Winter issue « Un coup de dés

Un coup de dés


Notes on the films of Claudio Zulian

Jeu de Paume is a centre d’art renowned for its exhibitions of photography and new media art. Its exhibitions, film cycles, publications and seminars are guided by a strongly transversal approach to the exploration of visual culture. In October 2013, Claudio Zulian will be showing his films there, including his latest project, "Power No Power", produced by Jeu de Paume. Here, film critic Antoine Thirion analyzes the director’s strategies of creative participation in relation to the concerns explored in his work: authority, emancipation, social transformation and power.


In 1967 the Canadian National Film Board launched “Challenge for Change/Société Nouvelle,” a scheme in which cinema was to be used to help improve communication between the state and the country’s more marginalised communities. Films would be made on a participative basis, then shown to those concerned in order to facilitate discussion. Documentary cinema was conceived here not just as a tool for locating and signalling social problems, but also as an active process that would have an impact on their resolution.

One of the first projects was organised on Fogo Island, off the north-east coast of Newfoundland. The severity of the recession was forcing the islanders to come to the mainland. Struck by the demoralisation there, Canadian director Colin Low made 27 films recording the words of the fishermen and showing scenes from everyday life. Low got the inhabitants involved in making the films, as actors, interlocutors and editors, rather than as simple witnesses. Public screenings helped institute a dialogue with the government.

In the end, the fishermen formed a cooperative to manage their profits and prosperity returned. The “Fogo Process” became a model for subsequent undertakings using cinema as a tool of social development, and the number of these multiplied with the availability of video. It instituted a change that documentary film-maker John Grierson summed up as the shift from “films made about people to films made with people.” However, Colin Low did not think his films had any cinematographic power. For him they were just politically effective. The exception was Children of Fogo Islands, which was perhaps the only one that fully substituted poetic quality for the imperatives of communication in its observation of children playing and building, as the best possible embodiment of hopes for the future.


In the diary that he kept for Jeu de Paume’s online magazine during the making of his latest film, Power No Power, with students at a school in Aulnay-sous-Bois, Claudio Zulian used a term which has no real equivalent in French: “Power No Power is a work around power but also an act of empowerment of a group of youngsters who, because of their social destiny, have only very little power.” This notion derives from the field of social development. Introduced in Quebec in the 1960s, and contemporaneous with the Fogo Process, it designates a process whereby an individual or group achieves emancipation by creating communities of interest and strengthening its capacity for action.

In a sense, Zulian’s work issues from this history of documentary filmmaking in which the Fogo Process represents such a crucial stage. First of all, because it organises the transferral of power from the filmmaker to the subject, completing a long process of development in anthropological filmmaking in which the director strove to understand and actually adopt the viewpoint of the host communities, to the point of wanting them to hold the camera – Jean Rouch called this “shared anthropology.” Secondly, this episode marks recognition of cinema’s social utility. Of course, this does not mean saying that a film can have a direct impact in the resolution of political problems, rather that the image opens up a symbolic space that each community must seek to construct for itself by appropriating the tools needed for self-realisation.

Zulian’s work is dedicated to inventing strategies of participative creation. Cinema is only one of the possible forms taken by a process that also takes him to video or photographic installations, theatre or books. Today, his work is organised in two main series, one concerning identification with place, and the other, more recent one with the imaginary of power among teenagers. For any given project, there will usually be a version for the theatre and another on simultaneous screens. What does not vary is the method, based on local investigation and exploration, the invention of participative processes, and the increasing delegation of authority for making the work to the people concerned.

In 1998, Zulian was contacted by a psychiatrist in Carmel who asked him to come and meet a community association in this poor neighbourhood on a hill overlooking Barcelona, where, under Franco, housing was chaotically put up during the 1960s and 70s. In 2003 Zulian conceived Visions del Carmel, an installation consisting of photographs meticulously conceived and laid out by the subjects – the disabled, schoolchildren, teenagers – which was then exhibited in galleries and museums but also on the city walls. This experiment in appropriation of the image by those usually excluded from it gave Zulian the idea of reproducing the event every year, “like a fête.” In 2004 he made Miradas estrañas with a group of teenagers who had been photographed in Visions del Carmel, and had come up with a fiction film scenario for the photographs.

