Meaning 1: Bringing to light a situation
Meaning 2: Chemical bath where the x-ray is soaked to enable the invisible picture to appearThe installation Reveletor appears as a closed structure that reminds of both an isolation cell and a black box. On the face of the structure, slots are cut out allowing the viewer to see the inside. The holes reveal photographs of several items linked to prison, and more specifically with the imagery of the baskets prepared by the relatives for their incarcerated loved ones.The installation establishes ties between incarceration conditions and the photographic process. Space itself is paramount: Confined, dark and solitary. The sorting of photos may hint to the baskets being searched by the guards. Finally, waiting for the photos that gradually reveal themselves, evokes moments spent by the inmates eagerly waiting to unveil the content of their baskets.
Security locks and checkpoints are becoming increasingly visible in contemporary societies; in railway stations, airports, shopping centers, customs areas,... and especially in prisons. In the correctional world, there is a strict control of the objects that can reach the prisoners, with well-defined prohibitions and restrictions. Prisoners are compelled to undergo searches that add to the condition of confinement, with the outside world being delivered to them in a conditioned, restrictive form, and subjected to the sorting machine. ‘Scanner’ is an installation that scrutinizes the status of objects in our control-based societies, and more particularly in prisons, which bring to their paroxysm modern aspects of ordinary civil life, that of citizens who move "freely". The Scanner device consists of a series of movable aluminum frames in which X-rays of prohibited objects are displayed, a mechanism that allows the viewer to scroll X-ray films by interacting with a crank, up to the part illuminated by a neon light, thus showing the x-rayed objects just in front of the viewer. The dominant color of the device will be the color blue, a dark blue, but transparent under the neon lights. This color, which evokes the dream and the marine space is paradoxically shown in a mechanical and closed environment. ‘Scanner' represents this contradiction between the open and the enclosed, the clear and the dark, between the one who controls and that which is controlled.
The "koffa" is for the prisoner and his family a challenge to separation. Prepared with affection, it is loaded with unwritten messages: the dishes sent are not a simple set of nutrients but a specific alchemy to best convey feelings and thoughts. It turns out that at the checkpoint of the prison entrance, the intruder in this ritual, the jailer, will mock and disfigure with his hands this "offering", indulging in aggressive gestures and unpleasant ways. In search of a possible confined message, and out of fear of a hidden object, the food will be cut, and crushed between the fingers of the guardian; and it is there, in this game of hands, that one transits from love to negligence, from envy to disgust, from respect to contempt, from hope to despair...
When seriousness is mistaken for laugh, a victim may turn into a rough criminal whoever turned the bodies free, reasoned minds but shackled the soul of you and meonce a prisoner, but now her jailer, so many start big but end up frailer.Poem by Mnaouer Smadeh (translation)
This work is framed by two juxtaposed screens that alternate testimonies and scenes of everyday life in a poetic documentary approach. The double-screen video installation creates a complex space-time dimension and multiplies the narrative possibilities through editing processes like slow motion, repetition, the superposition which work like a field of resonance, cohabitation, fusion and superimposition of multiple facets and strata of the real (the words of the witnesses) which gradually reveal a failed and painful life.
Words and Reminiscence Testimonies take a poetic and political substance that plays out through the narrative. On the one hand, the emotional and human dimension gradually emerges through the strata of words, in its daily struggle of pain, distress, and injustice endured. On the other hand, through the succession of images imbued with the real, the daily life leaves behind an atmosphere of continuity, determination and hope.
Memory and resistance or poetics of absence What is absent (the prisoner, the body of suffering) resumes its place by the reminiscence of memory in support for torture but also as a process of catharsis and resistance. It's about rendering the invisible visible. Memory becomes meaningful and momentous if it is kept alive as a matrix to build the future and be reconciled with the past.
The threads of time
Tulle Embroidery 200x150 cm
The searches, the corridors, the gloomy walls of the prisons where they are piled up like old rags make them lose their dynamism, remaining fixed but still. They stand facing the barbed wire, with their bodies showing very little. With no dignity, but still fighting and holding on. Each node, each thread is nothing more than a set of constraints and obstacles that they have overcome, thus creating the human being that they are. A symbol of eternal revolt, these women are up against all odds, get lost but manage to find themselves again, incomplete but always ready to launch a new challenge, tired but are happy to be a threat to all those who hide in a bigger prison far from them. No barrier stops them, but what about the cowards who think they are free, locked in the abyss of their fear?
Between the lines
Clothes are traditionally signs of identification and allow concealing and showing, veiling and unveiling; a second skin that personifies the one who wears it. If the text of the embroidery is the subject, the garment becomes a means to communicate with the outside, but it is also an instrument of resistance, transgressive to the oppression of the regime.
In Absentia (Atlas Lethé) is a narrative taking as a starting point a supposed absence of visual archives of the post-independence years of militancy and political repression in Morocco and Tunisia, to go towards a proposal of possible "iconology" of this story. First, there is the idea, vague and unreal, that runs through my mind. The incongruous, almost shameless, but joyous possibility of being able to re-create a body, a piece of this body, damaged, invisible, forgotten by history, giving back to it a substance, a form, an existence. Then you have to understand the material; one that by a precise and chemical dosage comes first to cover the arm, the foot or the bust of my subject. In the mold, layers come in succession, and so does time. Mixtures drying and manipulations finally show only a fine and delicate white and powdery surface; fidelity almost complete. "Quasi" because there are of course accidents in this attempt to master the technique, the same ones that give the final piece this precious imperfection. History is immense and I am interested here in the smallest detail, the gesture, the desire to study a fragment of political body. It is not history that made this body a political body, it is you, it is me, it is our preconceived and unconscious projections that build it and define it in simplified perspectives. The photographs are a translation of this body through the fragment. By moving it, isolating it, cutting it out, they try to rebuild it. In what order should these fragments be presented? I wonder! The color, the shape, the size, the person and her history, chronology, musicality, depth. I choose disorder.