This short Super-8 film by artist Wiame Haddad presents an attic room in some fifty short shots. The leftovers from lunch, piles of books, suitcases on the floor and the old clock may for a short while recall a scene from another time, dated by a few newspapers strewn on crumpled bed sheets – January 1961, the referendum on self-determination for Algeria. However, a man suddenly appears standing in the doorway, his finger on the light switch. He then re-enacts his departure until the end of the reel mechanically makes him disappear. It’s now clear that we are watching the fabrication of a document, whose second part shows what’s behind the scenes: between two lamps, a film crew is busy lighting the set so the room can be photographed with a view camera. Initially presented alongside the large format photo (150×186.95cm) titled À propos d’une chambre occupée (vision d’une soirée d’octobre 1961), which evokes the living conditions of Algerians living on the Paris outskirts, Van Gogh’s room in Arles or Jeff Wall’s destroyed room, this film established the same dialectic between photograph and cinema whose formula had been defined by The Little Soldier: the truth, twenty-four times per second. In becoming autonomous, Hors-titre reinforces the power of evocation and the fragility of this fragment, as well as the contemporaneous nature of the decor. On the one hand, all of these intimate details recount the exterior that the fleeing protagonist is ready to enter: the murderous and hidden repression of the 17 October 1961 demonstrations by Papon’s police. On the other hand, they evoke the current conditions of the long-time immigrant Algerians growing old in attic rooms, to whom the artist in a moving gesture comes to offer flowers.
Wiame Haddad (1987) graduated from ESAD in Valenciennes, and from La Cambre in Brussels. The artist’s work can be considered as a photographic and cinematographic research project which investigates ethical issues and experiments with formal approaches. This research is coupled with a yearning for the unseen. Focusing on the forgotten bodies of History, her work takes shape around the hollow carved by these “invisibles”. Haddad develops artistic, sculptural photographic and cinematographic projects in which bodily tensions serve as political signifers. She lives and works in Paris.