This script, grounded in the life and aspirations of the teenagers, is a story of thwarted initiation. It recounts how two local youths try to get away from the almost atavistic violence of their home territory. Infused with the violence of crime or mob movies, the drama is acted out by the authors themselves. Zulian wanted to introduce the film with a short prologue: “This is the discussion we had with the educators. I argued for a classic idea of catharsis in which it is the representation that does the work, not the thing represented. I therefore felt that it was vital to stick to what the adolescents wanted to represent. The relation between fiction and reality is never given, it is always problematic. Representation always implies a choice, strategies. The fact of inserting snatches of the discussion that preceded the creative work is a Brechtian way of problematising what we are about to see.”

At Carmel, Zulian has worked constantly to explore and describe the physical and symbolic sites. After Miradas estrañas he made the full-length film A través del Carmel, conducting a visit in one virtuosic and carefully planned sequence shot in which the camera moves as if it had the dream-like power to go through walls, going from streets to apartments and from interiors to sweeping panoramas. This fantasy disappearance of walls is more than just architectural; it also provides access to the thoughts of the individuals, which can be heard in the movement of this exploration, overlapping and dovetailing and instituting an ideal space in which there is communication within this pensiveness that the artist requires from each participant.

The project has a twofold existence, as both a collective experience and an artistic creation, a festive moment and a pensive one; as a secular procession which invites its celebrants to look both back and forward, and as a train which embodies the passing of time by offering both a view of the past and a movement towards the future. A través del Carmel reprises and radicalises a method adopted two years earlier in Meurchin, a mining town of the Pas-de-Calais region. L’Avenir (“The Future”) is a sequence of visits to local inhabitants, starting with the poorest houses and ending up with the wealthiest, and taking in meeting places for associations, cafés and the mayor’s office, while their commentaries can be heard on the sound track. “For L’Avenir, we organised meetings with groups. My idea was to create photographic moments with the moving image, in order to see the context, not just the faces and persons. I told them to act as if I was taking a photo, apart from the fact that I would be moving around with the camera.”

A text by anthropologist Saskia Cousin relates the different incidents that occurred during the presentation of the film, a long way from the cordial, unifying communication of the Fogo Process. The point was that, in the tradition of cinéma vérité, Zulian’s directing was not about painting the desired image – the promoter’s image – but about questioning this desire in the context in which it came into being. The individuals spoken to really opened up about their hopes and questions, their joys and problems. But it is impossible not to be aware of the sensorial fabric these images emerge from, the shared space where they arise and collapse. It is impossible to conceive of the future without seeing the History this territory comes from. This is again the task taken on by the documentary 2031/2111.

Saskia Cousin shows clearly that, more than the opinions expressed here, it is the formal choices that disappointed some of the inhabitants: not only the black and white fixity, but the backwards movement of the camera: “I had the idea of relating this movement to what Walter Benjamin says in the ninth of his theses “On the Philosophy of History.” Benjamin interprets a painting by Paul Klee showing on angel with open wings, seeing him as the angel of history: behind him the angel sees mountains of corpses, and he would like to stop and gather the dead and bury them, but the wind is driving him towards paradise: this storm is progress. It’s a very powerful image which calls into question the concepts of progress and History.” Thus, Zulian is constantly digging into this desire that everyone wants from him, but without giving it concrete form in the kind of beautiful, empty image in which power would like to see itself represented. Zulian can envisage the collectively desired transformation only by re-posing the question of time at the point at which it seems to have stopped, where the question of the future is persistently raised and does not lead to any kind of revolution.

