Public Libraries Prize
with Le Centre d'Art Contemporain de Brétigny – Pierre Bal-Blanc
LE BRUIT DU CANON, 2006
A few buildings in the middle of nowhere, then the camera delves deep into exotic, luxuriant vegetation. Here we were are in Tropical Islands, a leisure complex near Krausnick, a village 70 kilometres south of Berlin on the site of a former Soviet airbase. In this spot, and moving from one affectation to another, the upheavals of the last century pile up like so much sediment. – Europe’s scars and contradictions, its mental space, its dreams and illusions.
In this Hinterland, indicated in the title (which geographers would define as an area of economic development linked with the activity of a port), Marie Voignier unravels the currents of history – the location director: the village elders, as well as the newcomers to the village, like the young man who has come to try his luck and the sets of this cosseted universe with its makeshift huts and painted skies. Hovering over all of this and drawn on a white balloon which floats discretely overhead throughout the film, is a drawing based on a watercolour by Paul Klee painted in 1920 called Angelus Novus, with reference to a text by Benjamin, edited rapidly in 1940, which describes it as the angel of History with its face turned toward the past: « He wanted to linger on, awaken the dead and make whole what had been smashed. But there was a storm brewing in Paradise which had got caught in his wings, a wind so strong that the angel could no longer close them. This storm propelled him unstoppably into the future to which his back was turned, while the pile of debris before him grew skyward. This storm is what we call progress. » Making the angel the main focus of the set is a deliberate gesture on Marie Voignier’s part which reflects the extent of her ambition – discreet and incisive, intuitive and articulate.