We Are Football
Mucem, Marseille, France
October, 11, 2017 - February, 4, 2018
Exhibition view ©Mucem
With Omar Victor Diop
In the elite neighbourhoods of Paris and the underprivileged housing estates of Marseille, in the ports of Istanbul and Athens, in the suburbs of Algiers and on the beaches of Malaga, football – with its unparalleled popularity – has the ability to bring all the Mediterranean’s residents together. Conversely, the sport also reflects the image of a Mediterranean Basin affected by social divides, violence, racism and fanaticism.
Although it remains the embodiment of a meritocratic ideal, football is also revelatory of planetary economic imbalances. Given the extraordinary financial stakes represented by the “football business”, cases of fraud are on the rise, both during matches and in the determination of winners of major competitions. The outcome of the debate on the professionalization of football, initiated by Jules Rimet, founder of the World Cup, and Pierre de Coubertin, father of the modern Olympic Games, changed the face of the sport, although more socially aware responses are now offering new outlooks.
In recent history, the terraces of sport venues have been the sites of clashes and propaganda. They have also echoed the social actions of players and supporters who have seized hold of football to return to the roots of the game and to defend the moral, humanist values that it espouses: respect for the rules and for one’s opponents, surpassing oneself, solidarity, team spirit, and so on. In this way, football offers us a magnifying mirror of the moral values and political ideologies of the 20th and 21st centuries. It is revelatory of our societies today, reflecting both their darkest and their brightest aspects. By bringing a ball into its space, the MuCEM wanted to use its 300 pieces, objects, photos, installations and videos to pay tribute to football and to the popular culture that goes along with it, in the Mediterranean in general and Marseille in particular, named the European Capital of Sport for 2017.
General curators: Florent Molle, Heritage Conservator at the MuCEM, and Gilles Perez, author, director and producer of documentary films
Artistic direction: Democracia
Scientific adviser: Christian Bromberger, anthropologist and Professor Emeritus at Aix-Marseille University
Scientific adviser for ultras scetion : Sébastien Louis, historian, History, Geography and Sociology Teacher at European School, Luxembourg
A Marseille Provence 2017 European Capital of Sport project
We Are Football