Whether the image of the place is drab or flashy, that is not really Zulian’s decision. Ultimately he fits in with the commonly accepted representations of the place in order to set up an interplay. This logic is pushed to extremes in Después de la violencia, where adolescents steeped in a strange light occupy the courtyards of apartment blocks, pose in the corridors of rundown housing, in which philosophers, sociologists and aestheticians analyse the causes and foundations of violence, while the montage creates disjunctions and desynchronisations, building a world of partitions which undermines stereotypes and expert opinion alike.

Just as the adoption of the common image of the place is the premise in a game between the real and the symbolic, so Zulian refers to the imaginary of the persons he is cooperating with in order to establish a shared territory: “Naturally, I am interested in what the media or genre movies produce as a repertoire of shared signs and images: this community is necessary when it comes to establishing a dialogue about representation.” His two most recent films, No será lo mismo (2011) and Power No Power (2013), use the same operating principle: the screenplay is generated by research groups who work on the way adolescents in problem neighbourhoods imagine their lives and try to take on the trappings of power. This produces a whole set of effects of distance – between the actor and the character, between real territories and symbolic ones, local and globalised ones, in which the context is revealed only in the time in which the subjects are exploring their imaginary.

But what differentiates the two films has to do with the relation that develops between the camera and the actors. In the first film, the characters are given over-size clothes which, while they play at being powerful property developers, ironically underscore the ineffectiveness of their acting. In Power No Power, on the other hand, the imaginary is a game that the actors fully take over, and the camera captures the overflowing vivacity of a performance that it cannot contain. “In my other films the directing was inch by inch. Here I tried to limit myself to giving precise instructions to the cameramen about how the camera should behave in relation to the field: the desire to capture the subjects, the logic of control and spatial exploration, imitating the movement of little drones or flies. But if, for example, the camera came in a long time before the planned scene began, it had to stay there, staring into the void, for it is impossible to have total control and the subjects won’t let themselves be hemmed in like that.”

The achievement of Power No Power is to have managed to transform the symbolic space of its actors into a concrete environment by taking teenagers to shoot in the abandoned rooms and corridors of the LTC post-production facilities in Saint-Cloud, which are slated for demolition. These places, corridors, junk rooms, these insignificant metal basements, are vaguely reminiscent as much of simple stairwells in dilapidated buildings as of the makeshift sets of the TV series (24h) that the adolescents tried to imitate by imagining hostage-taking, forceful liberations and speeches to the nation made by kidnapped politicians from some bleak basement. These adolescents’ capacity for play was manifestly liberated by the ruin-like appearance of the site, in which each vestige – the files, reels of film, etc. – inspired ideas for scenes which they immediately went about staging. The children did not try to imitate: they really were living out their imaginings by acting.

The radical seriousness of their acting recalls Zéro de conduite by Jean Vigo, and while the result is a long way from the fictions they are aiming at, they do project a higher idea in which the imaginary takes possession of minds, where the image is the place of their revelation, where the word is connected directly to the image, continuing the tradition of Jean Rouch’s Maîtres fous and of other artists and filmmakers who work with techniques of reenactment, or historical reconstitution through performance, such as Rithy Panh (S21, La Machine de mort Khmère Rouge), Jeremy Deller (The Battle of Orgreave) and Narimane Mari (Loubia Hamra). Here, the teenagers do not behave as the victims of a colonising and repressive imaginary, but reformulate it at will, replaying it like an old fable, fully engaged with the sensible.

Antoine Thirion, film critic, September 2013

Film critic Antoine Thiron was a member of the editorial board of Cahiers du Cinéma from 2000 to 2009. He is the cofounder and director (with Eugenio Renzi) of the journal Independencia and is involved with the creation of the company of the same name. He was the curator (with Danièle Hibon) of the James Benning retrospective at Jeu de Paume in 2009.

The quotations are taken from an interview with Claudio Zulian given in August 2013.


