So I don’t really know sometimes if it’s because of culture

Installation of sound, 2 synchronized video projections and 2 single-channel videos on monitors, 2012

Screen view

Commissioned for the Marrakech Biennale, it is a project to explore the notion of diasporas, intersected at the urban context of Hong Kong and reflected with post-colonial perspective and internationalism in a multi-layered reflexive narrative.

The audio-visual installation is a dialogue constructed with two separate interviews with two anonymous Moroccan women who lived in Hong Kong, one Moroccan-born and one French-born, about their relations with the places where they lived and came from. Carefully transcribed, edited and re-arranged from the interviews, two monologues were written based on the interviewees’ original wording and recited by two Hong Kong-based French male artists, Laurent Gutierrez of Map Office (b. 1966, Morocco) and Cédric Maridet (b. 1973, France). These monologues in English were edited into a dialogue and as voiceover of two synchronized video projections of Hong Kong’s Victoria harbour and peak overlaid with the Arabic translation.

Both Gutierrez and Maridet were also interviewed on their personal artistic career in Hong Kong. A monologue script was produced together with Leung and was read in front of the camera by the interviewee in their own voice in French with English subtitle and the videos were played with two separate digital screens/monitors with headsets.

Watch videos at http://www.ibraaz.org/projects/92

Screen view

Laurent Gutierrez

Video still

Cedric Maridet
Video still

Excerpts from the scripts of the main video projection:

I was born in Paris.

I was born in Casablanca.

My mother… actually she's Arab. And my father is Berber.
They were from Beni-Melal, which is not very far from Marrakech.

My mother’s family is more for Algeria, and my grandfather was born in Algeria but went to Morocco and lived in Morocco. My mom was born in Morocco but in their mind they’re more Algerian.

….

And when I went there and discovered on my own, I was like… this is also! I mean, people are quite free also. You're not obliged to do this or that. Actually, I realized that it wasn't that traditionally closed.

Okay there is one very big change in Morocco, which is the condition of the woman. The woman has much more rights then before, that is true. Hmmm, we can now divorce, we have a real position in the society, more rights which was not the case maybe fifteen years ago and this is a real change. But, I don’t know, I don’t feel that the people are that open-minded, even if they go abroad, when they come back they are very traditional in the way they take. Maybe that is the identity…

….

You know the market… there is a big crisis in Europe, in architecture, construction…. Very big! And they said: “Okay we need to open the market to Asia, let’s see how it can go”. So they proposed it to me, knowing that we didn’t have any office, any clients. So I came here as adventure and trying to set up something.

So that’s why we are here and I told him, “We cannot… hmm…, we will have regrets if we don’t take the chance. We don’t know Asia, we don’t know this part of the world.” When I came here I knew nothing about Hong Kong.

Well, at the beginning it was really tough because I didn’t know anybody…

Asia… In my mind I just had Japanese picture and I told everyone that Asia was like Japanese and I was very surprised when I arrived in Hong Kong. But anyway, it’s okay, hmm, when we knew we were leaving for Hong Kong, I didn’t try to know more before leaving. I said,” Let’s go and we will see how it goes.”

….

When I speak to a staff I have, Chinese, she’s very shy and..., every time I maybe explain her even in Spain, for example, we have some beer for lunch or we have wine, (she would respond) “Yeeeh!.. No, it’s not good.” You know, so it’s difficult to communicate with somebody that maybe from the beginning, tells you a lot: “Here, it’s like this and I don’t understand the other.” I respect that but it’s just the difference in the attitude.

But honestly I prefer that because I feel that’s much more honest than the false warm, I mean… you see what I mean? Because it’s not always sincere in Morocco, people look warm but they’re not that warm, a lot of hypocrites.

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Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation plan