from Clermont-Ferrand (see below). This is a windfall, because historically the Sancy tourist is from a more modest group9. But for the director of the Sancy TO, diversifying the clientèle to include more high-end visitors is not a priority for the Land Art festival, whose role is essentially to communicate and gather a broad audience.

A regional marketing tool

39The festival is a source of pride for local residents and a far cry from traditional stereotypes of “backwardness” associated with the region. It’s a surprising event that stands apart in an innovative niche.

40The role of Horizons - Arts Nature is perfectly in line with expectations of a cultural event : “offer a vision of the area from another angle to the outside world : a region that is capable, without denying its rural and agricultural nature, for example, of taking a great leap forward into the modern world and spread this news as widely as possible” (Marest, 2011 : 230). Anne Volvey (2007 : 8) is even more specific when she evokes contemporary art and particularly Land Art : “The way it takes part in inventing a localised way of living together (i.e. both localised and intrinsicly linked to a set of situations constituting its context of emergence and finalisation), the way it rebuilds a link or missing mediations by forcing meaning to emerge and constructing shared micro-stories, its capacity to transform regionalised communities (politicians, administrators, residents, users) into master builders of their collective destiny and/or identity, making them a more prized, but also a more manipulated, contractor than an architect in the eyes of land managers or managers in charge of regional marketing”.

  • 10 In comparison, a renowned festival of vegetal artwork in Chaumont/Loire, which is celebrating its 2 (...)
  • 11 Sum that the TO would have been forced to spend to publish articles on the festival.

41One of the greatest sources of pride for Sancy is being one of the pioneers in developing Land Art in France. Now, due to the exceptionally long run of Horizons – Arts Nature (10 years) and the number of visitors (220,000 people10 each year), the organisers are even considered experts in the field. In the spring of 2016, Magalie Vassenet, TO manager of the festival, was contacted by local authorities in Yilan (Taiwan) who want to transpose Horizons in their region. If she has become an “international” expert, she owes this to foreign media coverage of Horizons - Arts Nature. In 2015 Lonely Planet ranked Auvergne #6 in its top 10 destinations. Horizons – Arts Nature is one of the reasons ! In France Le Monde and Télérama have contributed to mediatising the event. All told, the Sancy TO estimates the media windfall at 900 000 €11.

42Ten years is a symbolic landmark for any event. And it is also a time to take stock. What is the future of Horizons - Art Nature ? One possibility under consideration is an exhibition with photos of the works in specific places, like the Luxembourg gardens in Paris, for communication purposes.

43It is very difficult to grasp the economic impact of such an event (Bernié-Boissard, 2010 : 46 ; Delfosse, 2013 : 77). It seems the small towns benefit the most from Horizons - Arts Nature. Inns, guest houses and hotels near the installations experience a rise in turnover when a work is set up in their town. However, resorts like La Bourboule or Mont-Dore do not notice a positive effect in terms of turnover. Horizons - Arts Nature only allows them to offer their customers a wider range of tourist activities. In any event, as X. Greffe points out (2010 : 296) when he evokes the importance of a creative society “in an open economy, the capacity of a territory, region or country for development is attributed to the existence of a comparative advantage, which allows it to offer a product and reap the corresponding income”

Conclusion

44In this article we focused on the spatial dimension of artistic activity in order to understand the links between a place (in this case mountains) and works of art. Contrary to the previous century, nature in particular is no longer represented. It takes part in the artistic work. With Horizons - Arts Nature, we are dealing with a Land Art event within a distinct time and space. The festival is held from June 18 to September 25, during the tourist season, with the temporary presence of works distributed throughout the towns that make up the Communauté de Communes du Sancy. Originally intended as a unifying and striking event using material and immaterial resources from a mountainous region (landscapes, local legends), over the last decade the festival has become a resource in and of itself that contributes to regional attractiveness and tourism.

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Notes

1 All references to perceptions of Auvergne, from inside and outside the region, come from a portrait commissioned in 2009 by the CRDT (regional tourism development committee) (see bibliography). This portrait was enhanced with interviews in the context of communications about the brand Auvergne Nouveau Monde in 2014.

2 28 % of 60+ years in 2011 in Auvergne stricto sensu.

3 Only the town of Espichal (member since 2012) has not benefited from a work of art so far. There are several factors that explain this : lack of a specific proposal from the artists, the desire to spread the works in a balanced manner throughout Sancy during the season and difficulty finding sites.

4 Their presence is explained in order to emphasize events like the 10th anniversary of Vuclcania (volcano theme park) or the Chaîne des Puys application to become a UNESCO World Heritage site.

5 In the area there are 670 km of marked trails.

6 To learn the local legends, either the artists can do research themselves, or they can refer to information on taking part in the festival, which relates a few of them.

7 Since the first edition of the festival, a dozen "sound" works have been recorded.

8 In 2010, two buses were hired and in 2016 five were required.

9 White collar 32 %, managers 22 %, retirees17 % middle level professions-technicians 15 %, workers 4 %, artisans-merchants 4 %, no profession 3 %, unemployed 1 %, farmers 1 % students 1 %.

10 In comparison, a renowned festival of vegetal artwork in Chaumont/Loire, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, welcomed 400,000 visitors.

11 Sum that the TO would have been forced to spend to publish articles on the festival.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Map 1. Massif du Sancy
Crédits © Sancy Tourist Office ; MEF 2016 ; Colin 2010
URL http://journals.openedition.org/rga/docannexe/image/3668/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,0M
Titre Graph 1. The Communauté de communes du Sancy : a dwindling population since 1968
Crédits Source : INSEE, 2015.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/rga/docannexe/image/3668/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 144k
Titre Map 2. Towns exhibiting works during Horizons - Arts Nature
Légende NB : Égliseneuve and St-Diéry joined the Communauté de Communes in 2000 ; St-Nectaire in 2009 ; and Compains, Espinchal, St-Pierre-Colamine, St-Victor and le Valbeleix in 2012.
Crédits MEF, 2016 : designed based on a map of the tourist office.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/rga/docannexe/image/3668/img-3.png
Fichier image/png, 598k
Titre Photos 1. Fractions of landscapes
Crédits © Sancy Tourism Office
URL http://journals.openedition.org/rga/docannexe/image/3668/img-4.png
Fichier image/png, 2,4M
Titre Photos 2. Works part of the landscape
Crédits © Sancy Tourist Office
URL http://journals.openedition.org/rga/docannexe/image/3668/img-5.png
Fichier image/png, 3,0M
Titre Photos 3. Works inspired by local culture and legends
Crédits © Sancy Tourist Office
URL http://journals.openedition.org/rga/docannexe/image/3668/img-6.png
Fichier image/png, 3,0M
Titre Photos 4. Two works serving as “warning”
Crédits © Sancy Tourist Office
URL http://journals.openedition.org/rga/docannexe/image/3668/img-7.png
Fichier image/png, 4,0M
Titre Photos 5. Criticism of excesses of contemporary society
Crédits © Sancy Tourist Office
URL http://journals.openedition.org/rga/docannexe/image/3668/img-8.png
Fichier image/png, 3,4M
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Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Marie-Ève Férérol, « Le Massif du Sancy and Horizons–Arts Nature : When Land Art Rhymes with Attractiveness », Journal of Alpine Research | Revue de géographie alpine [En ligne], 105-2 | 2017, mis en ligne le 20 juin 2017, consulté le 16 décembre 2017. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/rga/3668

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Auteur

Marie-Ève Férérol

Université de Clermont-Ferrand II. mefererol@gmail.com

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Licence Creative Commons
La Revue de Géographie Alpine est mise à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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