21 SEPTEMBER 2023, A SPECIAL DAY FOR ME… 🎉
10 years ago I was stuck in an administrative 9 to 5 day-job.
As someone inspired by films, I always had in mind this sequence of L’auberge espagnole (Pot Luck) by Cédric Klapisch, in which the young Xavier quits his secure job at the French Finance Department by running out of the impressive building.
10 years ago today, I did it.
I ran away from a meeting. Never turned back. Never returned. I am so proud I dit it.
On that day, I did not know exactly where I was going but I knew that I was eager to do art and to teach it.
I wanted to have my films selected in very prestigious film festivals,
I wanted to be represented by a well-known gallery,
I wanted to have a part-time tenured track position in a university.
This hasn’t happen YET.
Since that special day…
I directed films, including a feature film, that have been selected in festivals worldwide.
I have been invited to present my work in art venues in several countries.
I passed a PhD by practice in Film Studies with no corrections and taught in excellent universities.
In other words, I am NEARLY there!
If you happen to read these lines and think you can help me by ANY MEANS to reach these goals or to get even closer to them, contact me.
PS: if this inspires you, watch here the performance that I did at the Swedish art academy about this last Spring.
Film Presentation with Awa Moctar Gueye at Oxford Narratives of Migration Conference Friday 16 June
Next exhibition at the ID:I Gallery Stockholm, from the 27 May 2023
Next exhibition at the Sergels Torg Outdoor Gallery, Stockholm, from the 10 May 2023
New Imaginaries of Migration webinar #4
Sound As Unveiler | 12 May 2023 |12.30 – 14 pm GMT
Come and see the film Is It A True Storytelling by Clio Simon at Maison Française of Oxford
| 12 May 2023 |8 pm GMT
New Imaginaries of Migration webinar #3
The Individual And The Collective | 7 March 2023 |12.30 – 14 pm GMT
Come and see the film Un Tipo Strano by Samuel Gratacap at Maison Française of Oxford
| 7 March 2023 |8 pm GMT
New Imaginaries of Migration webinar #2
The Aesthetics of Withdrawal | 8 November 2022 |12.30 – 14 pm GMT
Come and see the exhibition Sangatte, the hangar with photographs by Jacqueline Salmon and Places of Absence, a film by Melanie Pereira at Maison Française of Oxford
‘By a thread. The space left to activism when fashion deals with the refugee ‘crisis » now published in Visual Activism in the 21st Century. Art, Protest and Resistance in an Uncertain World, London, Bloomsbury
Launch of the exhibition on 29 April at 6.30pm
New Imaginaries of Migration webinar #1
To Multiply the Angles | 30 May 2022 |1 – 2.30 pm GMT
Next public presentation at:
Stockholm Institute of Media Studies – Higher Seminar – 17 March 2022 | 10.00-12.00 CEST
Now affiliated to Maison Française of Oxford as a Visiting Researcher in Film StudiesDr. Elsa Gomis – Maison Française of Oxford
Next public presentation at:
Beautiful Images, Contentious Politics: Visual Modes and Representation – Oxford Migration and Mobility Network – 15 February 2022 | 12.00-13.15 GMT | zoom
By considering how (im)mobility is captured and expressed via several media–including film, photography, apps involving virtual reality, and data visualization–this event aims to foreground how beauty matters for public understandings, and what consequences this may have for societies, culture, and politics.
I am delighted to announce that I am now working as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at Oxford Department of Politics and International Relations 🌍
My doctoral project in Film Studies The People Behind the Scenes. Changing the Collective Imaginary of Migration in the Mediterranean passed with no corrections!
I feel blessed for having such a thrilling jury and supervisory team!
