Vol de Nuits, Marseille
In December 2013 we received an invitation from Pauliina Salminen to present Difference Screen at Vol de Nuits on the 11th April 2014, a date perfectly suited to our itinerary.
The screening at Vol de Nuits is a good example of networking processes that have made DS possible. I first met Pauliina and her partner Andrés Jaschek as fellow artists on an international residency, Periferry1.0 (2008) at Guwahati in Assam, NE India www.periferry.in/. Periferry1.0 was the inaugural event in an ongoing series of residencies, workshops, exhibitions and symposia organised by Desire Machine Collective founders Mriganka Madhukaillya and Sonal Jain under the auspices of Khoj India. Periferry uses a former passenger ferry on the bank of the Brahmaputra as a base for its activities. The name plays with a sense of periphery, highlighting the ‘removed’ position of Assam from India and its proximity to SE Asia.
During the residency in Guwahati Pauliina filmed and recorded people crossing the river “There is nothing in North Guwahati. We go to Guwahati to graze and we go back at night. We have become like cows. Go eat grass in the morning, return to North Guwahati in the evening. Just like cows.” Subtitled captions from 8 crossings / 8 traversées Pauliina Salminen.
Pauliina’s film is one of the cornerstones on which DS has developed, I hadn’t seen her since the residency. Pauliina kindly met us at the airport at mp2, a budget terminal for budget flights giving an impression of arriving in Marseille through the back door.
We drove into the city to meet Marie Claire Sagna, introduced to us by Martyn Grimmer, printmaker, colleague and friend from Bristol. Martyn spent time in Marseille on an Erasmus exchange in the 1980s. We met MC, who generously put us up during our stay, and were welcomed by Martyn’s old friends, photographer Patrice Terraz www.terraz-photo.com Philippe Moutte and Laurence. Philippe makes extraordinary structures for Cirque de Soleil and other public spectacles www.sudside.org/
Recording aspects of life in the port of Marseille has been central to Patrice Terraz’s oeuvre. His work ‘Les 100 visages du vaste monde’ reflects how the world comes to Marseille. In this work Patrice has specifically focused on the faces of crew members from cruise ships passing through Marseille and the Mediterranean. The title 100 visages is taken from Albert Londres writing ‘Marseille, porte du Sud’ published in 1926 “Marseille, porte monumentale, où passent, flux et reflux, les cent visages du vaste monde…” “Marseille, gatehouse, where passes, ebbs and flows, the hundred faces of the wide world…” Marseille encapsulates difference.
Vol de Nuits is an independent photographers gallery. Besides offering courses in digital and analogue photography the organisation hosts exhibitions, residencies, workshops, events including screenings, debates and performances www.voldenuits.com. Ben and I met Pauliina and Estelle Pierson at the gallery before the screening to run through the programme and fine-tune the playlist.
The Difference Screen programme in Marseille was chosen largely by the Vol de Nuits committee. The inherent warmth and humour of two Georgian films Chiatura my pride and Gulo went down a storm at the evening screening. Both films are from Blackshorts, a collection of five experimental short films on everyday life in Georgia in 2011 www.plotki.net/
Three new films were introduced to the DS roster of films in Marseille. Hassan et Amira – Lettre/s d’hôtel/s 2009 by Gesa Matthies is an evocation of the Marseille neighbourhood of Belsunce through the names of hotels and nostalgic sound of a typewriter. In Des plumes en enfer / Feathers in hell 2014 Sylvia Donis presents a collage of scenes using found footage and the ends of super 8 films together with an Italian soundtrack and text by Andre Breton. omelia agli uccelli / preach to the birds 2012 by Luca Wyss from Argentina is a meditation on the poetic dissemination of narratives through birds as radio waves.
We were pleased to have Sylvia Donis with us throughout the screening. Sylvia writes:
Pendant la soirée de projection j’ai découvert autant d’univers différents que de films projetés, et c’était vraiment agréable, comme un voyage dans d’autres pays.
La rencontre avec les organisateurs était très intéressante. Je garde un très bon souvenir de cette expérience.
And in English, in a personal translation
During the screening I discovered as many different universes of creation as there were films projected. And it was really pleasant, like a trip in other countries. It was very interesting to meet the organisers. I have very fond memories of this experience.
Bruce Allan 17.4.2014