Les Images à l'épreuve du terrain: Images in the Field 1/4
Meeting with the Fondation Institut Kurde, Paris
20 February 2018
19h00 to 21h00
Concorde, Paris

In relation to the the work of Susan Meiselas, NGOs including the Centre Hubertine Auclert, the Centre Audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir, the Centre Primo Levi, FIT, PEROU and the Fondation Institut Kurde in Paris are invited to the exhibition space at Jeu de Paume to share with visitors their experiences in the field and discuss their action to counter violence against women and assist migrants and refugees. How do images fit into their ideas and activity generally?

Susan Meiselas has been documenting the realities of the Kurdish experience since 1991. In 1997 she published Kurdistan. In the Shadow of History, a unique volume evoking the memory of the Kurds, a people without their own state or national archives. The book brings together testimony from those who went into exile and those who stayed, and invites travellers, merchants, missionaries and bureaucrats to speak about a history that is constantly threatened with obliteration by the refusal to accord recognition. Apart from photographs taken by Meiselas herself, the book offers a very rich set of materials, both photographic and textual, comparing media coverage of events and the accounts of those who experienced them from within. The book preserves images, memories, thoughts, statements, evidence and discourse in way that is both precise and instructive.

In her work Susan Meiselas tries to get beyond the narrow limits of the history book and create a space that is open to collective memory. She has created akaKURDISTAN, a Web archive designed to extend the book and provide a platform for lasting participation. akaKURDISTAN is pioneering a new kind of collective historiography made possible by digital technology.
This project has also borne fruit in “akaKURDISTAN & Story Map,” a physical exhibition. In addition to the archive, this exhibited version of the project comprises an unofficial political map of Kurdistan, with leaflets hanging from a thin chain (description based on a text by Işin Önol in the exhibition catalogue, “Susan Meiselas. Médiations”).

These handmade booklets are created in workshops led by Meiselas in locations around the world, wherever she presents the exhibition. They contain stories and dialogues with Kurdish participants about their experiences and memories of Kurdistan. In each workshop, Meiselas garners these stories from different regions the better to represent the Kurdish diaspora around the world.

The collaboration here between the Fondation Institut Kurde in Paris and Jeu de Paume is part of this ongoing workshop process. This event will present the actions of the Institut and present the exchanges that have taken place there.

The Fondation Institut Kurde Paris
Created in February 1983, the Institut Kurde is a non-political and secular independent cultural organisation bringing together Kurdish intellectuals and artists from various backgrounds as well as western specialists on the Kurdish world. Its aim is to sustain the Kurdish community’s relation to its language, history and cultural heritage, to help with the integration of Kurdish immigrants in their host societies in Europe, and to promote awareness among the international public of Kurdish culture and history, and of the current situation of the Kurds.

Meeting in the “Susan Meiselas” exhibition with the Fondation Institut Kurde de Paris, Tuesday 20 February 2018 at 7 pm.
Admission free with that day’s exhibition ticket.
Information: infoauditorium@jeudepaume.org