On 5 November 2002 the refugee camp at Sangatte, in France's Pas-de-Calais département, was closed by Nicolas Sarkozy, Minister of the Interior, with the French and British governments hailing the event as a great victory in the fight against illegal immigration and the crime it was said to be generating. First opened in September 1999 and run by the Red Cross, the centre — in what was originally a depot for the machines used to dig the Channel Tunnel — housed up to 1200 migrants at a time, mainly Afghans, Kosovars, Iraqis and Iranians in search of a passage to England.
Neither the closure of the camp or the intensified police repression that followed did anything to stem the flow of migrants: Calais remains the French city nearest to England and its port's capacity for trucks in transit is constantly being increased.
Between 2008 and 2014 numbers in Sangatte remained stable. Local community associations estimated that there was a permanent population of 400–600 people living on vacant lots and in the woods around the city.
Police response remained stable too: there were regular incursions into the different camps, where the shelters were demolished and the migrants arrested, only to be released a few days later. The camps then reformed a little further out, always following the rule of small groupings — mostly according to nationality — scattered around the outskirts or in abandoned buildings. I stopped going to Calais to take photographs, but kept in touch with the situation.
In 2015, however, the authorities came up with a fresh strategy aimed at emptying the city of its migrants and controlling them more effectively. Implemented by Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister for the Interior in the government headed by Manuel Valls, this strategy involved forcibly regrouping all migrants from in and around Calais near a day centre opened on 15 April. All the camps were then demolished and the migrants escorted by the police to what local community associations now call the State Shantytown or the State Ghetto.
These changed circumstances prompted me to go back to Calais and re-embark on my series for an indefinite period. My first photographs were taken in April, when the Jules Ferry day centre opened. Since then most of the associations concerned have drawn attention to the dangers of this kind of regrouping, and in particular the violence it gives rise to. As pointed out on the “Passeurs d’Hospitalités” blog, previously “groups formed and dispersed according to rules which, it has to be admitted, we don't really understand. It was wrong of the authorities to put them all together in the same place, just as it was arrogant of some association members to try to turn the shantytown into a village by imposing a simplistic vision — interpreting things in terms of nationality, for example — that didn't match the complex social realities.” In September 2015 the associations calculated that between three and four thousand people were being forced to live in the new camp. The shantytown is at saturation point and violence an almost daily affair. The police do not intervene inside the camp.
The campaign against the plan to create an airport on farmland in the municipality of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, some thirty kilometres from Nantes, was first spotlighted by the French media in 2012 and has hardly left the headlines since. In October of that year "Opération César" saw the police enter the ZAD (Zone à Défendre/Zone to be Defended) in order to demolish illegal buildings and remove the occupants, some of whom had been there for over five years. The aim was to clear the site so that work on the airport could begin. This was when France as a whole discovered a project going back forty years, instigated by the national and regional authorities but fiercely opposed from the outset by local residents and farmers. The blitzkrieg envisaged by the authorities turned into a weeks-long guerrilla struggle, with the occupants backed up by supporters coming from all over Europe and the police unable to dislodge them. The freeze on works announced by the French government in late November 2012 was a victory for the protesters, and the occupation has since gone from strength to strength. Some 200 people are now living on the ZAD site in farmhouses, caravans and cabins. With farmers in the area offering help in the form of advice and loans of machinery, the Zadistas are now growing crops and raising livestock. As in the case of the 1970s struggle to save the Larzac plateau in southwestern France from conversion into an army camp, the Zadistas are not simply an opposition group: they are experimenting with a new form of community in which mutual aid and a collective approach have replaced individualism and private property.
It could even be said that opposition to the airport has now become almost secondary to the defence by the ZAD residents of their territory and the form of communal living they have developed there. The same could be said for the state: the main issue is no longer so much the airport as the re-establishment of order and the reclamation of a territory on which its hold is steadily weakening.
If the airport planned for Notre-Dame-des-Landes ever goes ahead it will cover 1,426 hectares of miraculously preserved bocage and wetlands and entail the destruction of numerous protected animal and plant species.
The project's developers are well aware of the site's ecological interest, having hired the Biotope agency to carry out an inventory. The agency's final report demonstrated the site's value in terms of batrachians (frogs and toads) and birdlife, and listed the presence of 74 species protected under French law. The developers' argument in response was that they would be able to compensate for the enormous loss of biodiversity resulting from the project; environmental protection bodies, on the other hand, contend that there is no possible way of making up for this loss. Given the implicit danger, a group of professional and amateur naturalists decided to join forces as "Naturalistes en Lutte" (Naturalists Strike Back), providing a second expert evaluation in the form of a systematic inventory of the site's habitats, flora and fauna, and making the results available for legal purposes to the environmental protection bodies concerned. The findings of their three-year investigation (2013–2015] are unchallengeable: over 2,000 species were inventoried, of which 130 (and not 74) are protected, 5 were hitherto unknown in France, and dozens more unknown in the surrounding Loire Atlantique département.
