2018 - current (work in progress)
As the granddaughter of Algerian « pieds-noirs » (French from Algeria during the colonisation) , and more specifically from Oran on my mother's side, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother as a child and grew up listening to her memories. In many families that have experienced colonisation and the Algerian War first-hand, this part of our history is swept under the carpet. For us, Algeria was the backdrop to our many family reunions. It was ubiquitous, so much so that it partly shaped our identity. These discussions, most of the time spurred on by my grandmother, were lively and joyful, but they also revealed our differences, through idealised memories. Although she hated politics, there was no biLerness in her words, just a great deal of melancholy and love for this country. When my grandmother died, I realised that this verbal connection, this living memory, albeit transformed and fantasised over the years, was going to fade away with her. In fact, a whole generation of witnesses was disappearing. I felt the need to re-establish this bond and extend it with a new story. I pondered the notion of transmission, its power and the way it builds a family history. How can this flow of memories, which passes from one generation to the next and is transformed over time, be sustained? Beyond the political questions, what relationship do the various generations have with the history of their countries? Several dialogues between two standpoints start: - the intergenerational encounter between a woman and her grandmother, based on the matriarchal oral tradition of family storytelling and the exploration of a wealth of carefully preserved documents - that of an individual history through a physical return, a real grasp of a place of memory (an unknown, fantasised and bygone country) that has become tangible and that I explore, free of nostalgia - that of the short (family) story that brings the long story to the surface, the story of colonisation, of historical violence and wounds, of things left unsaid, of the Algerian war, a war that seems to have been swept under the carpet but that will not be silenced - that of the new friendships between a young French woman of pied-noir origin and young Algerians, although they, like me, are both distant and steeped in this shared history. During my visits to Oran between 2018 and 2020, I spoke with various generations. Some were mired in their memories; others had rid themselves of the ghosts of the past but still wanted to look at the past and aLempt to understand it. Others simply want to look to the future. All, however, are deeply linked to the complex history of France and Algeria. It fascinated me. And it's through my work with the archives lovingly preserved by my grandmother, the photographs I take over there, the discussions I have with the new generation about present-day Algeria and its problems, and the books I've read by Algerian authors devoted to that period, both past and present, wriLen by the second or third generation, that I move from one memory to another, looking for common ground and connecting points. My project is ultimately about these in-between spaces, challenging the failure of a shared history and attempting a reconstruction of memory that is both intimate and political, made up of numerous layers of the past.