The intention was to gather those of us who have utilised the Crown Letter, as many as possible, together in one space at one time. This ex bobbin making factory/storage space/design and sculpture studio in rural France is a place I have occupied for 18 years and this is most likely to soon end. The building needed to see a last gathering within this era, a last party, a last burst of creativity, of laughter, of music, voices, conversation and dancing, to be drawn, filmed and photographed to show off its beautiful brutal structure. We made it echo and shake, and we melted in the heat, we also had to submit to it. In this way I saw the Crown Letter carry me again.
Même décor. Deux examinateurs. Sur des bancs, attendant, des Africains, hommes seuls, femmes seules ou avec enfants dans des poussettes.
Entre une dame africaine plantureuse, cheveux courts défrisés teints en blond. Appelons-la Maïmouna.
Maïmouna : – C’est à cause de la convocation. C’est le tribunal.
Les examinateurs (chaussant leurs lunettes, en duo) : – Annulation de la filiation. Vous avez eu un enfant en 2018, un garçon. Monsieur Alfa Kazo, de nationalité française, a reconnu l’enfant. Un mois plus tard, il a reconnu un autre enfant. Il est accusé de « reconnaissance frauduleuse de paternité. » Le juge demande l’annulation de la reconnaissance de paternité de votre fils.
Maïmouna : – C’est quoi ?
L’examinateur : – M. Kazo est accusé d’avoir menti. Ce n’est pas le vrai père.
Maïmouna : – Mais si, c’est lui, le père.
L’examinateur : – Quand on l’a interrogé sur vous, il a déformé votre nom. On lui a demandé des détails sur votre relation, il a été très flou. Vous avez vécu ensemble ?
These two saplings sprouted from acorns I collected in the park last year, or the year before. They’ll need more room soon, so I’ll plant them out together. They grow slowly and could live for four hundred years or more. These are common oak – English oak, Pedunculate, Quercus Robur. In England however, many of the oak groves were cut down to build ships to fight Napoleon and have never fully recovered. The oak is also the most common tree in Ukraine, Dub. The D is important – Dodona was an ancient Greek city, loved by Zeus, appointed to be his oracle, where doves lived in the hollow of an oak. A place for prophecies and prophetesses.
Last Thursday evening I arrived in Kingston upon Hull, and as I walked along through this port city I was struck by an architectural mosaic on a run-down building. It is vast, over a million pieces of Italian glass mosaic. My brother tells me they are going to demolish it and I want to save it, later in a bar a local tells us it’s been saved for now and listed.
It had been the front façade of the Co-op shop, it represents the fishing trawlers that along with transport vessels once filled the harbours in more plentiful times. Across the centre “the success of industry” is written and the masts by chance spell out HULL.
I see some beautiful Victorian architecture and find myself in a stunning Minster hosting a beer festival, but I’m told much of the cities architecture had been bombed. Later I read an overview of this heavily bombed city, 95% of houses damaged 5,000 destroyed, 14 schools or hospitals, 8 cinemas, 27 churches, 42 pubs, several oil and flour mills, 280,000 square metres of factories, 1,200 people killed. I think about Mariupol the film footage we see and wonder what it’s ‘overview’ will turn out to be.
“We were one day on an intelligence mission in Boutcha, and a soldier dressed in the Ukrainian uniform stopped our car. My friend Ihor saw a Russian army T-shirt sticking out of the soldier’s collar, and he opened fire. The man collapsed but the Russians were ambushed in three or four different places and they fired in turn. Ihor was shot, I was injured in the arm but it is thanks to him that we survived, “says Sacha, 27, a volunteer alongside Yuri, after leaving his job as a mason and the city of Khmelnytskyi.
Из размышлений на тему собственного положения … и наблюдения за всем происходящим со стороны. У меня тогда в 14м году в Луганске было именно такое ощущение, я вроде бы ни при чем, и даже в безопасности, но глубоко под водой и нечем дышать, а мимо, на поверхности проплывет лодка жизни, которая похожа одновременно и на пулю по конфигурации и на гроб … и даже думаешь что можно вынырнуть на свет, но зрелище завораживает как сон!
This is a reflection on my own situation … and my observation of everything that is happening from the outside. In 2014, in Lugansk, I felt like I wasn’t involved, that I was safe, but that I was somehow deep underwater and couldn’t breathe, and that life, like a boat, floated by on the surface. Here it looks like a bullet or a coffin… and it seems like you could swim up into the light, it is like a vision in a dream!
The following is a letter I wrote to the curator I was working with in 2013.
‘I have decided on a title for the exhibition. The title is ‘The faces they have vanished’. It is inspired by a quote from a film maker in 1937, about the faces that appear in films vanishing, and reappearing, only to vanish again, so evoking the magic of the moving image, and also its spectral quality. For me ‘they have vanished’ suggests the faces of poets and artists, that we know from photographs – who appear so distant in the photographs but whose writings are so immediate and contemporary. It suggests the artists and poets, and many other unknown people, who were ‘disappeared’ during the Soviet period (Mandelshtam et al). ‘The faces’ is somehow impersonal, and yet a face is personal, unique.
