Bringing dead people to life.
17 Aug 2010
I set up a place, San Francisco, Paris, Los Angeles and the like, clik / clak: work done.
When I heard the news of an incident in Falludja back in July 2004, I was struck by the possibility that those who died in this event would most likely remain anonymous. This idea haunted me even more so when I came to the US in 2007 to graduate in the field of M.I.S. So many of my friends were unknown veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of them in their second and some on their third tour, some came back with missing limb, or not even coming back at all, and those who lived had such an immense sense of guilt, and they still attended their friends funerals. Those who will never come back.
It is as if death always find a way to remind them of their pain, trauma and psychological trauma. They dealt with their issues in such extreme behaviors, I will never forget that night studying, finding him crawling under the table in the apartment, or the other time seeing a frantic look in his eyes just because of a loud noise in the streets, and it strengthened my sense of duty, to be just like them, shut down and turn back on into survival mode, to overcome, "faire face", like the French like to say, to learn everything I can from them and possibly not repeat the mistakes made along the way. I have 12 months left of study and then I will be free. Will they ever be free?
Inspired by the people who had lost their lives while fighting in combat, and those who had the courage to share their trauma to a complete stranger, I decided to see how several anonymous body bags would look like in an urban setting where war is obviously not taking place. I recruited lifelong friends and off we go. Rain, snow, mud, they see it all. I felt the result was successful and it inspired me to take this visual project all over the world.
The goal is quite simple. Occupy the space. "Travailler la mise en espace". Make the invisible, visible. Which is great, because I always felt like a filmmaker at first.
To emotionally connect the viewer to things we can't see. That was the goal, to bring a visual order when chaos rages outside of our borders. Myself I am the byproduct of the Vietnam war, a decolonization war. But life moves on, I moved on. Will they? It is so unlikely... Who knows where I will be in ten years, who knows where they will be in ten years? How many funerals do I have to pay my tributes to until all of this stops?
I want to keep those pictures as a milestone in my life and never look back, to keep moving forward, to reach every single goal I set myself into, film-making, academic, leadership. I want it all.