18-23 October 2021
Film Screening of The People Behind The Scenes at Vilnius Atletika Gallery
X-disciplinary Congress on Artistic Research and Related Matters at Vilnius Academy of Arts (Lithuania)
14-17 October 2021
Between the magical and the sordid. Art as a funerary rite for missing migrants paper presentation at Thanatic Ethics. The Circulation of Bodies in Migratory Spaces Workshop 2
29 September – 1 October 2021
University Paul Valery Montpellier 3, The Education University of Hong Kong, Maison Française of Oxford
Live screening of What They Have Brought at Global Boderlands: Getting at the Core of Crimmigration Conference
18 September 2021
Oxford Border Criminology and CINETS University of Leiden
Forthcoming 10/07/2021 – Doing Women’s Film and Television History – Conference V
The Gomis. Investigating a woman positionality through European colonial history (1492–2015)
University of Maynooth, Ireland
The People Behind the Scenes. The place of mainstream media images in the collective imaginary of migration, screening at The Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, 20-22 April 2021
The People Behind the Scenes. The cognitive frame of cinema as a tool for migration research, paper presentation at Immigration Initiative at Harvard, 31st of March 2021
Cartographies of migration and mobility as levers of deferral policies, paper presentation at Oxford COMPAS for the 2021 IMISCOE Spring Conference, 22nd of March 2021
The article ‘Family Footage to Remediate Distance Created by Mourning’ and the video ‘Let’s Reset the Clock’ in IMG journal last issue
Co-editor of De Facto journal issue 24 Images ‘Also Migrate together’ with Perin Emel Yavuz and Francesco Zucconi
« The People Behind the Scenes » award winner of the Doc Without Borders Festival
« The People Behind the Scenes » in selection at Pinewood Studios First-Time Filmmaker Sessions
Video installation What They Have Brought on Routed Magazine‘s last issue ‘Immigrant legacies: The little things in the suitcase’
My paternal grandfather was the sweetest man. Orphaned by his mother, he was born in 1916 in Oran, Algeria, into a family of tailors. A brilliant student, he had obtained his school certificate with only one mistake on his dictation. He had forgotten an « r » in the word « carriole ». Yet, his father, who remarried two months after the death of my great grandmother could not afford to let him continue his studies. My grandfather had to join him at the workshop aged 13.
As a young man, he was sent to the front in Belgium. The Germans pushed his regiment back to the Vendée, where he was taken prisoner. With his comrades, he was transported in a livestock train designed to carry either 8 horses or 40 men. They were assembled in a first camp, in the football stadium of Dortmund, then settled in Stalag VIII in Silesia, along the Oder Neisse line, which is in present-day Poland. They spent 14 months there, in terrible conditions which his status as a tailor, made a little more bearable. At that time France had set up a network of « war godmothers », women of goodwill who were writing to soldiers prisoners who were missing a relative. My grandfather was writing to Josette Gourgeon who lived in Laval. Josette was involved in the Resistance. During one leave, she took my grandfather into the free zone with one of his comrades. Delighted to find themselves free, they met two gendarmes to whom they reported, before they understood that they were going to send them back to the Germans. They escaped again and managed to reach Algeria where they hid until the end of the war.
When Algeria gained independence in 1962, having nowhere else to go, my grandfather, who in the meantime was married and had two children, decided to follow his boss who, however, was paying him very badly. In the autumn of 1962, they were accommodated in an Électricité De France holiday camp in an old castle in which one room was allocated per family. In the summer of 1963, they found themselves in the large communal dormitories of a high school for young girls in Nancy. From Christmas 1962 to May 1963, they met in Montataire, near Creil in Oise. It was a social housing, in which each individual had a cell slightly larger than a single bed; the bathroom, kitchen, and dining room being common. He then had a Habitation à Loyer Modéré (another social housing) in Creil for two years, and on May 1st, 1965, for the first time in his life, my grandfather was housed in Aix-en-Provence, in a three-bedroom apartment with a bathroom. One of the rooms was called « the workshop ». It was there that he sewed with my grandmother, who was also a tailor.
I know this apartment, this is where he used to take me on his lap to tell me about the time of the Romans, ancient Egypt and the history with a capital H that had passed through his life. It is located in a building in a Priority Urbanization Zone, whose graffitied hall hall smelled like rat poison and whose thin walls could hardly hide noise of the neighbors.
Today, in the comfort of a pretty sunny Oxford house, I think of those who are confined to U.P.Z.s and who, as they say in the South, « se languissent » (are longing) to get out soon.
The photograph of this chestnut tree was taken by my grandfather Daniel from his workshop.
« The People Behind the Scenes » awarded at the Docs Without Borders Film Festival competition
Images of Migration/COVID-19 newsfeeds In collaboration with IRD, the research centres MIGRINTER and CEPED and the Institut Convergence Migrations in Paris, and Maison Française of Oxford