Further reading:
Cycle “Histoires d’avenir. Films et vidéos de Claudio Zulian” at Jeu de Paume
Video interview of Claudio Zulian on Jeu de Paume’s online magazine






The invitation to rearrange the contents of this web-based collection, reminds me of the passing down of a great Naga necklace. As if each slideshow, web-performance, video, text, or audio work, were loosened from a cotton thread, and laid out on a taut cloth, like carved white conch shells, brass bells, red carnelian, bone, and blue-green glass beads, waiting to be newly strung. As I read and listened through the contents, I began to dream of jewelry setters. And so here I tell, if you wish, a decentralizing story; not decentralized, but one whose claim has the capacity to make the centre, come to seem estranged.

After crossing an arc, at the eastern edge of India, is a hill region bordering Bangladesh, China, Southern Tibet, and Myanmar. Among the states of this area, is exquisite and troubled Nagaland, with its innumerable cultures, united under the word ‘Naga’ and yet with communities, each with differing and exceedingly democratic models of government, and different material culture. Its worldviews that have the potential to open new ways of thinking about art are preserved in fragments of remaining material culture after the onslaught of proselytism and modernization. Among them is the philosophical linking of ornament with society and individual ethics. In ancient times, and still practiced by the conceptual works of the artist Veswuzo Phesao, is the right to decorate one’s bodies, clothing, or one’s home, based on a system of being able to calibrate individual merit as value: which was always somehow, value earned within a community, through codified rituals of generosity. Status came from having always individually earned it. A warrior, or one who fed his surplus crops to the village, these were the terms under which one was given permission to decorate one’s home. After passing on, one’s children could not inherit the ornamentation; they again would have to individually earn the right from society.

Over 2007 and 2008, I spent time in this region, writing about its contemporary art, and have been going back ever since. Hekali Zhimomi, the then director of a government-run art centre, the North East Zone Cultural Centre, told me of her own research into jewelry and value. In Ao Naga culture, she explained that when a work of jewelry is passed down, or purchased, before buying it, the new wearer must hear all the stories and merits of its first maker and past owners. It is through their personality and deeds that the work of jewelry could accumulate value. The work of jewelry has ethical provenance. And the character of its past wearers, is a strong determiner of its value, translatable into a shop price, but in reality a contemporary oral tradition of storytelling in continuance – where a graduate degree may be a new determiner of social achievement. For the Naga communities, jewelry – like all aesthetic and ritual – has been over time coded, eroded and re-coded.

It is a lens and a trope through which to perhaps read the particular form of value, in the efforts of such a website – to hold together the fifty centres d’art contemporain across France in one light website: whose entries are arranged by center, by author, or by the materiality of response. The series, and resetting of the series, gives the impression that there are also infinite subjective arrangements possible. The invitation to four editors from far-flung parts of the world, to restructure the contents of the website, with a new editorial over the course of four seasons, implies a seriality ricocheting within the content, like a musician within the set notes of a raag.

But our carnelians and glass beads here, as the first stringers would tell us, are the many turns of the die, an encounter with an idea and its potential. In this sense, what has accrued, are the ideas. The rituals of handing down jewelry, something always a little intimate and formal together – have the weight of history; at least of those small histories of people in the air. As if all those souls were summoned to the jewelry box. Conch shells, carnelian and glass beads remind me of ways of approaching biography and the lives of artists, of pedagogy and the ways we have of passing through and accruing knowledge, and the many ways of approaching value. But in focusing on biography, there is a ringing sense of missing colours and beads. I cannot speak out here for all that is absent, yet perhaps we could leave space in the necklace for all those ideas that come from biographies of differance, still to be strung in the centres d’art. With this thought, I pass this necklace on to my colleague, and friend, across the Nagaland border…

* * *


1. Inheriting ideas

Presented by the Centre d’art contemporain de Brétigny, Matthieu Saladin writes a text to accompany an exceptional sound score made in 1968, ‘LIKE A CLOUD HANGING IN THE SKY?’ by the group AMM. The group in turn had made this work in response to a prose work, ‘Sextet: The Tiger’s Mind’, by one of its members, Cornelius Cardew. What is key to my own arrangement, is the way Saladin’s text approaches artistic inheritance. In Saladin’s own writerly and artistic engagement with a double inheritance of the two works, he emphasises how ‘Like a Cloud’ was not a performance of ‘The Tiger’s Mind’, but an engagement with it, through new experimentation.

