Family who are you ?

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404 photos, Book (100 ex.), video - 2018

“Making Of” video

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Family who are you?

2010; after my father's death, I kept his old photo albums for a film project.
2014; I settled down in the USA, the silent and anonymous memory of my ancestors becoming insistent.
2016; the block gives way, I understand that the images choice does not belong to me. Repetitions, bad framings, failures are part of the story. I don't have to disassemble the albums. Excluding technically impossible images, I count 404 of them.

Error for an answer? Family who are you? Error, is it too late?
The ghost page code in the silence of the void? Will I know more?
The images are following one another. I'm looking for my spot.

2017 Maman will never come back from Addis Abbeba.
The last voice died out and there is no more memory of either two halves of the story.
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I will not learn anything about them anymore...
Family who are you? How many more unknown kinfolks? It's too late!
The spectral projections are waiting. I have to find the space.

In my previous self-portraits, the body, often headless, is the object.
Conversely, this face-to-face encounter with my ancestors forces me to exist in the context, at the right distance. Not too close, not too far. As among family.
Inserting oneself in an image changes the story. Even if I follow the rules, inserting me physically in the past is an experiment... Inevitably unwarranted.
My color and my gaze, are jarring in their charcoal world which shadows their eyes. I have to blend in and take part obligingly, compose, play, avoid the photobombing effect, be inconspicuous. To take some light while staying in the shadows.
I feel some kind of benevolent indifference towards these bonding groups, which are miles away from imagining me or giving me an image. I have theirs, but without speech or legends and I'm looking for how this world could be mine. Yet I'm starting to recognize or know them. In the proximity, the enlargement and repetition of certain faces take shape, like false memories. Again and again, I’m creating a space for myself in the picture. Softened, sometimes bemused, I accept this silent story, which I don't want to perpetuate. I've never been attracted to breed. As a child, the only family I pictured myself in was the cosmopolitan tribe of Josephine Baker and I thought that a zipper on the belly would be so much more convenient to birth the child after a couple of gestation days... 404 error.

Family who are you? Presumably a part of me, of my choices or lack of, the universal story of our paper forbears, lying in the drawers all over the world.

Pascale Lafay - 2018