Raphaël Grisey & Bouba Touré
Xaraasi Xanne – Crossing Voices 2021 exhibition version, 110’
Using rare cinematic, photographic and sound archives, Xaraasi Xanne - Crossing Voices recounts the exemplary adventure of Somankidi Coura, an agricultural cooperative created in Mali in 1977 by western African immigrant workers living in workers’ residences in France. The story of this improbable, utopic return to the homeland follows a winding path that travels through the ecological challenges and conflicts on the African continent from the 1970s to the present day.
To tell this story, Bouba Touré, one of its principal actors, returns to the heart of his personal archives. They document peasant struggles in France and Mali as well as following the personal stories of migrant workers over many decades. Furthermore, the film is a story of transmission, kinship and cinematographic geographies. It is the story of Bouba Touré with filmmaker Raphaël Grisey, who became Bouba’s spiritual son, but it also chronicles Bouba’s relationship with militant filmmakers such as Sidney Sokhona or Med Hondo. Over the course of the film, different voices enter the sound-scape to accompany Bouba Touré’s voice; they bring the tale of a forgotten memory toward a possible future sung by an electronic griot storyteller.
The film will be screened as a work in progress in anticipation of its final version.
• Bouba Touré was born in 1948 in Tafacirga, former French Sudan, now Mali. He was a migrant worker when he arrived in France in 1965. Then, he began working as a projectionist in 1969, and later became a photographer. Since the 1970s, he has been documenting the lives and struggles of migrant workers’ movements, as well as the foundation of the agricultural cooperative Somankidi Coura in Mali. In the past years, this working photographic archive has been complemented by video productions. In 1977, Touré founded the agricultural cooperative Somankidi Coura on the Senegal River in Mali, along with 14 other former activist migrant workers who decided to come up with an alternative way of thinking that involved subsistence agriculture instead of massive rural exodus to cities or to Europe. Since 2006 he has worked extensively with the French artist Raphaël Grisey on projects such as Cooperative (2008) and Sowing Somankidi Coura – a Generative Archive (2015 –), a long-term research on permaculture and cooperative archives that collects texts, voices, images, footage and research around the pan-African history of Somankidi Coura, the liberation struggles of migrant workers and farmers in France and West Africa, thinking about a decolonization policy for agriculture, migration, care, soil and archive. In 2015, he published the book Notre case est à Saint Denis (Our house is in Saint Denis). In 2021, Touré was completing the feature film Xaraasi Xanne - Crossing Voices together with Grisey. Touré passed away in January 2022 after a long illness.
• Raphaël Grisey lives and works in Berlin and Trondheim. Grisey uses video, editorial and photographic works to gather or produce narratives about the politics of memory, migration and architecture. His work has been shown in various art centres including HKW, Berlin (2020), Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh (2020), Aperto, Montpellier (2020), Contour Biennale, Mechelen (2019), Jeu de Paume (2019), Savvy Contemporary, Berlin (2019), Den Frie, Copenhagen (2019), Kunsthall Trondheim (2019), Museum of Contemporary Art, Yinchuan (2018), Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen (2017), MCA Chicago (2014).
• Avery F. Gordon was a Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara for thirty years, Visiting Faculty Fellow at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and is currently Visiting Professor at Birkbeck School of Law University of London. In 2012, she was the Anna Maria Kellen Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. She is the author of The Hawthorn Archive: Letters from the Utopian Margins; The Workhouse: The Breitenau Room (with Ines Schaber); Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination; Keeping Good Time: Reflections on Knowledge, Power and People and Mapping Multiculturalism, among other books and articles. Her work focuses on radical thought and practice and she writes about captivity, enslavement, war and other forms of dispossession and how to eliminate them. She serves on the Editorial Committee of the journal Race & Class and has been the co-host of No Alibis, a weekly public affairs radio program on KCSB FM Santa Barbara since 1997. She is the former keeper of the Hawthorn Archive, which records the living history of a group of runaways, secessionists and in-differents who form autonomous zones and settlements.