Emmanuelle Pagano’s ‘NIGHT-LIGHT’, at Espace de l’art concret is a writing experiment. It is a novelist’s selection of works from the Albers-Honegger Collection that performs a similar function in re-stringing works, by new criteria. These objects handed down to us – works of glass, a globe of light – are given emotional life, through the biographic form of storytelling, by which he links the defiance of gravity by an astronaut, with that of the glass blower.

“I am a glass blower, like my father, like my grandfather, my great grandfather. I love working with glass, it becomes full of life under heat. From this magic material it’s possible to make so many things, endlessly fashion it, give it any shape. One only has to stop it from yielding to gravity, Earth’s crushing call. In our family we have been defying gravity for several generations…When younger I wanted to be completely free from it, from gravity, I wanted to become an astronaut.”


2. Glass beads and the oral tradition
‘Glass does not forget anything.’

It is Thomas Golsenne who writes in his text about the relationship between the artist and the technician, called ‘THE HEART AND SOUL OF GLASSWORKING’ written for CIRVA – Centre international de recherche sur le verre et les arts plastiques:

“However, in music, the difference is that, if the musician plays a wrong note, he can always make up for it with the following note, whereas, in glass-blowing, it is impossible to make up for mistakes: everything has to be perfect from the moment when the glass is gathered in a furnace to the time when it is placed in another, less hot furnace, to allow it to cool. Glass does not forget anything.”

Nicolas Floc’h writes with beauty in ‘DEEP IN THE HEART OF THE SUBJECT’ for Centre d’art Le Pavé dans la Mare. In his writing, the glass becomes the material of philosophy. In a passage he compares glass with wine-making, referring to the passing down of technique, of knowledge, and ideas. “The secret of the process probably owes… also to a human chain of know-how and knowledge involved from grape-harvesting to the wine-making process.”

The oral tradition is in continuance, within contemporary art. In this case he also talks about the technicians being the ones to carry down the knowledge they have of glass, to the next artist entering the studio. To the triangles made between artist, audience and curator or institution, is the welcome addition by Golsenne of the role of the technician:

The artist “discovers the enormous furnaces, which give off air so hot that it makes the lamps swing, hanging from the ceiling several metres above. He discovers the material and its different states: small white beads (pellets) at the beginning, then a soft red-hot mass when it is gathered in the furnace and handled with the blow tube, and finally a solid, transparent volume when it has cooled down. He especially discovers these characters, these masters of the art of glassmaking, who have given everything for their passion, who hold all the secrets of the technique, and who are nevertheless there, simple and modest, listening to his words, wishing to please him, ready to go with him on a journey to the unknown in this future project.”


3. Questioning the biographic voice

Aymeric Ebrard, uses an alacrity of visual and aural description, in an autobiographical narrative, to capture being split: in this case, between two different residencies, in Lithuania and Morocco, intercut with each other in close succession. The text is a double view, titled with the cinematic ‘The Kuletchov effect’, suggesting something else arises from the combined meaning of two vivid and dissimilar images. What it captures, is for me, a form of writing in whose own poetry is wrapped a deeply clear, political voice. Take this sentence on Saïdia, at the Moroccan-Algerian border: “On either side, the run-down buildings would prance their social housing pealing volumes next to the camp pavilions owned by the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports.” Ebrard writes within ‘MODELS OF PRODUCTION’, at Centre d’art bastille. I am reminded, in my own insistence in listening for the first person, poetic voices, of Helene Cixous’ writing, and many others – that taut, crystal, political gleaning that accompanies each double-entendre.

