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Online videos were digitized with the support of the Regional Council of
Nord / Pas-de-Calais and digitization plans 2009 and 2010 of the french Ministry of Culture.


of FATMI Mounir

MOROCCO, 1998, 00:12:17

Production : FATMI Mounir
Genre : Video art
Keyword : Allegory, Language

Summary :

"(…)In his video Survival Signs, 1998, Fatmi looks closely at the role of language, positioning speech as a means of survival. The work opens with black and white images of Arabic calligraphy and the Latin alphabet flashing across the artist’s silhouette. “Speak! Parle!” the artist whispers in English and French, a rhythmic, echoing repetition that soon melts into a lullaby. “Speak so that I can see you,” Fatmi demands, as he shows us a hand clutching an ultrasound image of a human fetus.  Across the screen, Fatmi presents a scenario in plain text: “In the 13th century, Frédéric de Hohenstaufen devised an experiment where he separated newborns, and some were not spoken to in any language at all. Result: they all died without ever saying a word.” Images accumulate on screen, the deadly the antitheses of language: scenes of war, emergency vehicles, and newspaper clippings that highlight the phrases “4500 children die,” “diplomat,” “supplies,” and “embargo.” “Seven years after the laying down of arms, on the morning of 28 February 1991, the Gulf War continues,” Fatmi’s video silently declares. No one has spoken, and we are made witness to those who have died. The artist ends his video with a pair of eyeglasses being washed in the sink, and a hand drawing one small dot, helpless actions of vision and creation, deprived of speech.(…)"

Lillian Davies, Excerpt from Suspect Language, Skira, 2012. 
This work deals with the problem of language as an organ of taste, cause of the loss of paradise and instrument of language. It leasd men to build the Tower of Babel to reach heaven and surpass God. Efter which God punished them by destroying their unity. By using electronic language, echographical and televised images, Survival signs dismantles the loss of the power of understanding and communication of language. As an example, the video presents the fight for survival or Iraqi children deprived of food - a way of cutting off their tongues. And what forbidden fruit had they tasted ? What language would we like them to speak ? That of having or that or being ? Or, do we simply hope that they die without uttering a word ?

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Original language : french
Technical information : English version : 12 min. 10 sec.
Original format : video
Aspect ratio : 4/3
Chroma : Couleur
Available version(s) : Version originale française - Version originale française sous-titrée anglais

rental : 120 euros

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