Kunstmuseum aan zee Collecties van
de Vlaamse Gemeenschap
Stad Oostende


Comitee Mu.ZEE 2.0 sugests : Enter #4 - The Chouas - A Work in Progress - Saddie Choua

Saddie Choua's work goes beyond film and documentary. She creates a fragmented docu-artistic journey in which the limits between fiction and nonfiction are fragile. Her aim is to make the viewer critical by metadocumentary interventions and narrative deconstruction.

The Chouas - A Work in Progress  started from an old photograph of Saddie Choua’s father and his four brothers. Three of them emigrated. One turned back. Two stayed in Morocco.   It is an ongoing lifework in episodes, an artwork in which the alienation of the immigrant families in Europe, the self-portraits in the Diaspora, the historical HIS/stories, and the specters of the homeland are explored in multiple narrative threads and media. It will e.g. refer to soap series and other popular formats.
Yet the challenge is to create with exhibitions ‘situations’ which reveal the power structures behind the images we internalize and reproduce. In the Chouas the medium is not only a communication tool; the medium ìs the message.

# Episode 3 I swear by God Almighty, I say the truth and nothing but the truth For Episode 3 Saddie Choua returned to the ruins of her grandfather’s house in Kebdana, in the Rif region. He was caïd there and the ruin embodies the family history. Apparently twelve testimonies are needed to declare the house belonged to the Choua family.

The Chouas #Episode3 is about the quest of these testimonies and the new narratives it might bring along; about the possible symbolic meaning of the quest for the testimonies as the quest for the Rif history. Are we stuck in stereotypical imagery because we don’t tell the true stories? Is the reproduction of stereotypes maintaining the ruling powers? When Saddie Choua questions discourses on origin, identity and roots, strangely enough her search for the origin becomes a discovery (of images) of the future.

The challenge is not only to present the particular story of a family dealing with migration, but to create a situation in which the spectator discovers the tricky mechanisms of film and entertainment (soaps, documentaries,… etc) in order to experience the true nature of human existence.

Therefore, The Chouas - A Work in Progress  is not a reality show or a soap about family matters with juicy stories on conflict of cultures and religions, superstition… It’s rather an environment in which I, daughter of one of the Chouas, try to find, try to restore, the language of the migrant him/herself. In the tradition of Frantz Fanon, whose known as a radical existential humanist thinker on the issue of decolonization and the psychopathology of colonization, I am aware of the fact that migrants don’t have any control anymore over ‘their images’. The images of migrants as shown in the media are not their images. Those images create a fake perception of ‘the other’, which creates at last estrangement and alienation. My approach is to create a situation, an environment where images, sounds and spaces break with the language of contemporary media, break with the excited hunger for exoticism or worse, the pseudo reality shows where an assumed dayliness is evoked. As Guy Debord promoted any method of making one or more individuals critically analyze their everyday life, and to recognize and pursue their true desires in their lives, I would like to base this continuous and never-ending work on this basic assumptions, and go beyond the atrocities of the ‘Society of Spectacle’ (1967, Guy Dubord).

The Chouas are a constant work in progress, much like life itself. So every now and then an episode will come out.  Also fragments of The Chouas #Episode1 are on show.


Overview past exhibitions »

18/06/2016 - 25/09/2016
€9 single adult
€7,50 55+, groups ≥15 pp
€1 13-26 years old
Free up to 12 years