Manuela Morgaine

October 26 to November 2

Manuela Morgaine  EYE AFRICA
ERASE THE BORDERS – a collective art work for Bienal Sur 2021 (Argentina)

I look you in the eyes Africa. I don’t forget that you are beautiful, that your black skin and shapes have the grace of statues, that you are a land of rhythms and colored fabrics, an ocean of fish, baobab horizons, and that your braided heads children are living treasures. I look you in the eye, Africa, I see chaos and desolation, misery, pollution, death and the lack of essentials, submission of the poorest. I look you in the eye, Africa, I want to drown in the feathers of your Cameroonian Juju hats and celebrate your rites and tribes, abandon myself to your music, let myself be carried away by your trance, no longer see.

October 19 to October 26

Manuela Morgaine Messe basse/ Low mass/ Masa baja/ ټیټ ډله
ERASE THE BORDERS – a collective art work for Bienal Sur 2021 (Argentina)

Music: Manuela Morgaine & Emmanuel Hosseyn During
Negative interpretation of Women wait in line to receive food in Kabul in 2001.Photographer: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images.

October 12 to October 19

Manuela Morgaine TRAIL OT TEARS
ERASE THE BORDERS – a collective art work for Bienal Sur 2021 (Argentina)

The trail of tears, in Cherokee Nunna daul Insunyi “the trail where they cried” is the path of the displacement of several Amerindian peoples by the United States between 1831 and 1838. Between 4000 and 8000 of them died on the way, of cold, hunger or exhaustion. The two phosphorescent lines on USA map evokes the two trajectories of The Trail of Tears by river (Mississippi & Tennessee) and by land just as much as the two streams of tears on either sides of a face that remembers.

October 5 to October 12

Manuela Morgaine – LOST FLOWS -ERASE THE BORDERS –  a collective art work for Bienal Sur 2021 (Argentina)

Naxi song from Tackeng by Mrs Xiat Rulian. Naxi is spoken in the northwest of the Chinese province of Yunnan in the first loop of the Yang Tse Kiang river. There would no longer be a single inhabitant who could say a word in this language. Over 6 000 km long, Yang Tse Kiang is the third longest river in the world, after the Amazon and the Nile, refuge of a biodiversity and species unique in the world: Sturgeons, sawfish, the world’s largest salamander, Japanese crane, Chinese alligator. It is called Blue River. Like the endangered Naxi language, the Yang Tse Kiang is part of the threatened rivers.

28 September to October 5

Manuela Morgaine- WE ARE WORLDS – ERASE THE BORDERS – a collective art work for Bienal Sur 2021 (Argentina)

I draw your bodies SE Barnet, USA-Maithili Bavkar, IND-Alisa Berger, DEU-Kate Blacker, GBR- Andrea Blum, USA-Adriana Bustos, ARG-Anne Brunswic, FRA-Claire Chevrier, FRA-Pascale Criton, FRA-Juta Doberstein, DEU-Michelle Deignan, IRL-Silvana Deluigi, ARG-Liza Dimbleby, GBR-Anne Dubos, FRA-Dettie Flynn, IRL-Shani Ha, FRA-Julieta Hanono, ARG-Claire-Jeanne Jézéquel, FRA-Kyoko Kasuya, JPN-Ayilin Leclairc, DEU-Joanna Lombard, SWE-Saviya Lopez, IND-Ruth Maclennan, GBR-Ana Mendes, PRT-Maricarmen Merino, CRI-Aurelia Mihai, ROU-Doriane Molay, FRA-Manuela Morgaine, FRA-Tania Mouraud, FRA-Natacha Nisic, FRA-Kumjana Novakova, BIH-Sudha Padmaja Francis, IND-Emmanuelle Pellegrini, FRA-Piyarat Piyapongwiwat, THA-Catherine Radosa, CZE-Sandra Richard, FRA-Luise Schröder, DEU-Esther Shalev-Gerz, LTU-Mika Shigemori, JPN-Natalia Smolianskaia, RUS-Katja Stuke, DEU-Catalina Swinburn, CHL-Chiyoko Szlavnics, CAN-Mutsumi Tsuda, JPN-Ivana Vollaro, ARG-Emma Woffenden, GBR and mix them with a Badaga song – recorded in 1977 in the Nilgiri district in Tamil Nadu, India. Badaga is part of endangered languages.