‘I AM ALL WORDS’ is an extraordinary work by Adva Zakai, using the medium of a website, to convey her own métier, choreography. The curator of Le Quartier, Centre d’art contemporain de Quimper has written, “I’m now inviting you to pursue the project of ‘becoming an art centre’, but within the virtual space of Internet.” In an imaginatively intimate form of address, Zakai uses the first person, or the biographic approach, to tell the audience, the immediate precedents of where they are and what they are viewing, “opening is a solo where you stand on a table in a corner of the exhibition space. Your hands touch the walls, and very slowly you raise one leg. While you’re trying to keep a balance, you tell a story which could be your biography, the history of the space or the story of the director.”

In a series of letters, Guillaume Pinard and David Evrard discuss themselves, their own personalities, in ‘NOBODY CAN ESCAPE ART’ for Maison des Arts Georges Pompidou. From their lively writing, we hear a self-reflexive discussion of value and consumerism, gift-exchange, and collecting.

The director of La Galerie – Centre d’art contemporain de Noisy-le-Sec, Emilie Renard, corresponds with the art critic Sinziana Ravini in ‘DEAR SINZIANA V. DEAR EMILIE’.

These exchanges, seem to speak directly to the problematics posed by the necklace. Their exchanges question the biographic approach, the biography of the artist as a value within the reading of the work, and on gift-giving exchanges and translations between value systems. In candid writing, they analyse and reflect on the use of the first person as a fictional device, or as an autobiographical style, which they comment on as different to the “theoreticians from October”; a style that runs at odds perhaps with a scientific analysis of artworks. “Now I think the big issue of our time is the complete opposite of all that, the need to reclaim art discourse for the emotional domain, that mysterious theatre of the unconscious that’s there whether we like it or not. But to do that you have to be ready to expose yourself, lose your way, make mistakes and most of all, exaggerate.”

From this perspective, is also Aurélien Mole’s use of a futuristic, exaggerated, biographical voice in ‘HIATUS’ written for Parc Saint Léger.

“Based on the documents and oral sources that I collect from the area surrounding the Parc Saint Léger, I am virtually able to reconstitute what the art centre’s whole programme had been, both inside and outside of its walls. Other historians will use this information to extrapolate a sense of what cultural life was like in Europe between 2000 and 2075, and thus attempt to rewrite history from its margins.”

Jean-Pierre Cometti’s ‘BUT THE MAIN PROBLEM LIES ELSEWHERE…’ is a beautifully written work for  Centre national d’art contemporain de la Villa Arson. Cometti writes revealingly, of how art needs to be located within context – what he sums up productively as “when is art?”

“The difference with what we usually call “experimentation”, for example in science, is that this kind of approach is not directly geared towards producing knowledge; but this does not in any way signify that they don’t pertain to knowledge. One can easily be convinced of this. In science and in philosophy, we have what are called “thought experiments”. A thought experiment means introducing an unrealized (counterfactual) possibility in the reasoning process, and estimating its consequences were it to be realized. This type of approach makes it possible to open up the concept of knowledge and to enrich it by allowing for wider and more inclusive forms of understanding. This is the privilege of fiction, and also of art.”


4. Valuing the political voice

“Even if I think that art is all about context (does not exist outside a certain place, a certain time, a certain onlooker) and all about audience (it is in relation to the audience the artist determines what has to be done), I think art is also all about the intention of an individual, the artist” writes Dora Garcia in “I UNDERSTAND MY ACTIVITY AS A RESEARCH” for 3 bis F – centre d’art contemporain. She gives the example of “The Beggars Opera” 2007, which she defined as “theater play in real time and public space”- for Münster Sculpture Projects.

“In this work, I created a tool to dismantle the conventions of art in public space…The work consisted of a character, Charles Filch, a secondary character from the Bertolt Brecht play and novel The Three Penny Opera, which “came alive” in Münster and became a citizen of the streets of Münster during the three months of the exhibition. It had all the qualities one should ask of an artwork in public space (existed in public space, changed the perception of it), and at the same time it was obviously a person- personnage and to reduce it to the condition of a number on an outdoor sculpture map was absurd.”

