16 August 2005

In the first place

I've finally put together a selection of the pictures I took in the past year and a half.
After a careful selection, I made 3 different sets:
The first one, Beach House, shows mainly pictures from Tel-Aviv I did in July 2004. I wanted to give impressions of a city that might be underestimated (like I did for so long!) or not usually seen from these angles. There are many architectural pictures taken when I was touring the city in search for Bauhaus urban signs. Tel-Aviv which is also named The White City had just been then listed as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO for the exceptional representation of the Modern architectural movement in the city (more than a thousand buildings designed from the 30s by architects immigrating from Europe). This set includes as well pictures taken in Mali with my then dying Canon camera who served me so well for so many years.
The second set of pictures I put together is Twilight Zone. I called it that way probably because scenes in the pictures seem to come from another dimension, like the Berlinese 3D structure or the sack at the Maison Victor-Hugo by fake monkeys during the Nuit Blanche. But also, places like the Giant's Causeway are definitely unique and strange, and during our trip, my travel companions and I were blessed with an incredible outer-space-like blue sky. Or like Tokyo, which made me feel so comfortable among the crowd, among the buildings, where I was found in an unusual yet familar environment.
The third set of pictures, On The Road, starts about when the lab closed down (except for one picture which was taken at the very end of year 2004). Since then, I felt literaly on the road, traveling very often, hardly staying in Paris, my home base, more than 3 weeks in a row. I traveled for all kind of reason, to meet lover and friends, to work, to explore, but even if I had a specific reason each time, I felt like I had to move, pushed by some unidentified energy. And it doesn't seem like it's going to stop: in a few hours, I'm taking the plane to Boston where I'll stay for 2 weeks. It doesn't feel very constructive to keep doing that. But I'm not sure yet what is going to happen. In this ensemble of pictures, my favorite part is Liverpool, where probably as far as I'm concerned, it all started.

-- Joëlle.

15 August 2005

- Well, sir. Going 'ome. - Hmm? - 'Ome, sir.

The last line in Lawrence of Arabia says it all. When Lawrence looks at the bedouis taking the road on their camels as he is himself driven "home", he knows that there is no home for him anymore. Once he chose the desert and the Arabs over his own culture, how could he ever return home? He became a nomad, renouncing all attachments. And the rest of his life after the desert experience will be just about reafferming his ability to abandon something.
David Lean's movie is quite romancing what truly happened but what a brilliant romance! Each word of the script breathes intelligence. When I was 16 or 17, I got enamoured with that line in particular: "El Aurens, truly for some men nothing is written unless they write it". It's funny how little things like that can be inspiring, for so long.



-- Joëlle.

09 August 2005

Mali forgotten

Oxfam published a press release about the food crisis in Mali that is forgotten by rich countries in comparison to its neighbor, Niger.
Regions in Mali that are particularly hit are Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal which are at the limits of the desert.
Other countries at risk are Mauritania and Burkina-Faso.
I don't especially believe in charity. But it seems to be the most paliative solution at the moment.
I just wish that there'd be a different economic model in place set up by international organizations that wouldn't contribute directly to famine. That we can't avoid such a situation to happen over and over again like a natural cycle and that we expect it to happen actually like it's in the order of things is so depressing. It's clearly our collective failure. It's not just another headline. "Oh yeah, a famine in Africa, you know. Ok, let's give some money to Oxfam or Care or MSF or whatever. They'll take care of it for us. And... Next!"

02 August 2005

Tsunami hits West Africa

A huge Tsunami hit West Africa in the past months. More than three million people are facing starvation in Niger alone. Other countries hit are Mali and Mauritania.
It took more than a month for this news to reach mass media focus and to get people to respond with donations. A mismanagement of the situation by the Niger government and the UN led to an even more dramatic situation. The Medecins Sans Frontières international website published an article of The Guardian on this matter. In the meantime, money is needed to open more therapeutic nutrition centers. One that MSF opened on the 25th of June was already full two days after (it contains 150 beds).
Oxfam who also launched a $2 million appeal for the West Africa food crisis publishes on its website downloadable toolkits that explain how they work in emergencies.

-- Joëlle.