and they go into the space that your gaze embraces: it concerns us
2016, video HD (38 min 57 s), loop
Production : Jeu de Paume; co-production : Spectre
In order to say that something does not concern us, in French we often say “ça ne nous regarde pas”, meaning literally “it doesn’t look at us”. Here, the camera tours a detention center, the Centre de Retention Administrative Paris 1 (CRA), located on the edge of the forest of Vincennes: we see a long tracking shot, in long takes, from the viewpoint of the building hidden by the forest. On the evening of June 21, 2008, a rebellion started in this center following the death in his cell of Salem Essouli, an undocumented migrant detained in spite of his serious illness. During the rebellion, two of the CRA’s annexes were burned down by the “detainees.” But none of this could be visually documented from the outside. What we see here, therefore, is our impossibility of seeing what happened—or what is still happening, since another revolt occurred recently, on July 1, 2016—even though this concerns us (or “looks at us”) both ethically and politically.