NOSTALGIA FOR THE PRESENT

Fotoarbeiten von Bart Deseyn aus den Bergdörfern Marokkos
Berberteppiche aus der Sammlung Blazek
Ausstellung vom 10. November bis 7. Dezember 2012 in Graz
 
Photos from Moroccan mountain villages by Bart Deseyn
Berber carpets from the Blazek collection
Exhibition from 10th of November through 7th of December 2012 in Graz
 
Ort:  BLAZEK. berber. carpets + textiles
        Leonhardstrasse 12, 8010 Graz

√Ėffnungszeiten:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Dienstag - Freitag 11.00 - 18.30, Samstag 10.00 - 13.00
 
Alle Fotos in verschiedenen Größen + limitierten Auflagen zu verkaufen.
All photos available in different sizes + limited editions.
 
 
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Morocco Anti Atlas Ait Herbil agadir nId Aissa © Bart Deseyn
Morocco Anti Atlas Ait Herbil agadir nId Aissa © Bart Deseyn
 
 
 
 
Morocco Anti Atlas Ait Herbil agadir nId Aissa view from above© Bart Deseyn
Morocco Anti Atlas Ait Herbil agadir nId Aissa view from above © Bart Deseyn
 
 
 
 
Morocco Dra valley ksar Tissergate 2 berber girls © BartDeseyn
Morocco Dra valley ksar Tissergate 2 berber girls © Bart Deseyn
 
 
 
 
Morocco Anti Atlas Ida Ou Gnidif agadir Ighir Ifrane © BartDeseyn
Morocco Anti Atlas Ida Ou Gnidif agadir Ighir Ifrane © Bart Deseyn
 
 
 
 
Morocco Dra valley ksar Tissergate cemetery and marabout ©Bart Deseyn
Morocco Dra valley ksar Tissergate cemetery and marabout © Bart Deseyn
 
 
 
 
Morocco Dra valley ksar Tissergate haratine berber girls ©Bart Deseyn
Morocco Dra valley ksar Tissergate haratine berber girls © Bart Deseyn
 
 
 
 
Morocco Dra valley ksar Tissergate house interior kitchen ©Bart Deseyn
Morocco Dra valley ksar Tissergate house interior kitchen © Bart Deseyn
 
 
 
 
Morocco Dra valley ksar Tissergate house interior patio gallery© Bart Deseyn
Morocco Dra valley ksar Tissergate house interior patio gallery © Bart Deseyn
 
 
 
 
Morocco High Atlas Agoundis Tagharghist Berber girl © BartDeseyn
Morocco High Atlas Agoundis Tagharghist Berber girl © Bart Deseyn
 
 
 
 
Azilal Region, Hoher Atlas, Marokko, ca. 1980, 180 x 155 cm
Azilal Region, Hoher Atlas, Marokko, ca. 1980, 180 x 155 cm
 
 
 
 
Ourika Tal, Hoher Atlas, Marokko, ca. 1990, 170 x 120 cm
Ourika Tal, Hoher Atlas, Marokko, ca. 1990, 170 x 120 cm
 
 
 
 
Beni Mguild, Mittlerer Atlas, Marokko, ca. 1920/30, 300x190 cm
Beni Mguild, Mittlerer Atlas, Marokko, ca. 1920/30, 300x190 cm
 
 
 
 
Morocco High Atlas Agoundis Tagharghist Berber girl carrying barley© Bart Deseyn
Morocco High Atlas Agoundis Tagharghist Berber girl carrying barley © Bart Deseyn
 
 
 
 
Morocco High Atlas Agoundis Tagharghist Berber truck © BartDeseyn
Morocco High Atlas Agoundis Tagharghist Berber truck © Bart Deseyn
 
 
 
 
Morocco High Atlas Agoundis Tagharghist Berber village madrassa© Bart Deseyn
Morocco High Atlas Agoundis Tagharghist Berber village madrassa © Bart Deseyn
 
 
 
 
Morocco High Atlas Agoundis Tagharghist Berber village sheep ©Bart Deseyn
Morocco High Atlas Agoundis Tagharghist Berber village sheep © Bart Deseyn
 
 
 
Morocco High Atlas Agoundis Tagharghist Berber woman with children© Bart Deseyn
Morocco High Atlas Agoundis Tagharghist Berber woman with children © Bart Deseyn
 
 
 
Morocco High Atlas Agoundis Tagharghist blond Berber girl ©Bart Deseyn
 
 

NOSTALGIA FOR THE PRESENT
THE BERBERS AND THEIR HABITAT IN SOUTHERN MOROCCO

This photographic project focusses on the context and the social organization of Berber society in rural Morocco. The major source of inspiration for this work was the essay La maison Kabyle ou le monde renvers√© by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. He focused on the relation between the house and its ideological and symbolic significance. My own experience in Morocco equally convinced me that social organization in Berber society at any given time or place has always been expressed through a collective creativity which shapes their habitat. Whether it concerns the tents of the semi-nomads of the Middle Atlas, a village in the High Atlas, or a ksar (fortified village) in the valley of the Dr√Ęa, the intimate relationship between the surroundings and the human settlement is always a testimony to the refined social organization of Berber society. It is these testimonies that I have documented in five rural Berber communities in Morocco.



