Franco-Colombian Artist Triny Prada Arrested for Taking Photos of her Friends
The 23rd annual the Vidéoformes International Festival of Video Art and New Media was launched on Wednesday the 12th of March in the presence of elected officials, Clermont-Ferrand’s Mayor Serge Godard, along with several local and foreign artists, and well-wishing members of the faithful and passionate public. Following the presentation of the various installations that form the “public architecture” of this very beautiful edition of the festival, around 100 of us came together at the main center of the exhibition for a buffet dinner that gave a warm ambiance without any sense of excess. I left the exhibition around 11:30 PM, delighted with this first day and with the quality of the contact that I had been able sense among all of the participants.
At the end of the evening, a small group of artists (German, American, Italian) got together, accompanied by the director of Vidéoformes at the “Bar du commerce” on the place Gaillard, to end things with a “last glass”. When the bar was closing, and all was calm and serene, a group of police raided the bar, ejecting all of the artists. Our friend Triny Prada, artist-in-residence for this year’s festival showing her work concerning Genetically Modified Foods, was at that very moment taking photos of her friends. The police immediately confiscated her camera, arguing that she was not authorised to take photos of police officers and saying that the camera was pointed towards the police. The officer then detained Triny without heistation and put her in a police car. Despite the protests of the Vidéformes Festival’s Director ,Triny was put in a cell at the central police station for “public drunkenness”. Triny asked if a bankette at a bar was public, and if a customer at a bar was causing trouble in public. She was taken to her cell. Triny asked how long she would have to stay there, and the officer responded “Less time than Ingrid Betancourt” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingrid_Betancourt). Considering that Triny was in Bogota just a few weeks ago supporting relatives of the hostages taken by the Colombian rebel group FARC, she not share the officers sense of humour. After that, Triny was left to spend the night in a sordid cell whose temperature was not over 5°C/40°F with only a thin blouse to keep her warm. It is shameful that a woman be treated this way in a Democracy in which it’s president has said that he waits anxiously to hear of the release of one of his compatriots from the Venezuelan frontier.
The morning after this horrible incident, which has tarnished the image of our Festival, the of Clermont-Ferrand, the region of Auvernge and the image of France; I quickly contacted the Police Prefecture. To their credit, they were attentive and coruteous (possibly too attentive when their first question was “Is she an illegal immigrant?”). Triny was finally released at 9:30 this morning. Her camera was destroyed and her memory card was lost. When asked “Where is the memory card?”, the police clerk said ‘It never existed.’ and that Triny voluntarily threw her camera to the ground.
A complaint will be filed with the French Prosecuter’s Office.
President of VIDEOFORMES