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of FATMI Mounir

FRANCE, 2006, 00:06:02

Production : FATMI Mounir
Genre : Video art
Keyword : Allegory, Calligraphy, Experimental

Summary :

At the beginning, in a medium close-up, the whole screen is taken up by signs. Dynamic lines, full, fine and empty. Then a slow zoom out reveals that the abstract design that we had taken as a whole is just one detail of an Arabic calligraphy. This change of viewpoint foresees the passage from a simple aesthetic pleasure to contemplation, recognition, or reading of Mahommet's Hadith. The line, which begins as simply graphic, becomes language and meaning. Then, while this drawing-writing suspended in the dark takes the appearance of a sphere floating in an indefinite space, we are immersed in a complex sonorous environment, made up of dullness and stridency, crescendos and diminuendos. This rimless bubble turns on itself, very slowly at first then faster and faster. Like the optical illusion of Marcel Duchamp's Rotative plaques verre ("Rotary Glass Plates”) when they are activated, the composition of mounir fatmi's The Machinery deconstructs giving way to a panic of swirling lines hardly leaving time to catch a glimpse of the images emerging and disappearing. Monsters and landscapes metamorphasize at the whim of the moving image. It is reminiscent of Max Ernst painting a planet distraught by war during the Second World War. The calm returns and the object rediscovers its initial stability. But only briefly - the vertiginous rotation starts up again and this time we feel that only a catastrophe will stop this inhuman overrun
of the limits of space and time. The screen will suddenly implode, the sign being dissolved into nothingness and silence.

Here the spiritual (evoked by the text) finds itself activated by a lethal machine, programmed by an invisible system for inevitable auto-destruction. The verse from the Koran is a floating, manipulated, terrorist signifier, a disembodied machinery without thought or desire. It is the spiral of a blind mechanism excluding all chances and uncertainties to the point of annihilation, down to the last word. Plunged into this hypnotic system, tempted by the pure enjoyment of the sensorial experience, we stand responsible, before the image and the sound, for our position as spectators.

“Something is possible, I hope” writes mounir fatmi affirming his elective affinities with Edward Said or Salman Rushdie. And if something is possible, perhaps it will be after The Book has lost its function as a vector for murderous ideologies. Thus Marc-Alain Ouaknin evoked in The Burnt Book, in reference to Rabbi Nahman of Braslav, “the necessity to burn holy books”, so that desire and vision can take place. If something is possible, it certainly won't be on the side of a “return” to sectarianism, territories and tribes carried by their own violence and their terrible systems of domination and submission. If something is possible, perhaps it will be in the disenchanted and always dazzled philosophy of the will, the alliance of the sensitive and the ethical, of memory and
creation, of which mounir fatmi's work is an example.

Based on « Le dernier mot…et après »,Evelyne Toussaint, professor in the history of contemporary art, Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, France.

Translation: Caroline Rossiter.

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Original language : _wordless
Original format : video
Aspect ratio : 4/3
Chroma : Couleur
Available version(s) : Sans paroles

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