01 August 2012

Sophie Calle in Arles

Pour la dernière et pour la première fois


I went to Istanbul. I spoke to blind people, most of whom had lost their sight suddenly. I asked them to describe the last thing they saw.


I went to Istanbul, a city surrounded by water, I met people who had never seen the sea. I filmed their first time.

We went to see Sophie Calle for whom I have always had an envious fascination, firstly, because she dares to go places in her own life as well as in others in a way which seems to be without limits. I tend to keep myself very much behind my own work like a shadow of it in fact, as if afraid to impose myself upon the world.
Secondly, she is intelligent and full of charm, and I have heard that men fall madly in love with her at just the drop of a rose petal.

She reminds me of the proverbial phrase 'When  Life gives you lemons, make lemonade'.

Her projects have always seemed to follow her poetic sense first and foremost which is what I admire, but personally, I have often felt that at times her projects are too light-winded and superficial, but it might be because I was always too heavy.

In a chapel near the river (Chapelle Saint-Martin du Méjan.) are a few things from her latest project which took her to Turkey to see at how people have reacted to being blind.

They are beautiful and haunting stories, and she has treated the subject with grace and empathy. Many of the people documented lost their eye sight almost overnight while others lost it slowly over time, and several others were born blind. Some of these are terrible stories where Fate has played an uneven hand, so it would seem. There is the taxi guy who had his eyes shot out in a traffic dispute with a mafioso who pulled out his gun. Another, where a routine operation went horribly wrong and the woman awakened  blind. They go on and on, and I left the Chapel full of feeling for what Life has given me to date, and for what Fate has yet to take away. I love to be reminded of what a blessing Life really is, and I hate it when I feel otherwise in my smallest moments.

So, I recommend this show and I am glad that Sophie Calle is now pursues subjects which are truly worthy of her very talented artistic sensibility. 

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