Amma Amma, Amma Amma, Amma Amma, Amma Hette Amma [ancestral goddess of the Badagas] wearing a colored garment (bis) thinking that Hette will come to Bannari (bis) wearing a white tundu [white cotton cloth wrapped around the body of a Badaga lady like a dress] (bis) thinking that Hette will come to Bergani (bis) Amma Amma, Amma Amma, Amma Amma, Amma Hette Amma Having long hair (bis) tied [tighly] in a hair-bun like a Mangala nut, Hette (bis) in the right hand, a comb (bis) in the left hand, a nit-comb (bis) Amma Amma, Amma Amma, Amma Amma, Amma Hette Amma holding a milk vessel in the hand (bis) it is time to go to the stone cow-pen, Hette holding a milk-pot in the hand, it is time to go to the stone cow-pen, Hette it is time to go to the stone cow-pen, it is time to milk the buffalo Hette Amma Amma, Amma Amma, Amma Amma, Amma Hette Amma

September 21 to September 28

More than a dream – Tribute to Christo

September 14 to September 21


The snail moves, only forwards, thanks to its foot, which is a gigantic muscle which contracts and lengthens alternately: this is the phenomenon of crawling. The average speed of a snail is one millimeter per second, or six centimeters per minute. The glands of snails also secrete different types of mucus containing many compounds that both allow it to move more easily by sliding over obstacles and even attach itself vertically to certain walls. Mucus is also part of the composition of the shell. Thick, it hardens and dries on contact with air, leaving a brilliant trail in the light. The songs and noises of the snails all seem to be reduced, with variations, to a single physical phenomenon: under the effect of a sudden and rapid retraction of the animal, withdrawn from its element and excited, a mass of gas, like air bubbles, trapped in a cavity is violently expelled and passes through a narrow orifice, encumbered with more or less viscous liquid, and it bubbles: the noise produced thus may go from a simple twitter to an almost musical sound close to kissing. Likewise, the contact between the snail’s shell and a glass pane emits, during the movement of the animal, a noise similar to that of a wet finger on a glass; the shell playing, opposite the glass, the role of a bow on a stringed instrument. Some snails produce plaintive calls when caught. In captivity, Planorbis corneus emit a high note, similar to the sound produced by a flute, with each daily feeding. Helix aspersa, utter cries of agony when cooked alive. These noises were at the origin of European beliefs, attributing to the “song” of snails a premonitory value.

September 7 to September 14

We are masked as we were at the Fenice Opera in Venice for centuries. Here, a first night of September 2021, it is the Paris Opera. Marina Abramović dies there seven times in majesty inside the body of Maria Callas. A young woman in white crosses space. I tell myself that she is a nurse, at the bedside of our pandemic world.

August 31 to September 7

L’Amour Désert

August 24 to August 31

Marine rock, Kythera & “The Machine” of Angélique de Coudray, Midwife, 1778.

To make her lessons “palpable”, Angélique de Coudray invents a mannequin made of wood, cardboard, fabrics, cotton, reproducing life-size a woman’s pelvis in layers and allowing various manipulations. This mannequin was used to teach the art of childbirth in the 18th century. Angélique travels across France and trains 5,000 midwives with the authorization of Louis XV. The island of Kythera in Greece is the birthplace of Venus.

August 3 to August 10

Inquiète est la tête – 2nd version – sand, sponges, foam, Cagliari, July 2021.
“And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads and hanging them
With deafening clamor in the slippery clouds,
That, with the hurly, death itself awakes?
Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

William Shakespeare – King Richard IV.

July 27 to August 3

The Flooded World, July 2021.

July 20 to July 27


July 13 to July 20

BODIES ARE CROSSES ON THE GROUND – Me in my car & Antoine’s traces under his motorbike – 6/7/2021 18H40, Paris.

