What they have brought

2013, video installation, loop of 2’47’’

My family fled Franco’s Spain to migrate to Algeria at the time it was a French territory. I only know this country and the story of migration which for me accompanies it, through old film footage shot by my grandfather between the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 60s. I have digitalised these images and started to use them as a material for artworks questioning my colonial European identity.

One day, as I was watching this footage, I realised that I was wearing a necklace that my mum, a little girl in the film, was also wearing. This awareness triggered a strange feeling: I had one « still » thing around my neck which had travelled and known this fantasised country. I decided to look for all the objects I saw in my grandfather films that I had today in my apartment. I found 4 of them: the necklace, the camera with which he shot, a set of cocktail glasses and the braid of my mum as a toddler, kept in a tie box. What They Have Brought is a video installation dealing with the feeling of experiencing exile through the emotional charge carried by objects.

The use of split screens allows to set up a dialogue between two natures of images: the objects as I know them in the present time and as I imagine them in the past. Through this device, I make an act of familial archaeology as objects are transformed into fossil evidence of my ancestors’ history. 

The installation has been exhibited for art contemporary event Nuit Blanche in Paris.