Could you please tell me about film and video art situation in France in the last 10 years?

I am not the best person to have a clear overview of French film and video scene, as I am myself too much involved in it… French-cinema-and-video-art is not really a "scene". There are too many kinds of films, screening spaces, audience, researches etc. to shrink everything is a unique "space", a unique "scene". Moreover, some practices of cinema or video are antagonist. To thing Art in term of country, or in term of geography, is not so relevant, even if some national cultural aspects could exist.


I see u a lot of your video using visual archival and footage that represented in socio-political context and history issues. What made you interested in these themes?

For me, the Past is one of the keys of the understanding of Today. There is a contradiction: in one hand, the contemporary world is built on and by what happened before; but in the second hand there is also a perpetual work of forgetting this Past. It is obvious that if humanity has take care of what happened, about the war, the despair, the disasters… we should leave in a more peaceful world, moreover, a world with more Justice. That is not true actually. So there, it's a question that obsesses me.

Moreover, to talk to the past, it's a way for me to talk metaphorically about today. For example, to make a movie about the riots that bloomed worldwide at the end of the 60's, allows me to questions what happened then, but also to question the kind of contemporary renewal of political demonstrations and the police reactions gave to those demos. So, there are not so much differences for me between my films that deal with historical topics and the ones that have contemporary subjects. They are all political films in the way they all try to question the world we leave in and the possibility we have to react to the destruction.


In the last ten years, socio-political developments in France and Europe changed quickly. Especially after the events of 9/11. There are many issues rise such as racism, homophobia, hyper capitalism, etc. How do you live this situation as an artist?

I could precise that there is not so much a development of exclusion feelings (as racism, homophobia, sexism…) or of a new kind of destructing capitalism than a development of our ability to accept them. There is, for sure, increase interest of the voters for far-rights candidates or political parties, but more problematically, the language of the far-right (and of the new capitalism) spread in all the democratic spaces. And we are now used to it. Few are the ones who continue to be "against", to be revolted.
Before being an artist, I am a citizen of a country, a unity of a society, a particle of humanity. I can do anything else that doing political movies, to try to question the audience about contemporary or past events, problems... Questions for me are more important than answers, as actually politicians or all the members of the ruling classes knock us by answers and as we need desperately to think (it is impossible to think without questions). Artists should grab, for a moment, oiled mechanisms of everyday life that is ruled by capitalism, or against it for the rare ones who still fight.

Could describe who is the audience? What is “audience” mean for you?

For me there is not such "audience". First, I never make a movie for audience, but for myself (and for the dead ones I crossed during the researches I done for the films). Secondly, there is a kind of coincidence when people in the audience like my films or are moved by a film. I never clearly understand why people could find my works interesting or emotional.


What is public space mean for you?

For sure public spaces are political spaces. For that reason, the way today the public spaces are privatized, the way shops, logos, ads… spread everywhere on this planet is not neutral, or only economic. It is really political. We need to reclaim the public spaces and the streets! Arts in public spaces could be a way, if it is not done with the usual culturally bad conscious. (Demonstrations are probably a better way to solve this question.)


Could you tell me about your works in the last 3 years? What's new of it?

Probably, I ended three years ago a kind of series that include Dies Irae, Nijuman no borei, Even if she had been a criminal… and perhaps Under Twilight. Some kind of series about World War II, about pains, destructions and disasters… Now, I continue to work about violence, but with another kind of question. What is Violence when it is a tool for the revolution, for the revolts, for the changes? As I can't be nothing than pacifist, but as I am sure that today we won't change this societies with pacific demos or protests, I am really not comfortable with this question of violence as a way to fight what destruct us.


Could you tell me more about your films 21.04.02, We are wining, don’t forget and Even if she had been a criminal?

21.04.02 is one of my first works, and the first one with pictures. Before doing films, I made some art installations with personal archives. My two topics then are the intimate and the work. April 21, 2002 was the day of the first round of presidential elections in France. Then, the second candidate picked up with the right representative, was the candidate of the far right. And as it was a day closed to my birthday, friends came to my house to make me a surprise. It was a strange moment. So I decided to make an installation about this confrontation of History and Intimate. It was a double screen video installation made with a fast editing of all the images I could have at home, like a visual auto-portrait (the first screen), and with a fast accumulation of sentences about or from the far rights voters or politicians (the second screen). After that, I decided to make a single-channel film with what I used to make the first screen video.

This film was made with a really rough editing. I just put the images one after the other. But when I first play the film, I realized that on some sequences some kind of fluidity, regularity, movements appeared. Then I thought that I could use more precisely this technique of fast editing of still pictures. So I made We Are Winning, Don't Forget. This movie was about the work. I believe that the way we, or the society, represents an idea, a concept, a precise aspect of the reality is this reality itself. So if I want to know more about how contemporary societies deal with the concept of work and what is work in reality, I just have to go to Google Images and enter "work", "worker" etc. So I did those researches. And I make a film. For sure, the way I worked was not to just make a movie with the pictures I found when I entered "work" on Google. I constructed the movie in two parts: the first was about how "societies" considered the "work"; the second is how we should reclaim ourselves out of this representation.

I worked differently on Even if she had been a criminal… When I first saw those footages of the shaved women (after the Liberation of France in 1944, people shaved the hairs of the women accused of collaboration and/or having a love affaire with Germans), I was disgust. As I had then to edit those images (for another project), I saw them several times, and then I realized than is those images, there are not only the shave women, but also people around them. And those people were happy. This confrontation in the same pictures of horror and happiness hurt me. And I decided that I should do a movie about that. But I didn't do it then. I wait. Some months later, once more, I was irritated, hurt, ashamed by what happened if France. I need to make a film about what France is for me. And then, I made this movie that it not only about the shaved women but that is also a portrait of contemporary France.


Is there any special respond from audience/critic when they saw your work?

There are different kinds of audience reactions. But it is really rare when people come to discuss when they don't like a movie or the work. When people don’t like an artistic work, they rarely express it to the artist himself! Only the people who enjoyed my work talk to me about it. So I know only a part of the possible reactions!

Anyway, I could say that when I see the reactions of the youngers of the audience, the teenagers, young men and women, I feel that I spend all my time and my energy to make movie uselessly…