July 6 to July 13

COUNTDOWN – AMORCES, 35 mm, 1999.

In July 1999 at the moment my father died, what strikes me the most is his watch as his own pulse stops, his watch whose hands keep turning. The next day, between tears and the energy of filial love, I go from one cinema to another in the streets of Paris and meet the projectionists in the booth to whom I ask kindly to give me abandoned film leaders. I harvest it during this month of mourning. Since then, every time I enter the month of July, from its first days, I see my father’s eyes closed, and the hands of his watch turning eternally. Each beginning of July this series of animated countdowns bring this unforgettable and heartbreaking moment back to life.

June 29 to July 6

The return of sweetness

June 22 to June 29


June 8 to June 15

INDIAN WAVE 3 – A wave comes and goes, an image comes and goes, as voices, as feelings, as journeys, as memories.

June 1 to June 8


In the Logic of our dreams, her epidemic diary filmed in Kerala, Sudha Padmaja Francis pronounces this sentence: “When will everyone get to sleep?” Since, every night, from the river, I keep asking myself.

May 25 to June 1

INDIAN WAVE 1 – In 2006 I left for my first trip to India with the hope of finding strength to change my life. First love journey to Mumbaï, in the chaos of the city, the peace of the island of Elephanta, and the sweetness of a beach filled then with recklessness. I had never seen those four hours of footage shot there before today. Here is a first extract – gesture extended to you, our Indian accomplices, as a sign of support during these epidemic times which affects your country more tragically than elsewhere.

May 18 to May 25


May 11 to May 18


May 4 to May 11

BIRD HOUSE – birds have houses with carpets in Istanbul, let’s rebuild the world.

April 27 to May 4


Assan S. is an artist. Assan is like a brother for me. Assan had an accident and was amputated six months ago. My mother is my mother. My mother is a virus survivor. Assan makes today his first exhibition at the Invalides, in Paris. In this precise place, his first exhibition since losing his leg. I see him for the first time with his prosthesis, there, at the Invalides. He’s the one supporting my mother, he’s the one missing a leg. This is the best life lesson that I can receive. The sense of Care.

April 20 to April 27


April 13 to April 20


Testament song by Violeta Parra, chilean artist who committed suicide in 1967 at the age of forty-nine. First South American artist to exhibit at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris. Song of shared life with charango, a five-string guitar. Brief passage of life. May the passage of LA VIDA on the Seine, accompanied by sand and black birds, be a sign from her.

April 6 to April 13


I grow my salads while waiting you grow your salads while waiting he/she grows his/her salads while waiting we grow our salads while waiting you grow your salads while waiting they grow their salads while waiting i conjugate the present with the future

March 30 to April 6


455 days later, Wuhan. January 2021: this image is part of the collection of haunting images that fill my Venetian Plague Doctor mask. I wear it from time to time to look at the horizon through my porthole and give it the power to predict future or call memory. We are the day of the exit from Egypt. How not to think about the ten plagues? So that the people of Israel can leave Egypt, God inflicts ten punishments or plagues, to convince Pharaoh to let them go. The waters of the Nile turn to blood; the frogs fall from the sky; soil dust turns into lice; horseflies fly; the herds die; men and animals are covered with boils and pustules; hail falls and turns into fire; locusts cover the entire surface of the Earth, eat plants and fruits and plunge the world into darkness; darkness; the death of the firstborn.

March 23 to March 30

Third Lockdown, Île de France, first day of spring 2021.

March 16 to March 23


French slang calls the female sex a mussel. The word mussel comes from the Latin Musculus, the shell, just as much as from Modulus, the measure. No doubt we are made of this double nature, a shell that protects us and a measure of ourselves on the edge of our skin.

March 8

Quend-Plage-les-pins, Baie de Somme ©Manuela Morgaine 8/3/2021

March 2 to March 9

chalk drawing & x-ray – 1/3/2021 –

“And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads and hanging them
With deafening clamour in the slippery clouds,
That, with the hurly, death itself awakes?
Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

William Shakespeare – King Richard IV.

