Crossing Voices (Xaraasi Xanne)
“Progress is when country folk leave the land to become workers. It’s always been so and will always be so.” However, the film of Bouba Touré and Raphaël Grisey leaves no place for the stories we expect. Here, it’s more about opposite paths and counter-stories. France is rich, yes, but in racism, inequality and violence. So immigrant workers, after long years of slums and exhausting poorly paid work, are ready to return to their homeland; men and women are ready to switch from worker to peasant. Before their voices speak out and cross, we first hear Bouba Touré’s voice accompanied by his images. An immigrant worker in France, factory worker, then film projectionist and photographer, he has witnessed all the struggles, it seems, be it those of undocumented migrants or the story of the Somankidi Coura cooperative, founded in 1977 by migrant workers who returned to Mali and which he co-founded. So this is a story of a return to revive agriculture on home ground, in opposition to the terrifying legacy of the colonial agricultural policies. Mixing images by Bouba Touré and other vital archives, the film traces the trajectory of the world founded on a persistent imperialism. Edited around comings and goings, voices and journeys criss-cross, answer and repeat each other. The leaps in time leave the systems intact. An outstanding memorial film, in the face of time, against time. This time which “counts a lot” as Bouba Touré says. “I want to live in time; as I don’t want to die, I walk with time.”
Since 2006 Touré and Grisey have worked together on collaborative projects. It lead to various workshops, film and theatre production for example with the theatre group Kaddu Yaraax in 2017 and 2019, as well as publications and texts, such as Sowing Somankidi Coura, a Generative Archive (2017, Archives Book publishers) Their works were shown amongst other venue at Kàddu Yaraax Theatre Forum Festival (SN), Kunsthall Trondheim (NO), Archive Kabinett, Savvy Contemporary, HKW, Neue Berliner Kunstverein (DE), Den Fries (DK), 9th Contour Biennale (BE), Parco Arte Vivente (IT), Un Lieu pour Respirer, Centre Pompidou (FR), Dhaka Art Summit (BD), Open Justice (CA) and in Konsthall Göteborg (SE).
Raphaël Grisey is born in 1979, lives in Berlin. He uses film, editorial and photographic works to address politics of memory, architecture, migration and agriculture (such as the films Prvi Deo, Red Star 2006 with F. Lazar; Cooperative, 2008; The Exchange of Perspectives ; Minhocão, 2011; Amor e Progresso, 2014; Remanescentes 2015).
Bouba Touré was born in 1948, and died in January 2022. He lived in France in the Foyer Pinel from 1965 and worked at the factory Chausson until 1969. He studied at the Vincennes University and was a projectionist at Cinema 14 Juillet and L’entrepôt, Paris. Photographer since the 1970s, he documented the lives and struggles of migrant workers and peasants in France and Mali. Touré co-founded the Co-op of Somankidi Coura in 1977. In 2015, he published the book Notre case est à Saint Denis, Xérographes Publishers. Since the 1980s, he has exhibited works and given talks in associative and foyer’s circles and more recently in art institutions. His photographic work has been presented amongst other places at the Bamako Encounters 2019.