MOROCCO, THE HEARTLAND OF BERBER CULTURE
This project is focused on Morocco because it harbors the largest Berber populations of Northern Africa. Although Morocco never had a census taken along ethno linguistic lines, it is commonly agreed that about 40 percent of the population consists of Berber speakers. Moreover, in Morocco, Berber culture has flourished incomparably. Briefly, Morocco was and still is the heartland of Berber culture.


HABITAT AS A STATEMENT OF CULTURAL IDENTITY
I consider habitat as the primary statement of cultural identity, especially in rural communities such as the ones I am documenting. In this case the term ‚Äėhabitat‚Äô should be interpreted in the broadest sense. I‚Äôm not only referring to houses and formal architecture, but also to functional and collective constructions such as irrigation canals, fields, terraces, pastures, shepherds‚Äô shelters, olive presses, granaries, etc.. In Berber communities building and living are integrated as collective activities. This conception implies an approach that assigns a preeminent role to the users, the inhabitants. What I‚Äôm trying to show is how habitat emerges in dialogue with the geographical constraints, how habitat fulfills the cultural and social needs of a people, and how Berbers manage the extreme natural elements to make space habitable.


A HOUSE FOR THE FUTURE
Apart from offering a survey of Berber culture in rural Morocco, this project may also serve as an instrument for reflection on the social and environmental consequences of habitat in general. Western society is faced with a fundamental ecological and energy crisis. Within decades the end of the unbridled use of fossil fuels is expected. We have to anticipate the important cultural shift this will bring, and live up to the requirements of sustainable development. At present, building and living are responsible for the largest energy consumption next to transport and industry. This fact implies a radical modification of our housing concepts. It means we have to re-design our houses in a way that they are less dependent on energy consumption, wasteful production techniques, and industrial materials such as concrete, steel and synthetic products. It involves a modern and post-industrial use of natural materials: wood of course, but also natural stone and earth. In other words, we will need to return to the same primary materials the Berbers value and use so well. This photographic project hopes to contribute to a better appreciation of traditional building skills. All too often these are considered as primitive, although they have always satisfied the demands of what we define today as sustainable development.


COMPREHENSIVENESS THROUGH SPECIFICITY
Given the social and geographical complexity of Morocco, this project is structured around a selection of seven rural Berber communities. Each one is representative on a sociological, linguistic as well as on an architectural level. By immersing myself for several weeks in each community, I hope to understand and reveal something of its identity. The purpose of this method is to illustrate the general via specific cases.


THE PHOTOGRAPHIC APPROACH
This work is conceived as an extensive ethnographic photo-essay. It consists of landscapes, architecture and portraits. Habitat and its inhabitants form the axis. With great care for the form and structure of the dwellings I try to render visible something as abstract as ‚Äėsocial organization‚Äô.
Fierce academic debates rage on the use and meaning of photography in social sciences. More specifically, about the tension between reality and representation, the problem of accuracy in ethnographic photography.
How do different cultures see and interpret each other. An important element in this type of photography is the quest for a realistic method to represent the subject.
How to photograph people in a realistic way? How to achieve authenticity? Some colleagues decide to take photos surreptitiously, to ‚Äústeal‚ÄĚ photos. Others hand over the control of the camera to the subject. They do this to exclude the intervention of the photographer, who is culturally biased. The reality is, of course, that the mere presence of a camera and a Westerner, changes the behavior of people. I opted for a compromise:
For the execution of this work I have chosen to use a 4 x 5 inch field camera. This is a choice with far-reaching consequences. Firstly, it’s a large camera that has to be put on a tripod and manipulated beneath a black cloth. This implies the photographer has little space to move and that he is very visible. As a result any improvisation is restricted to a minimum. Moreover, exposure with this type of camera is limited to a single shot, unlike the fast repetitive takes allowed by handheld cameras. This method makes it virtually impossible to secretly steal images or portraits. It appears paradoxical, but it is this time-consuming process and the size of the camera that have made me choose it. The installation of the equipment and the actual making of the picture are an almost ritual enterprise. In this way the inherently aggressive action of the photographer is softened and considered much less as an intrusion upon one’s privacy. Also, the people I am portraying perceive this deliberate and time consuming method as the appropriate way of being photographed.
I finally opted for black & white photography because it reduces the image to its essence: light, contrast, texture and shape. The viewer is not overwhelmed by an explosion of color that distracts attention from the subject. Black & white is honest and simple, with soft shades of gray it keeps the attention and incites the viewer to look beyond the superficial. It’s about the essence.

BART DESEYN


© Berber-Arts Top