February 23 to March 2

FOR WAAD an archival film about Syria before war – silent extract –
Just finished February 2021

I went to Syria for the first scouting in 2005, then a second time in 2007. Today, I can precisely list EVERYTHING that has been destroyed and realize to what extent my rushes, despite myself, represent a reserve of documents. For fifteen years, I could not open these images, view them, so unthinkable was the superimposition of all these beauties with the traumatic images of war. I thought about it day after day, year after year, but the treasure seemed inaccessible. And above all, I didn’t know what to do with it. It was a dead letter. And then there was the shock of the movie FOR SAMA by Syrian director Waad al Kateab. I had never seen such an intimate document on the war. It took me several weeks to realize that her film finally gave birth to mine, which dreamed of being the antidote. During the pandemic, during the months of confinement, I viewed and flushed the long hours of footage. I imagined a particular film, a letter that I address to Waad. In this epistolary form, it is the exhumed images and sounds that bring life to a bloodless Syria. This film follows the chronological order of the shooting from 2005 to 2007 from Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Palmyra, to the desert of Cham along the Euphrates. The story of two trips, but above all a sensory and memorial experience, he seeks to literally express and show the country, its unforgettable humanity, its sumptuousness and vitality, its grace and its joie de vivre before destruction. mass of its people, its houses, its cities, its heritage.

February 9 to February 16


Cecilia Mangini just passed away on January 21, 2021. She was a pioneer in Italian documentary cinema, politically engaged alongside Pier Paolo Pasolini. It is he who writes the words of STENDALÌ around the lamentations and funeral songs of the region of Puglia. Faces and gestures of mourning filmed like no one else. Here, a sixteen year old young man is celebrated and sung and mourned. For the fortieth week of the Crown Letter, as the whole world has been living in quarantine for almost a year, I think of this young man celebrated, and sung and cried, I see those white handkerchiefs waved like an intimate and loving flag of peace, as the only object to wring out sorrow above his childish face. I think this young man could be the face of the world right now that we all watch as we celebrate, sing, cry, shake our hair , our linen, our hopes as women, as mothers, watching over the world with all our strengths.

STENDALÌ by Cecilia Mangini, 11 minutes, 1960. Film clip cropped, contrasted, saturated by Manuela Morgaine February 2021. Text by Pier Paolo Pasolini spoken by actress Lilla Brignone. Music: Egisto Macchi

February 2 to February 9

Or guess the future in children’s sand castles
from Ma vie de châteaux- 2021.

January 26 to February 2

« There is always light if we are brave enough to see it. There is always light if we are brave enough to be it.” Amanda Gorman – 20/1/2021
Spectrogram of my voice saying in loop these last two sentences of the poetess’s speech at Joe Biden’s induction ceremony.

Technics: PhonoPaper ©Aleksander Zolotov.
Launch the app PHONOPAPER on your mobile phone, point the camera at the code and smoothly scan the picture from left to right. You will be able to hear the sound and play the poem.

January 19 to January 26


January 12 to January 19

Crossing Abbey Road – Pandemic remix. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport 7/01/2021.

January 5 to January 12


White pillows inhabit a room. They are listening rooms, offering an intimate posture. They all contain a few minutes of original composition. The sound pillows alternate between sleeping and waking, bringing out a musicality of low masses and soft waves. Tactile and sound surfaces. The association of the object with the world of sleep makes listeners wander like sleepwalkers. The sensuality of contact with the pillowcase, the music coming from inside the pillow, wants to offer a tactile and supra-sensitive experience of sound, experience another form of chamber music.


December 15 to December 22


En 2008 j’ai enregistré les battements de mon cœur afin qu’ils rejoignent LES ARCHIVES DU CŒUR de Christian Boltanski. Depuis 2005, il poursuit une collecte d’enregistrements de battements de cœur à travers le monde afin de rassembler tous les cœurs. Projet universel et utopique, LES ARCHIVES DU CŒUR sont conservées depuis 2010 sur l’île japonaise de Teshima, dans la mer intérieure de Seto.

