By Lanah Shaï & Gérard Chauvin.
SCREEN CLOTHES is a video installation that questions us on our individual freedoms in the face of globalization. What place can an individual demand when confronted with a world order that drowns personal identity in stereotypes, and that generates in return conservative reactions and traditionalist demands for recognition?
We can see that secular powers are regaining strength, whether it be on women’s rights, discrimination towards alter-sexualities, censures put on bodies, desires, thought, and art. The old demons of moral order resurface against a world, commercial, and financial order that considers the individual as a production and consumption unit with no real identity.
The different performances shown in SCREEN CLOTHES give a voice to individualities. Whether it be the poem about the ordeal of Sahar Gül, a young Afghani woman who was tortured by her in-laws, or the one about Lanah Shaï that speaks of difficulties living with her trans-identity in a fiercely binary world, or the performances by Agnes Bttfn and Gérard Chauvin about questioning censure and the body’s place in the public sphere that is based on the permissive model of art history.
All these subjects are echoes to the violent events of our era, replacing the human element and its fundamental freedoms in the face of censure, pressure and threats. The decline of rights is never very far from the oppression of laws. From this fragile dividing line, people who are non-conformist, in the minority, or dominated can fear regressive upheaval as it often happens in periods of crisis.
Like a polyglot crowd, words, faces, and bodies express themselves by rooting out “screen clothes” like beings seeking to make their uniqueness and message known. This sample of humanity spreads their words which get lost in the collective and universal brouhaha. Clothes as a sign of membership become the screen of a more profound identity, of an individuality that expresses itself.
This installation questions us on the urgency to rethink the place of the individual that is confronted with exogenous forces who would like to define their existential legitimacy. The real, authentic and unaccompanied being, who faces the diktats of societies, thought systems, and traditions, is obliged to engage in a desperate and solitary resistance in order to exist.
The videos and poetry of this installation, on the path towards politically committed art, are a testimony and act of resistance to imposed silence, censure, prejudices and totalitarian threats… It is a little scrap of humanity at war that expresses itself in SCREEN CLOTHES, a scrap of our own humanity.
© Lanah Shaï & Gérard Chauvin, 2015 – Turbulences Vidéo #87