– Autumn/Winter 2000

The Parallax View

Clémentine Deliss

8th January 1999, Le Bilboquet Bar, Dakar: No confusion, the spy paradigm continues. Flown over by the President and sitting now in the French-Lebanese bar painted in the colours of the Senegalese flag with fleur-de-lys decorations; fifty yards from the Presidency of the Republic of Senegal and the Ministry of Culture; a hundred yards from the Gouye-Gui restaurant, the former seat of the Laboratoire Agit'Art.1

I am waiting at the bar for a member to arrive: connecting with ambassadors and ministers who are writers and philosophers; taking over eighty taxis in five weeks; talking late into the night in the salons and studios of members of the Laboratoire, investigating idioms of wrestling (Lewto) anchored in the verb as knowledge (Jemmel). 'Lewto Xam dina indie Jemmel'2 or 'the faculty of the unforeseeable can initiate representation in a state of movement, from the anatomical outwards'.

Two men in high-class gowns sit at the bar. The barman recognises me from previous trips. 'How is London?' he asks. He serves me pickles. In Dakar, video-eyes are everywhere. 'I saw you on the Corniche two days ago in the company of three men'; 'I saw you drive past in a taxi near Point E'; 'You didn't call us but we saw you crossing the motorway on foot'; 'I know you already'. Sound/hearing, vision/watching, gesture/moving, - the words are like bullets that can no longer be retrieved. Here one always needs a witness or one risks losing the presence of the

  1. Members include: El Sy; El Hadji Sv; Joe Ouakam; Issa Samb; Makena; Pap Oumar Diop; Ablayc Dani Diop; Magaye Niang; Mamadou Traore Diop; Babacar Traore; Bouna Medoune Seye; and Djibril Diop Mambety and others. For further material on the Laboratoire Agit'Art see El Hadji Sy, 'Objects of Performance' and other articles in Clémentine Deliss (ed.), Seven Stories about Modern Art in Africa, London: Whitechapel Art Gallery and Paris: Flammarion, 1995; 'Ecran-Memoire 1' by Clémentine Deliss & Les Compagnons du 1er Jour de la Renaissance, 'Laboratoire Agit'Art, Dakar & Factual Nonsense, Fama & Fortune, no.17, Vienna: Verlag Pakesch & Schlebrugge, 1996; and Metronome, no.0, Dakar,1996; no.1, London, 1997 and no.3, Basel.

  2. Wolof: national language of Senegal.

  3. NGO: Non-Governmental Organisation.

  4. Issa Samb, 'And this time that chases after us...', translated by Lulu Norman in Metronome no.1, London, 1997

  5. Richard Dowden on Newsnight, BBC2, 7 January 1999

  6. Issa Samb in conversation with Célmentine Deliss, January 1999

  7. For a detailed discussion on Huit Facettes and Superflex see Gardar Eide Einnarson in Metronome, no.4, 5 and 6, Frankfurt, Vienna, Bordeaux, Edinburgh & Biella, 1999

  8. See 'Tempolabor - A libertine laboratory?' in Metronome, no.3, Basel, 1998. Available from the Kunsthalle Basel.

  9. From 16 June to 18 July eighteen students from the following eight academies were invited to the Cittadellarte in Biella, a foundation run by Michelangelo Pistoletto: Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam; Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux; Proto Academy, College of Art, Edinburgh; Stadelschule, Frankfurt; Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem; Villa Arson, Nice; Akademie der bildenden Kunste, Vienna. For further information see http://www.cittadellarte.it. Quotes from Michelangelo Pistoletto were gathered by the author during sessions in the Metronome 'Bureau d'Esprit' at the Cittadellarte.

  10. See Edouard Glissant, 'The Chaos World: Towards an aesthetic of Relation', in Metronome, no.1, London, 1997

  11. See note 8

  12. Hal Foster, The Return of the Real, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996

  13. Hélène Cixous & Mireille Calle-Gruber, Rootprints. Memory and Life Writing, London: Routledge, 1997