Latifa Laâbissi — Self Portrait Camouflage
Self Portrait Camouflage
Past: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 8 PM
“Between the first World Fair in 1855 to the Colonial Fair of 1937, France produced eleven different events, whose exceptional quality and renown brought them to export similar work abroad, giving their audiences ample occasion to applaud these rich spectacles revealing the splendors of its colonial Empire. Men, women and children were the object of curious attractions… In the year 2008, Marianne carries out her own investigation in these areas haunted by the phantoms of the Republic’s greatest expositions. Not to worry, between the cannibals and the young Polynesian women — full integration is guaranteed.”
“In a white device, an overexposed body. Naked silhouette, no chance to escape being seen. A gendered flesh relief, contracted, including an image that is slowly covered over by other images, like so many symbolic dressings. Latifa Laâbissi proffers a journey with this figure loaded with points of contention and discordant designs. A crossing, to weave together the areas of shadow where we invent ourselves; drawing connections — between the ghosts of a social imagination that is always present and the subjective knot of how they are to be created. Dancer. Woman. Arab. In France. Her body stretched into a grimacing mirror. Self Portrait Camouflage: the paradox of the title rings true with a double-edged strategy. Reveal and cover, like two faces of the same motion: capturing an impossible image — that has already been captured by other stories, other discourses, other representations. How is the difference created? And how can we reveal the frameworks that have put it into play? Through a figure that comes with its people, made up of others, Latifa Laâbissi shows and breaks down political production — its social, sexual and cultural boundaries. She draws a map complete with flag, face, voice — a portrait of an otherness for which camouflage also serves as a decoding operation. Symbols found at the site of the trouble roll by, passed through the filter, misrepresented and subverted, through laughter and her grimace. Voices murmur — the voices of a present that continues to hum the same old tune about the threat of the foreigner. And the voice of the mute, the voiceless, the disrespected, the ones with fingers pointed at them. With these words, and in this body, the possibility for a reversal is created, from within the very signs layered one over the other, the tragic or comic masks that cover a face. A choreography of social forms, a carnival in which our viewpoints have their blindness highlighted, revealed as the constructions they are, palimpsests. Like Marguerite Yourcenar’s character who “was seen seeing”, we see the blind spot appear: the imaginary basis from which we see; and the troubling foreignness that comes through our reflection in the mirror.”
Conceived and directed by Latifa Laâbissi. Set design: Nadia Lauro. Dramaturgy: Christophe Wavelet. Sound design: Olivier Renouf. Light: Yannick Fouassier. Costumes: Latifa Laâbissi and Nadia Lauro. Production: association ORO & Latitudes Prod- Lille. Coproduction: Les Spectacles vivants — Centre Pompidou — Centre Chorégraphique National de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon — Centre National de Danse Contemporaine Angers.
In conjunction with:
Latifa Laâbissi — Desfigures toxiques
December 9 → 13, 2013
Desfigures toxiques is based on the work of Latifa Laâbissi and a permanent research group set up in 2012 that came together with the aim of reflecting on aesthetic strategies developed in the field of art (particularly in France) in order to transform visual habits inherited from colonialism and what followed it.
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