The History is not Mine video can be seen as a direct response to Printemps de Septembre de Toulouse (2012) (Toulouse’s Spring of September) art festival which bore the title L’Histoire est à moi (History is Mine). On this occasion, Technologia, an installation that combined circular Koranic verses with elements inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s Rotoreliefs, had been withdrawn by the organization following incidents provoked by the public. The fact that verses from the Quran had been projected on the walkway of a bridge that allowed viewers to walk upon them led to violent protests from Muslim groups. In the same year, the Sleep Al Naïm tribute to Salman Rushdie was censored on the occasion of 25 Years of Arab Creativity at the Arab World Institute in Paris. These events left a mark on the visual artist and engendered an awareness as well as a disappointment. The black and white video depicts a man whose face remains concealed as he strikes a typewriter with two hammers. Only the typewriter’s ribbon bears a brilliant red the color of blood; a collision of the written sentence’s beauty and the violence and difficulty of its creation. The video plunges us into the role of a witness and that of an accomplice, and the spectator is almost a part of this story’s writing process. The simple and mundane gesture of striking the keys becomes crushing with the use of hammers. The weight that falls on the keys causes a deep, violent intonation. These effects, accentuated by the characteristic sound of a typewriter, also evoke the ticking of a clock or shots fired from a sub-machine gun. The time that passes and the history that escapes us is thus symbolized.
Mounir Fatmi is a Moroccan artist who lives and works in Paris.Read more