Muslims Protest Toulouse Artwork

Toulouse, France - Muslim protesters have had a pavement video installation celebrating Islam taken down because they said it allowed people to walk on Koran verses.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social network can no longer view this site-specific artwork.

Moroccan Mounir Fatmi’s artwork, called Technologia, involved projecting video images on the pavement of the Pont-Neuf, which crosses the Garonne in Toulouse.

It shows turning circles, calligraphy, verses from the Koran and sayings of Mohammed.

The piece was supposed to be open over the next two weekends, but accidentally started on Tuesday night, before installations to stop people walking on it were in place.

Police say some 60-80 people assembled on the bridge to stop people walking on the images and one young woman was slapped for stepping on them.

One local woman, Charaza Boumzaa, 23, told Le Monde she was among the first to protest. “They’re putting the Koran on the ground, it’s unbelievable,” she said.

The artist and the municipality of Toulouse have now decided to withdraw the work, Fatmi saying that it was due to the fact it had been misunderstood, as he had no intention to provoke.

He added the work had previously been shown in Qatar. “There, a few kilometres from Saudi Arabia, it didn’t shock anyone, but it does in Toulouse. I’m upset about it, I don’t really understand.”

The work was meant to be part of the contemporary art festival Printemps de Septembre, and Fatmi was taking part for the first time.

The theme of the 2012 Printemps is History.

Curated by art historian and critic Paul Ardenne, “History is mine!” brings together some forty artists who, each in their own way, address the question of history today. But then how could it be otherwise, given that all of us, artists or otherwise, are shaped and moved by history? Not a universal history, but a singular one, revisited and rewritten by each individual as the key material of their “life-novel.”

Printemps 2012 will be articulated around its usual venues (with the exception of Les Jacobins, currently being renovated) with a string of associate venues further along the Garonne chosen in order to diversify content and maintain close cooperation with local and regional players.

Likewise, there will be a special emphasis on interventions in public space, which is eminently the space of sharing and conviviality.

This festive impulse will be heightened by the Nomadic Nights, especially this year. The International Festival of Art Schools, inaugurated in 2011, will be housed this year at the École des beaux-arts.

This will be the last edition to be held in the autumn.

In 2013, Le Printemps will be held in May, thus going back to the time of year, spring, that inspired the name it has kept over its 23 years of activity.