In 2008 I recorded the beating of my heart so that they could join the HEART ARCHIVE by Christian Boltanski. Since 2005 he has been collecting heartbeat recordings around the world in order to bring all hearts together. A universal and utopian project, the HEART ARCHIVE has been kept since 2010 on the Japanese island of Teshima, in the Seto Inland Sea.

December 8 to December 15


stay, remain, rest, linger, loiter, dally, stop, stay put, stick around, kick about, kick around, bide, tarry, stand by, hold back, be patient, bide one’s time, hang fire, mark time, kill time, waste time, cool one’s heels, kick one’s heels, twiddle one’s thumbs, pause, stop, cease, halt, discontinue, rest, hold on, hang around, hang about, sit tight, hold one’s horses, sweat it out, await, look out, watch out, anticipate, expect, be ready, be in readiness, long for, hope for, count the days until, be postponed, be delayed, be put off, be held back, be deferred, be put on the back burner, be put on ice, delay, postpone, put off, hold off, hold back, defer, delay, hold-up, period of waiting, interval, interlude, intermission, pause, break, stay, cessation, suspension, detention, check, stoppage, halt, interruption, lull, respite, recess, postponement, discontinuation, moratorium, hiatus, gap, lapse, rest, entr’acte, stay awake, stay up, keep vigil.

December 1 to December 8


Le jour de la Saint Martin, le 11 novembre, à la nuit tombante, les enfants défilent en processions, portant des lanternes, chantant des Martinslieder. Comme un appel à la lumière pour fendre la nuit. Nous sommes en 2020 à travers le monde depuis un an en proie à une épidémie. L’épidémie de peste frappe l’Italie entre 1629 et 1631 tuant un million de personnes, 25% de la population. Le médecin de peste portait alors un masque à la forme d’oiseau au long bec. Les gens croyaient que la peste s’était propagée par les oiseaux et que ce masque permettait à la maladie d’être éliminée du corps du patient en le transférant au vêtement. Le masque protégeait aussi le médecin de peste. Son bec était rempli de substances fortes et agréables, ambre gris, menthe et pétales de rose.

Offrir au monde ce chant de lumière murmuré par un enfant d’Italie, comme une conjuration d’automne aux oiseaux de malheur, porteurs d’épidémies.

On Saint Martin’s Day, November 11, at nightfall, children parade in processions, carrying lanterns, singing Martinslieder. Like a call to the light to cut through the night. We are in 2020 across the world for a year in the grip of an epidemic. The plague epidemic struck Italy between 1629 and 1631 killing one million people, 25% of the population. The plague doctor then wore a mask in the form of a bird with a long beak. People believed that the plague was spread by birds and that this mask allowed the disease to be cleared from the patient’s body by transferring it to the garment. The mask also protected the plague doctor. Its beak was filled with strong and pleasant substances, ambergris, mint and rose petals.

Offer the world this song of light whispered by a child from Italy, like an autumn conspiracy to birds of misfortune, carriers of epidemics.

November 24 to December 1


prayer for our girls

concept & voice:  Manuela Morgaine

music & soundscape: ∑ichaël Grébil

When it happened in Nigeria April 14th 2014,  i couldn’t pronounce BRING BACK OUR GIRLS. I could only Pray for our girls. I couldn’t pray without pronouncing your names, more than two hundred. I couldn’t pray without asking Michaël Grébil to compose music for this prayer: WITH YOU.

Today in these pandemic times, I still pray for “our girls”, and more and more inside our Choir of women, Crown Letter sisters trying to create a space to be TOGETHER. Today, more and more WITH YOU.

© Manuela Morgaine & ∑ichaël Grébil – 2014.

10 November to 17 November

Automaton – Inside/Outside.
Second Lockdown on the river Seine, Paris.

3 november to 10 November


Grotte naturelle du Circeo, ItaliePhotogramme du film CAVE CANEM ©Manuela Morgaine 2003.
Natural cave of Circeo, Italy – Photogram from the film CAVE CANEM © Manuela Morgaine 2003.

