Shot at the beginning of 2005 during a stay in the Yemen, the film Arabian Stars stages Yemenite citizens crossed according to the journey. The characters agreed to get caught up, to walk in front of the camera by holding cardboard colored posters, on which are handwritten in Arabic the names of famous, real and fictitious, international and local characters (Michael Jackson, Pikachu, James Bond ou Zinedine Zidane but also the singer Abo Bakr Saalem, the poets Al Zubeiri ou Albaradoni, the minister of human rights (a woman) Amat al-Alim al-Susua…) . Their occupations interrupted for a moment by this improper gesture, these improvised performers so walk in their daily environment, the cities of Sana'a, Shibam, Aden or the desert. Also, the words in Arabic registered on posters find in these moved contexts a less evident meaning. Of long shots sequences succeed one another, settling the glance in a dilated time.
The film is projected in a room repainted in light green, color from Yemenite inside. Eighty-two made different chairs (in echo to eighty-two characters of the film) wait for the spectators. Thirty seven colored posters are hung on the wall.
Arabian Stars is in the continuity of Anarchitekton (2002-2004) and (a crime) (2004), previous both projects. In Anarchitekton, a singular character crosses four cities (Barcelona, Bucharest, Brasilia, Osaka) brandishing cardboard models, precarious reproductions of diverse buildings, grotesque banners, utopian or brilliant provocations banners. In (a crime), a group of twelve unknown persons holds letters in volume which build along the narrative of a news item of the end of the 19th century such as it was told in the "Le Petit journal", the daily paper of this time. The narrative takes place in the places of the city where the crime was able to be committed.
" I was conscious to work inside the field of the representation, literally immersed in sets, building the slightest object, locked on the film set … After Le dortoir, I decided to open a door, to go out with a cardboard box in the street and to work on the scene of the reality to see how she could be contaminated by the fiction. " With Anarchitekton, I confronted cities with their architectural icons; in (a crime), it is a question of seeing how the city can be lived by narratives; in Arabian Stars, it is question to show names which constitute an imagination, that of the mass culture, in a context which does not belong to it : Yemen. " (1)
In three videos, the characters, more and more numerous, drag objects: models of architectures, letters in volume, posters carrying names, all cardboard. " Yemen is the context and the ground is the reality. " (2) For the writer Eduardo Mendoza, " it is not easy to imagine what these characters represent in the Yemen: we shall never know which decoration is the one of Sherlock Holmes in the imagination of a Bedouin. " (3)
1. Jordi Colomer in ABC de las artes y las letras, Madrid, Oct. 2005
2. William Jeffett, " Estrellas en el desierto / Desert stars ", in Jordi Colomer - Arabian Stars, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; Salvador Dali Museum, Saint-Petersburg, Florida, U.S.A., 2005
3. Eduardo Mendoza, "Estrellas Fugaces/Fugaces/Falling Stars", op. cit.
Arabian Stars. Nuit Blanche, La Goutte d'or. Paris 2006
video and projection room
master HD CAM
edition of 5 ex. and 1 AP
Cameraman: David Amell
Assistant photor: Sergi Olivares
Production during the shoot: Alexandra Filiatreau, Luiz Fernando Campiello
Video Edition: Adolf Alcañiz (METRONOM-LAB)
Audio Post production: Viuda Xing Pirata
Video Post production: Infinia
Pre production: Claire Mortimer (Años luz, Barcelona), Gold Moore Tours, Sana'a
Translator: Mohamed Nagui Atef
Drivers: Abdul Gawy Hidriy, Fuad Hamod
Painters: Rasam Al Katá, Fuad Hamod, Mohamed Nagui
Ministery of Information of Yemen Inspector: Ahmed Alhabi
Co produced by: Willian Jeffett for the Salvador Dalí Museum St Petersburg (Florida, USA), Hank HIne director Espacio 1, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid), Maravills (Barcelona)
Thanks to: Frank Wolinski, WEDU, Tampa (Florida)
Collection: Musée national d'art moderne Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris)
La sixième continent/théorie de la frontière (2010) Morad Montazami (fr)
Other stars (2008) Christine Van Assche (eng)
Falling stars (2005) Eduardo Mendoza (eng)
From Picasso to Pikachu (2005) William Jeffett (eng)