White Nights, Untold Journeys

Exhibition Master Project (2016)

Night talks are peculiar. The darkness enwraps, and creates its own intimacy and thoughtfulness. In Dostoyevsky’s ‘White Nights’, the narrator wanders through a nightly Petersburg, and meets a heart broken woman he willingly lends his ear. The story runs five consecutive nights.

The narrative as such is not my starting point, yet I do use the idea of nocturnal, emotional encounters. Irrespective of cultural context, I inquire into crucial events and intense emotions emerging from them.

The smuggled morphine came through Belgium. Kara was six when her grandfather died of diabetes. Her hero spent his last days without the agonizing pains of the gangrene. // “The Qur’an says, for men and women equally: ‘Thou should lower thy gaze’.” – I throw back: “Do you lower ‘thy gaze’ for other women?”“Of course not!” We burst out laughing. I didn’t expect any other answer, not from her. // The fear came slowly, at the fireworks on New Year’s Eve which sounds like bombing. Then panic strikes, twenty years after the village was razed. Not when Sona was thirteen. Then she was Super Woman.

Master of Photography Project, shown in the Graduation Exhibition in June 2016, KASK School of Arts in Gent, Belgium.

Technical installation :

— fifty portraits on two screens in a slow slideshow (8 min loop)
— a black and grey, silent road movie high up on a wall (9 min loop)
— the exhibition book with the transcript of all the interviews in their original language (large white text on black pages, digital print, hand bound, coptic stitch), lit by a small lamp
— audio in four loudspeakers set in the four corners, featuring fragments of interviews with long silences in between
— audio in two headphones, three war stories (about 4 min each)
— two large banners outside, at the entrance of the space

The space itself was a 8×8 m square, 4 m high, a dark curtain on one side, one door, no windows, no light.

Exhibition book with the transcript of all the interviews in their original language (digital print, hand bound, coptic stitch)

Silent road movie stills

Audio in headphone 1 : war story of Arezki, Algeria (in French, en français) — 02:08 min
Audio in headphone 2 :
• war story of Sona, Armenia (in English) — 00:00-4:56 min
• war story of Nevena, Bosnia (in English) — 4:56-07:24 min

Installation setting : screens, road movie, exhibition book, audio in headphones, portrait series