Painting, black ink and photo projection, sound installation. 64 x 54 inches 2016- 2017
Map is an installation where painting, photography, light and sound interact to engage the viewer in themes of cultural multiplicity, identity, and time.
Two black ink paintings are facing each other. A photography of a body is projected on both. Two soundtracks emerging from each paintings are engaged in a dialogue. Every minute, light softly turns on. The photo projection is no longer visible nor is the sound heard, only the black ink figure are present on the canvas. This cycle continues.
Map explores the demarcation of a body; the history of a body as a territory. This piece also seeks to explore how memory and history shape one’s trajectory through the world, and how the past inhabits and iterates through the present. The voices in the sound installation are from interviews with the artist’s family, who migrated from Algeria to France in the early 1960s. These voices interact with the spaces of the paintings and projections and activate the intergenerational memory of migration. What does it mean to exchange one place for another? What does it mean to assimilate? What does the territory of this metamorphosis look like? Who is who? The elements of Map offer an exploration of an answer. Ultimately, Map is about time, is a map of time. While a body lives in a present time and space, the memory of its trajectory can define its identity through its experiences. What other kinds of time exist? Where are they located? What do they look like? How do they impact the present and iterate the future? What is their effect on the nature of identity?
Translation of soundtrack 1 and 2 for printed booklet (from Berber and French to English):
Soundtrack 1: I was born in the Ouadhias , Algeria. I remember when they would take us to the cinema at the barracks Mouh d’Arab. They would take us, when they would take us
, we were being
We had to sit with them in the cinema and watch the film. That’s why they would bring women and children with them. When the film was over we would all be released and get back home late. We didn’t want to get back home late at night. So when we would get back home, we could eat and sleep. Sometimes we could hear the soldiers, sometimes nothing. When we would wake up in the morning , we couldn’t stop thinking, again today? We didn’t want to go but
, until the film was over.
Soundtrack 2: My sister was a beautiful girl. They got married. He proposed to her. My father and mother agreed. He was a good boy and she was a beautiful girl. They loved each other but after three years they hadn't had any children yet. Her husband was still in love with her, he adored her. He would bring her to his village and take her out, it was good. But after three years her mother in law started to gossip and my parents heard about it. They concluded that since their daughter was sterile, her son should remarry in order to have children. His mother insisted he marry another woman but he didn’t want to. He even came to our house to take my sister back with him. At this time women were not allowed to speak up. Although she wanted to go back with her husband. She was not allowed to say anything, the parents were in charge. She didn’t have any choice and they said no. Her husband came back many times in vain. So he left Algeria and migrated to France. Later, he married a French woman. My sister remarried with your grandfather, through some village’s friends. Your grandfather was a man, he was hard. He wasn’t home often, he lived in France and traveled occasionally to Algeria where he gave her three children. Two boys and one girl, your mother.
She was doing good though, she had huge gardens, fields, everything, she had animals, she was raising chickens and had a garden upfront.
She had it all.
There were seven dogs all around the house, since she lived there on her own with her children. No one would dare going into her house. When my mother and I would go visit my sister, she had to come get us and walk us inside, otherwise it was impossible because of the dogs.
Her first husband who married the French woman never had children, he was the sterile one. It was because of him, he never had children. The mother in-law said that my sister was sterile. Her first husband worked in France for a long time. When he retired he went back to Algeria where he died in 1988. He was not even old.
I went to visit my sister, Yaya, in the thirteenth district of Paris. I broke the news. She stared at me.
I repeated, yes, your first husband, I said his name. Ah… That’s all she could say.