Bouchra Khalili. The Mapping Journey Project

Bouchra Khalili. The Mapping Journey Project. 2008-2011 20000

Eight-channel video (color, sound), Duration variable. Fund for the Twenty-First Century. © Bouchra Khalili. Courtesy of the artist

Bouchra Khalili: Hello, I'm Bouchra Khalili. I'm a Moroccan-French artist raised and educated between Casablanca and Paris. And I currently live between Berlin and Oslo.

The main idea is that the Mapping Journey Project naturally forms part of all of my project[s], in the sense that all of my works have in common to investigate how individuals with their own voices, with their own words try to resist arbitrary boundaries and restrictive conceptions of identity and nation-state.

There are two videos in English. Two are in Italian. Four others are in different Arabic languages but local forms and almost, dialectal forms of Arabic. For all the videos that are not in English, they will be able to read the, subtitles in English. Even before starting filming the eight videos, I knew that it would be based on one long shot with no cuts; one map; a hand holding a permanent marker -- and I insist on the fact that it is a permanent marker, as if their drawing were literally erasing the existing and arbitrary boundaries; a singular voice; and a singular trajectory.

The logic on which the project relies is somehow to, develop a sort of platform where the voice really speak for itself and, at the same time, interact organically with the image without showing anything somehow. The image is not to be seen, it is to be constructed by the viewer. I ask only a few questions, and I listen a lot. It was really about trying to find a visual form that is organically connected to the sound, to the voice, to the language. And it's the case for all of my projects involving, individuals, performing their own identity and their own story. It's a natural and simple process in the sense that it's all mixed up with life. And for a certain period of time it even becomes part of my own life in the sense that, it demands patience. It demands also somehow to be lucky.

There is no casting or preconceived profile. I'll simply meet individuals with their own singularity. And somehow what makes our collaboration possible is also that they are ready to participate in the project because they truly understand the meaning of the project. The viewer becomes -- included in that collective in the sense that the viewer also participate in the production of the project. It's not an interview at all in the sense that they speak with their own voice. And through the process we engaged with, they became the author of their own narrative.

And throughout very long conversations before filming, somehow there is a mysterious process at stake that I usually define as a form of writing without writing, in the sense that the videos are not scripted, but somehow the narratives were written without being written, in the sense that we discussed so extensively their own trajectories.

This is a space open to anyone who is aiming to engage with otherness, with the singular, but also with the universal. I think one of the reason I produce the works that I produce is simply because I truly believe that an art space, be it a museum or an art center, can be, essentially a civic space not in the sense that political art exists but simply because it is, by a sense, somehow a space for the civic because it engages with a diverse audience.

I would just invite the viewers to take their time when visiting the exhibition to draw their own journey within the installation. They will engage with difficult journeys, some of them being very violent; but all of them shows and demonstrate essential discourses and gestures of resistance.

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