Coulaut Menges: Emperor in the Bibliothèque Francophone

Coulaut MengesBefore I start with interviewing Coulaut Menges, I have to make an apologise for an huge mistake that I have made and what I deeply regret. As, when writing about “3 espaces” and “Babel Tower, Gutenberg Library Project” I have not mentioned the great part that Coulaut had in these projects, as if he had not been there, these two projects, and many others, would not have been as they are today.

How it came all as far as it is now, is what I talked about with Coulaut Menges, shortly after the release of Library 2.0 on the mainland (Second Life Library/Info Island, Info Island (148, 47, 33)) and the manual-video on the Biblio’s Blogspot.

It is almost one year ago that Coulaut has set his first steps into Second Life. As he did not see anything interesting, he soon wanted to leave Second Life for what it was. Just an advertisement by a French-speaking Library, placed in one of the info-islands for newbies, triggered his interest and that is how he entered the Bibliothèque Francophone and met als Hugobiwan Zolnir, who was till then running the place on his own.

Coulaut was very moved by the “masked poems” and he wished to add some of his own, as a present for Hugobiwan. That brought him on a slippery slope and it got him involved with the organisation of the Biblio. Some talks with Hugo made clear, that they have ideas and interest for arts, innovations and culture in common and that co-operation could be a good idea.

MD: “I already mentioned the ‘Babel Tower, Library 2.0’ that you did with Ange Zanetti and ‘3 Espaces. What other projects did you do? And of which are you proud?”
Coulaut Menges: “I have started with building books in 3D in my own design and scripts. Some of them are here in the Biblio to be seen. And I started with ‘masked poems’ of some of my own.” The greatest achievements were the new building for the Bibliothèque Francophone and the conception and realisation of the sirius gallery here at the biblio with Mariaka Nishi for the expo ‘Les Anges Revent Aussi” (The Angels Also Revent).

MD: “What is your dream?
Coulaut Menges: “My dream is to launche a true artistic vision and to maintaine the high level of innovations that the Biblio now has. I want to give the visitors the desire to return to the Biblio, to discover how we keep on developing arts and innovations in high standards. That we can show them things, that not existed before.

For me, it is my knowledge of scientific information that I want to combine with my taste of arts, and so I get the chance to create things that I could not have imagine to exist, and even beyond that.”

MD: “Googling “Bibliothèque Francophone” gives the real one in Limoges (France) as first hit. What is the relation to the real Biblio.Fr.?
Coulaut Menges: none. It is purely a coincidence of names. But at the moment, real libraries are stating to show interest in our ‘virtual library’, what will bring more opportunities to connect Second Life with Real Life.
Achievements like the Babel Tower are in many ways important. Not in the least because sponsors might get interested too. But our most important standard is, to stay independent. We do not want to be influenced by any financer or institution or company and we want to stay open and for free for everybody who is interested in arts and innovations.

MD: “What is the relation with Metalab? And what are they? An institution?
Coulaut Menges: “Officially there is no bond with the metalab. The biblio is a completely private organisation and an initiative of individuals. The metalab is a public organization that has intentions to accomodate public structures on Second Life. But one of the persons in charge of the metalab (in Real Life) is also responsible for the biblio 🙂

MD: “Since this is supposed to be an interview about you… Coulaut Menges, my final question must be: What moves you?”
Library 2.0 Babel Tower on help islandCoulaut Menges: “In fact an enormous curiosity. I have allways been very, very curious about the development of new ways of communication. This has begun with ‘Minitel’, that was an ancestor of internet that was very populair in France, it worked fine for more than 10 years, but it got swept away by the launching of Internet; and after with the new technics on data-processing. Just France had sticked with ‘Minitel’ for too long and has therefor been behind on internet for a long time. But now taking over fastly, as for now French are the third in population on Second Life. And moreover as this type of structure allows us to have relations everywhere in France, in Europe and in other continents in the world.

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