And what if Ulysses, on his return from his time travel, had only found undecipherable scribbles, broken pieces, sombre and shifting landscapes, memories scratched like splinters? A disturbing disorder has established itself all around in which eyes and ears seem in a constant state of waiting, as if they are prisoners of these fragments of a reality so gripping, obtuse, impossible to avoid and yet lying, fleeing, opaque. The spectator of The White She-camel then might have a premonition about what it means to be “a stranger in the world”, like solitary weight, but also like tension of discovery, like desire to retrieve his past, like a longing to find a viable place. However, only few things will come to his rescue. A truck disappears in the landscape like a ship in the sea. A woman in a flowery dress bathes in a sea of blood. A child watches us with stunned eyes. The carcass of a strange soviet machine lies on the ground. In this work, Xavier Christiaens has invented a new way of remembering, to turn back time by single jolts, by upheaval, by negative “apparitions”, declaiming time like a song that is said backwards.

2006, 52’, video, colour & b/w, sound, English text

Xavier Christiaens, The White She-camel, 2006