Urban Stories


Video installation, 2005-2009 / 9’28’’ looped + 45’43’’ looped video. Colour, PAL, format 4:3 / Non-spoken, sound / Dyptichon: 2 channel- projection on 2 different walls / Colour, PAL, format 4:3. Width first screen: 4m. Width second screen : 1,70m.

Galerie Nosbaum & RedingGalerie Nosbaum & RedingGalerie Nosbaum & RedingGalerie Nosbaum & Reding

I was invited to the Guangzhou Triennale by Evelyne Jouanno and Hou Hanru. I filmed at length in Guangzhou and then left for the mountains in southern China. One day, I met a village woman in the street who had never seen a foreigner before. She started to talk to me, to touch my clothes and my hair. I asked her whether I could film her.
The next day, I placed the camera in front of the studio’s sofa and let the woman use my body as a kind of tool. She began by taking my hands, at which point my translator stopped my camera. “That’s impossible here in China”, she said. I sent her outside and sat back down. The woman touched me like a child, like a sister, like a lover, like a mother. It was like a rite of alterity. I stopped her after 9 minutes. I couldn’t take any more.
Before the Triennale, I wanted to project the video I had made with the people of the village in their own cinema. The Triennale’s local authorities summoned me together with the woman from the village, and asked her whether I had forced her to make the video. Realising what was about to happen, she turned to me and said: “But you promised to show it to me! You promised!”
I showed the whole video. All the people from the village were there. They had brought snacks and the children ran in the central aisle of the screening room. Everyone followed the images by yelling out a running commentary. It was very joyful, even during the terrible stories about the past. In the last sequence, when I appear with the woman, silence fell around the room.
The next day, I received a letter from the woman, which my translator read to me. “I spent my life telling myself I was useless. It was like I was only passing time in this world. I decided to leave, to finally leave the village”. At the Triennale, my video was up for an hour. What’s particular in China is that censorship does not

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