The most art historical of all the texts, is possibly, that of Gilles Drouault, who recalls brilliantly in the video, ‘THE WITNESSES’ at Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac, an exhibition of particular value to him, and he explains generously why. To him, this exhibition on industrialisation in the last century; was pertinent to its location in an once billowing industrial town of Ivry. Intrigued at how film and industry developed at the same time; he conjectures, that what has been most compelling about the 20th century, has been the development of the industrial world and the worker; premising that what was siginificant to the 20th century in particular was the worker as an individual with rights, worker’s strikes, as capable of forming trade unions. One of the achievements of the Western European system has indeed been the welfare of workers.


5. Necklace of strategies

The political subject matter in Alexandre and Florentine Lamarche-Ovize in ‘LAMARCHE-OVIZE, A COLLABORATION PROJECT’ for Micro-Onde, centre d’art de l’Onde, show a work dealing with women’s prisons. Antoine Marchand in ‘LET’S MEET IN TROYES, AUBE’ at Centre d’art contemporain / Passages, discusses being invited to devise ways to dispose of nuclear waste, and the ability of an artist to respond, or give value, to such a residency. Fabien Faure in ‘THE TIME OF SITE’ at CAIRN, centre d’art, writes of mining and its relationship to land art. Yet, there is also political strategy latent in the writings, for example, of Olivier BossCentre rhénan d’art contemporain, has a moment, where so as not to be surveilled, by the number of webcameras one takes in the subway, is suddenly a face, painted like the dazzle-pattern used in submarines during the First World War. It gives a moment to delve underwater and dip into art history, as something actively working as strategies in a politicized world – if one thinks of cinema, then terrifyingly and increasingly used today. In another discussion of cinematic effect, ‘EMPOWERMENT’, at Jeu de Paume, Antoine Thirion a critic, responds to an artist Claudio Zulian, who has been using cinema as a political tool, using historical re-enactments, and repetition as a strategy. I end this arrangement, with a performance: Emma Dusong makes the web-performnace ‘DOOR’ for Centre régional d’art contemporain Languedoc-Roussillon.


Zasha Colah
February, Bombay



Bolstered by its success and visibility, uncoupdedé is restarting and subjecting existing content to new voices. In 2014 and 2015, several personalities from outside France will be asked to become our editorial writers for one season. Their task will be to place the contents of the whole magazine in perspective, presenting them differently through the prism of their subjectivity and their own work contexts. Catalina Lozano (Colombia), Zasha Colah (India), Moe Satt (Myanmar) and Manuela Moscoso (Brazil): each guest editor will reformulate the actions of the centres d’art, various aspects of which they will have been able to perceive through the magazine. Each editor-in-chief will “roll off” a cross-cutting text, presenting an original re-examination of the resolutely fluid geography of the centres d’art. uncoupdedé repeats the challenge from the poet Mallarmé, resurrected in the cinematographic art of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet (Every Revolution is a Roll of the Dice, 1977). The guest editors, coming from a variety of disciplines, will widen the circle of expression even more. Choral and fragmentary, uncoupdedé takes just as much after puzzles as it does after memories, and naturally calls for cut-outs of every kind…


(Bombay, India)

Zasha Colah co-founded ‘blackrice’ in 2008 in Nagaland, and the Clark House Initiative in Bombay in 2010, after studying art history at Oxford University and curatorial studies at the RCA, London. She was the curator of modern Indian art at the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation at the CSMVS museum (2008- 2011), and was head of Public Programs at the National Gallery of Modern Art (2004-2005) in Mumbai. In 2012 she co-edited ‘In Search of Vanished Blood’ a monograph on artist Nalini Malani for documenta 13, and she curated two exhibitions of Burmese art, ‘Yay-Zeq: Two Burmese Artists Meet Again’ at ISCP New York and ‘I C U JEST’ in Kochi.