Maif Social Club: Socialist !
13/01/2017 au 31/03/2017. Iconomania Expo. See our first announcement
Bluntly : why a social institution like Maif (a mutual insurance Cy, at first open only to teachers in primary schools) did invest (our estimation) some 3 millions of euros and allow annual operating costs of some yarly 500 000 euros?
Our first guess was negative : a marketing and communication coup, targeting the socialist "bobos" (yuppies) of this high costs Parisian 3d district.
From the digital art market standpoint, the need of such a place was at least questionable, since the district hosts at least three galleries which spearhead digital in France (Charlot, Denis René, N. Marino) and, for a wider public audience, the Gaité Lyrique, strongly supported by Paris Town Council. (See an overview of the discrict in our geography of digital art).
Fortunately, at a visit in January, we met locally persons who anonymously and informally answered our questions and took us to a very positive standpoint.
Of course the marcom is not absent of the investment aims. The Company was founded in 1934 and felt the need to rejuvenate its image. But it keeps on its activist soul of "assureur militant", and the new facility is more in line that it could seem. The actual target of its activites extend to all parts of the region, including disadvantaged suburbs. Il offers them free services and educational support by trained personel.
The choice of a central district, not crested properly speaking but in the recent years changing from crafts and craft oriented shops to art and culture, is appropriate to its activitie. And, even more important, the place is central enough to be accessible rather easily from the whole region (not so far, anyway, from Gaité Lyrique which plays a simiar role but is more Parisian oriented).
Primary school pupils working hard at the mashup table.
The victory of Benoit Hamon in the Left Primay adds political resonance to such a strategy. As well as this Social Club, the candidate based its campaign on the importance of the digital upheaval and its consequences on economy and society, demanding a new approach of social justice. Maif is surfing on the appropriate wave (even if it is too early to predict how it will unfurl in France and beyond).
We paid a new visit during the reception of a young pupils (CE1, second class of primary school) coming from a distant suburb. Local mediators got proper attention of the kids.