CAVE CANEM – Prends garde au chien – cette inscription on la trouve à l’entrée des anciennes demeures de Pompéi. En Italie OCCHIO, littéralement ŒIL indique un danger imminent dont il faut se protéger. Premier jour du deuxième confinement à Paris, en un temps épidémique hors de contrôle, mêlé à la terreur des couteaux sur la gorge des innocents, l’impression qu’une Peste menace notre Humanité. Cet Œil ouvert reste un refuge et le garant de notre résistance.

CAVE CANEM – Beware of the dog –  this inscription can be found at the entrance to the ancient residences of Pompeii. In Italy OCCHIO, literally EYE indicates an imminent danger from which you must protect yourself. First day of the second Lockdown in Paris, in an epidemic time out of control, mixed with the terror of knives at the throats of the innocent, the impression that a Plague threatens our humanity. This Open Eye remains a refuge and the guarantor of our resistance.

20 October to 27 October


A l’heure où le virus se propage à la vitesse de la lumière à Paris, où la nuit ne se partage plus, où le couvre-feu a été déclaré, où un innocent a été décapité pour avoir transmis à des enfants la liberté de penser, de crument dessiner, je marche dans les rues de Gênes en Italie. Je découvre la tête de Saint Jean-Baptiste déposée en “décollation” et la Madone du Lait – ou Vierge Lactens – à qui les parents font Offrande des bavoirs de leurs enfants. En laissant couler des larmes, je forme des voeux.

SAINT-JEAN BAPTISTE – Trésor de la chapelle de San Lorenzo, Gênes.

MADONNA DEL LATTE – – Chiesa delle Vigne, Gênes.

6 October to 13 October


Lockdown Harvest: between March and September 2020

It took all this time to grow the grains and pick them.



بدأ الزمن في التوقف


Suis d’instinct

Tout ce que tu ne comprends pas



Cris encore à la Nuit

Compte les nuits de guerre

Compte les jours de paix

Compte les heures sans le sang

Compte sur ta main

Tes ancêtres

Raconte pour refermer les plaies

Raconte pour enfanter

Sans douleur


Tout ce qui se forme

Et ne se détruit pas

Invente le

Pour qu’il existe

Dans ta langue

Et qu’on s’y love Indéfiniment

Dans la boucle du vivant

Je te dis :

Prends ta propre nature

Non la multitude

Pour guide de ta vie

Prends toi

A part entière

Divination proférée au nombril

Au chœur du flanc des hommes

Peuple multi-racial

Aux multiples bras

Issu du milieu du monde

Manuela Morgaine

poésies oraculaires, 2020 

May 12 to May 19


When there are no more words, none at all, when there is nothing more to say, just sketchy gestures, when artistic breath is reduced to the essential, to the very breath of life, then what remains is this handmade gesture – with a megaphone, or a siren, or fog horns, or song, with hands applauding the care-givers every evening at 8 p.m. I am in Paris, this takes place on the river Seine, on a Freyssinet barge, Saturn, which dates from the time of the Spanish flu. My maternal great grandmother, Esther Louza, died from this flu in 1919. So, for me, each evening is like a ritual, the only possible gesture at sunset to ward off the dead and testify to the living. While waiting to rise to the surface again, to cry out, to be born again.

Manuela Morgaine is a writer, a theatre director, a filmmaker and a performer living and working in Paris. She runs Envers Compagnie (link:, which has been devoted to the production of interdisciplinary works since 1991. She is the author of several books and experimental radio documentaries broadcast on National French radio station France Culture. She has given her voice to numerous radio and film projects, and has directed several movies, including the four-part, four-hour long Foudre/Lightning (link: in 2013. She is also a performer and actually working on ORAKL, a long-term project on the question of Oracles, involving research on oracular traditions all around the Mediterranean. The project will culminate in a book of oracular poems as well as an installation-performance involving a large sculpted door made out of ice acting the role of interactive oracle.

%d bloggers like this: