Je suis humain


Je suis humain
Following the visit to Musée Jeu de Paume and the shooting on Charlie Hebdo, Paris
The Jeu de Paume is a rectangular neoclassical building with many bow windows and with four columns at the front. It is really a classical indoor tennis court; Jeu de Paume. There are three exhibitions, photographs and film. The New Yorker Taryn Simon (1975) is showing larger photos, in colour. What strikes me the most are the portraits of convicts who have been wrongly imprisoned for many years. There are poignant pictures of crime scenes. Black people convicted of robbery and rape watch you intently. There is a powerlessness from the cruelty of injustice. You become silent. In a small room, there is a film by the Cambodian Vandy Rattana (1980). You see bushes, bundles of sticks, hands rummaging in the hay, women working in a meadow. In addition, you can hear a monotonous voiceover telling a story in Cambodian. It sounds melancholy. A leaflet says that Vandy Rattana is himself against the images that generally come from Cambodia: the horrors of the killing fields as a tourist attraction. Vandy Rattana’s sister and the grandmother lie buried in the area that he films, along with five thousand victims of the Khmer Rouge. A video, about journalism and applied art. A statement, message or report. The next day we visit the Père Lachaise cemetery. One of the graves is not very grand, but it certainly seems so because it is overloaded with fresh flowers, red roses. Amongst the is a cup with pencils and pens, and there is a black letter 'Je suis Charlie’. Here lies Bernhard Verlhac, the cartoonist ‘Tignous’, one of the twelve employees of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, murdered during the attack on January 7, 2015.
Later that afternoon we get off the metro and walk along Rue Nicolas Appert. The sun is already low and illuminating the white walls of some of the houses’ higher floors with yellowish light. A chilly wind is blowing some litter around the street. It is dried flower petals. In front of number 10 is a police van with armed men. A large camera is hanging on a lamppost. There are fences where countless flowers, notes, pencils and other expressions of support and indignation are lying. It was two and half months ago, but the attack is still fresh in the memory. I turn the camera on.
Photo : Taryn Simon Jeu de Paume Paris
Vandy Rattana Monologue, Jeu de Paume Paris