La permanence 4. Même décor. Même bruit de fond. Les masques chirurgicaux des examinateurs pendent sous le nez, ou sous le menton. Entre une jeune femme africaine, longiligne, voile noir, jupe longue noire, anorak noir, masque chirurgical. Elle s’approche timidement de la table, dépose une feuille.
L’examinateur : – Asseyez-vous ! C’est vous, Mme Fatoumata K. ? Vous avez reçu une convocation à l’OFPRA pour le 25 mai à 9 heures. (La jeune femme fait signe qu’elle ne comprend pas.) C’est un entretien où vous expliquez pourquoi vous demandez l’asile.
Fatoumata (à voix basse) : – Pas bien français. Soninké. Bambara.
L’examinatrice sort, revient avec un Africain vêtu d’un costume crème, environ 40 ans. Il se tient debout, à une certaine distance de Fatoumata qui garde les yeux baissés.
Au ton de sa voix et à son attitude, on devine que ce monsieur est ravi de s’acquitter d’une mission de confiance. Explications longues en bambara.
Le monsieur : – Le 5e mois, elle comprend, mais le 25, elle ne connaît pas bien.
L’examinateur : – C’est dans un mois. Dites-lui bien d’arriver au moins une heure avant le rendez-vous. De notre côté, on va voir si on trouve un bénévole pour l’accompagner. Je note son numéro de téléphone et on va la rappeler.
This radio episode, which was made together with @aemlx.global, is focussing on our friends musicians and DJs from Ukraine, and their activities of resistance since the beginning of the war that Russia started against Ukraine.
Artists: Oleh Shpudeiko @heinali , Alexey Shmurak @alexey-shmurak , Emilia Kurylowicz @aeglobal , Olesia Onykiienko @nfnr_music , John Object @johnobject , Anna Khvyl @anna-khvyl
The determination of the stars to which some of the Egyptian temples, sacred to a known divinity, were directed, opened a way to a study, of the astronomical basis of parts of the Egyptian mythologies. It became obvious that the mythology was intensely astronomical, and crystallized early ideas suggested by actual observation of the Sun, Moon, and stars. The excavations revealed that several times in its history the complex had been razed to the ground to be re-erected and expanded on the same spot, yet each time with a slight change of orientation. The orientation of the temples must have been determined by certain stars, whose position in the sky changed over time, and this orientation was so quintessential that the temples of the earlier complexes had to be re-erected several times. It was not dilapidation that motivated the repeated construction work, but a religious necessity to follow the stars in the orientation of the temples. This is explained by the temples having been rebuilt upon old foundations, a thing which can be proved to have occurred. In the case of the Egyptian temples, the stated date of foundation of a temple is almost always long after that at which its lines were laid down in accordance with the astronomical ritual. No wonder, then, that the same thing is noticed in Greece.—From the N.Y.Sun,March,1894.
Entre un couple de Russes, 35 ans environ, jeans, allure artiste, accompagnés d’une fillette blonde portant un nœud rose dans les cheveux. L’enfant gambade dans la salle puis revient en réclamant des câlins à sa mère.
L’examinatrice : – Si vous parlez français ou anglais, ce sera plus commode pour mon collègue.
Lui : En anglais, ça va.
Elle : – Pour moi, c’est mieux en français.
Suite des échanges tantôt en français, tantôt en anglais, tantôt en russe.
L’examinateur : Vous venez d’où ?
Lui : On est de Moscou. On est arrivés il y a deux semaines.
Tribute to Mantas K. (1977-2022)Mariupolis, Mantas Kvedaravicius, 2016.
Mantas Kvedaravicius Ukrainian director has just died in Mariupol with his camera in his hand, while shooting a documentary on the war. He was forty five years old. In 2016 he had already made this documentary MARIUPOLIS at the time of the Donbass war. He was an angel, and a committed poet, until the end, his camera in his hand, over there, testifying for all of us, until the end, over there, his camera in his hand, until the end.
The railway line runs right through the centre of the town, making it easy for holidaymakers to arrive and depart. This is a hot summer day in 2012, in this sleepy town in Crimea. In 1944, the Crimean Tatars were rounded up, accused of collaborating with the German Nazi Occupiers, and forced into exile, in what is known as the Surgun (meaning Exile). They were sent to camps in the Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan by Stalin. Some of them would have left from here; half of them never arrived. It was years later before Crimean Tatars were exonerated and later still before they were allowed to return to live in Crimea, only to find their homes and villages destroyed and the Tatar names erased. In 2012, the Tatar Medjlis, its representative body, was thriving, able to negotiate with the Ukrainian government to assure the rights of Tatars and preserve their heritage and culture. We met with historians in Bakhchysarai where the Tatar archaeological site was being excavated and preserved. Robin made a radio broadcast about it and wrote this article. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19815852
In 2016, the Medjlis was banned by the Russian government.