Le Champ de Mars

“the appearance of the desert of the real”

Le Champ de Mars is a large public park in Paris, France, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. In the evening it becomes a place of gathering, to awe to the magical show of the city of light. An enchanting place, at first glance, however, other realities pierce through.

The park is named after the Roman god of war. Southeast of the park there is the École Militaire (Military School). The name alludes to the fact that the green lawns formerly were used as drilling and marching grounds by the French military. Footage and sound for this short film were captured on the 13th of November 2021, at the front door of Paris Photo 2021, exactly 6 years after the six terrorist attacks in Paris.

“The experience that life more and more is an artificially constructed universe, gives rise to an irresistible urge to ‘return to the Real’, to regain firm ground in some ‘real reality’. The real which returns has the status of a(nother) semblance: precisely because it is real, that is, on account of its traumatic/excessive character, we are unable to integrate in into (what we experience as) our reality, and are therefore compelled to experience it as a nightmarish apparition.” (Slavoj Zizek, Welcome to the Desert of the Real, 2002: Verso, London)

Directed by Nikolaas Boucquey (Belgium)

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