Adel Abdessemed

‘Printemps’, 2013
Installation, HD video projection, color and sound, 19 sec (loop)
dimensions vary (aspect ratio 16:9)

This video piece, projected as a loop, was shot in Fez, Morocco. It shows the horizontal surface of a brick wall on which roosters of various colors are lined up, tethered by their feet. Several of them twist and turn, squawking and flapping their wings as flames burn their hind parts. The compulsive jerks alternate among the chickens, steadily diminishing—until the loop recommences.

Made during the uprisings in North Africa, Printemps alludes to the Arab Spring, although without establishing any clear links to the protagonists of those events. The violence shown here is carried out on harmless animals, and might refer to the flames of torture, explosions, or bombardment. As exhibited at Doha, the image was projected simultaneously on three walls, thereby immersing the viewer, who is directly confronted by the violence, with no possibility of retreat.

Angela Mengoni

The flames were a special effect used by Abdessemed during the film, no birds were harmed during the making of this work.