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Racines et Silence

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Where are you from? A video of the Carnoux library poses a question on identity.


Made for the 10th anniversary of the Carnoux library, designed by the architects Fernandez and Serres, Racines&Silence is a short video made on commission by Lucas Bacle that offers a reflection both on the roots of oneself and on the possibilities of video as a medium to show an institutional space in a new light.

Concrete, glass, light: the medialibrary is pictured in its essential components. The video shows the bones, the bare structure of the building, but quickly it is transformed in a reflection on the purposes of the library itself. Notably, Carnoux is a little city where a lot of expatriates live: as many cities in France, Carnoux has been the arrival point for people coming all over the world and especially from the former colonies, such as Morocco, Algeria and North Africa, so here, more than ever, the question of identity is deeply felt by the inhabitants (second-generations, immigrants, exiles) of the community. Walking in and out the rooms, a young man keeps wondering if he will never find a place he could call home: "When we are not from somewhere - he asks - are we from nowhere? or everywhere”. He's the protagonist of the video, a - as the French would call it - deracinè, who tries to understand his place in the world: is it important to have roots? What are they meant for? Standing there, looking the world from inside, he understands that he does not need roots in order to feel from somewhere: the library, seen as a whole, altogether building and books, can offer him comfort, solace and freedom too. "As if being from somewhere could help be better somewhere, yet it's something that always made me want to be from here: it's beautiful, especially now where everything comes from elsewhere, so what a lot for those to whom fate has not offered root."

Lucas Bacle completed his task of showing the library producing a poetic and unusual video. Here, the reading rooms, the shelves full of books and magazines become a path towards a deeper knowledge of the human condition: "I tried to keep some memories and traces, I did not leave anything"; if the ink (in french: encrage) on the paper can anchor (ancrage) us to the land, buildings like this can be our Ithaca and us new Ulysses ready to tell our history.

(Story by Sara Marzullo, The Architecture Player)

Authors icon Credits

Architect: Atelier Fernandez&Serres
Mentioned project: Médiathèque Albert Camus (2004-2007)
Project location: Carnoux, France
Actor: Manuel Pougès

France 2016
Duration: 3'08"