Video installation. Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova Turku Biennial 2017-2018

On Friday, 13th of November 2015, six terrorist attacks took place in Paris. A total of 132 people died. There were 90 victims in the Bataclan Theater at the corner of Boulevard Voltaire and Passage Saint-Pierre Amelot. Just two hours before the terrorist attack, I had left my apartment on that same street. Passage Saint-Pierre Amelot was barricaded after the terrorist attack and I couldn’t get home until the next morning. I was living in a street level apartment just a few dozen meters away from the Bataclan Theater. 

On Saturday morning, when I walked from the Rue Amelot barricade towards my home escorted by two police officers, I saw a pool of dried blood outside my front door. I had yet to notice any bullet holes or marks on the walls of the houses on Passage Saint-Pierre Amelot or on the Bataclan Theater. A neighbor who lived in an adjacent house died in the terrorist attack. A bullet hit them in the back through an open window. Another neighbor had died on that same night just a few meters from my front door. 

Violence always relates to the question of injustice. I do not propose any clear solution for solving and reversing injustice. I disagree with the idea of mutual understanding and turn instead to a continuous, fruitful disagreement. Aiming and enforcing a consensus may ultimately lead to terror. Disagreement, the critical examination of dominant, hegemonic, verbal and pictorial discourses, is a key factor in marginalizing terrorism and totalitarianism. For Lyotard, the acceptance of the diversity of discourses and the use of language inside discourses is a precondition for the concept of justice, where there is no room for consensus or totalitarianism. This obviously requires a restraining of terror, in which the uniformity of language games is both supposed and intended to be implemented. In Lyotard’s thinking, terror is revealed as an activity that rejects the social sphere and open interaction, it denies the community’s diversity and respect for other ways of thinking and for diverse values. Terror does not engage in struggles inside discourses, but relies on fear and violence. 

My video installation is based on three different types of material: 1. On documentary material that I filmed around the Bataclan Theater and in Passage Saint Pierre Amelot after the November 2015 terrorist attacks. 2. On scenes that I filmed together with two actors in Helsinki. 3. On material that I filmed in Helsinki by myself. 

In the scenes, I recall events linked to the terrorist attack, my observations, and the consequences of the attacks in our home street. The video installation is based on my notes, sketches, observations, notions, and on video and photo material that makes up my archive and is just for my own personal use. I have seen the traces of the terrorist attack from my home windows at Passage Saint Pierre Amelot and heard my neighbors’ stories, but story of my video installation is distanced from factual reality. The video installation gradually becomes another story with the help of the narration and by being played by the actors and my own character. I listen to and I look at this story partly as an outsider.