In addition to the statistics confirming the site's ecological importance, the group's method deserves attention. The expeditions organised on the second Sunday of every month were open to all comers – to anyone ready to bring their knowledge and skills along and share them. Those attending were there to learn as well as to take part in the struggle against the airport, and it is the collective input of these volunteer naturalists that is currently holding the project in abeyance. This approach made it easy for me to join the group by offering my personal skills; I went our on five expeditions and the photos I took are there for the naturalists to use as they please.
On 24 March 2014 workers at automobile subcontractor Bosal Le Rapide at Beine-Nauroy in France's Marne département, who had been occupying the plant since 20 February, threatened to set fire to the premises. Bosal Le Rapide is a subsidiary of the Dutch group Bosal. Said CGT union representative Gérard Gape, "We have fixed gas bottles to the gates and built an enormous bonfire inside the building, which we are ready to light. In addition the fire tank has been emptied." The 58 workers at this plant specialising in making roof racks for utility vehicles had been occupying the site since the company's liquidation was decided by the Commercial Court in Reims in February. Gape says they are demanding a non-statutory severance package of 40,000 euros per person.
In October 2011 the Dutch group announced the closure of its auto accessories section — relocated to Germany and Hungary — at a cost of 86 jobs.
On Friday 18 April the workers moved the bonfire to the outside of the building and set it alight, marking a close to the occupation. Unlike the employees of automobile subcontractor New Fabris, who received redundancy payments after a similar standoff in 2009, Bosal workers have had no offer from Bosal's management. They have now taken their case to the Industrial Tribunal, pleading unfair dismissal and non-material damage.
Since October 2011 workers at the ArcelorMittal steelworks at Hayange and Florange in Moselle have been fighting the group's "temporary" closure of the U6 blast furnace at Florange. The U6 was France's last functioning blast furnace: first lit in the late 19th century, it was shut down on 3 October 2011.
ArcelorMittal maintains that the furnace will be relit, but given the technical difficulty of the operation the plant's personnel are convinced this will not be the case.
Despite the "steel wants to live" banners hung on every city hall in the surrounding Val de Fensch area, this would seem to be the last battle in France on behalf of an industry that has been in steady decline in Northern Europe since the 1980s.
The events commemorating the first anniversary of the independence of Kosovo on February 17th 2009 were the occasion for me to shoot a first series of photos in Pristina and repeat a procedure that I put into place for my previous series: travel to a destination under my own steam and take photos of an event using a view camera alongside reporters, without having an official press card or invitation.
But I also wanted to return to Kosovo in the absence of any programmed events and media interest. Quite arbitrarily, I allowed myself 5 years during which I would regularly return to Kosovo after which the work would be considered to have reached its term.
I don't wish to answer the question whether I am for or against independence. I acknowledge the facts: a new country has come into existence in Europe. What I find much more interesting is to envisage what this means at a time when questions of identity and immigration are constantly in the headlines.
After decades of civil war between the Sudanese army and rebels from the south finally led to the signing of a peace agreement in 2005 and a process of independence overseen by the United Nations, South Sudan officially became independent on 9 July 2011. The event was marked by three days of ceremonies in the new capital of Juba, attended by a number of heads of state and government representatives. South Sudan thus became the 54th state on the African continent and the UN's 193rd member.
It is also the fourth country since 2000 – together with East Timor (2002), Montenegro (2006) and Kosovo (2008) – to gain its independence in the wake of a civil war that culminated in the partition of a country along ethnic, linguistic or religious lines.
At a conference in Washington Hillary Clinton, head of America's State Department, summed up the country's situation as, "South Sudan survived being born, but does need intensive care." As for the other newly independent nations, it is up to the United Nations to ensure this intensive care; in varying degrees it assisted them along the path to independence and is now taking an active part in establishing executive and judiciary institutions on the model of the parliamentary democracy I live in.
Justifying these wars of independence is not my main concern. In principle I'm always in favour. What bothers me is the role played by other powers in the name of the "right to intervene". As Alain Badiou has said regarding another conflict, "The intervention showed that except in out-of-the-way places where people can go on massacring each other for decades on a small scale without "morality" rising up in protest, the imperial powers – headed by the United States and under the NATO umbrella, with the UN they despise covering for them – hold a monopoly of war that can be summed up as 'We won't let anybody win a war.' […] What counts is that nobody with real goals should triumph. It could be objected that it was as victors in wars that the Western countries, and conspicuously the Americans, have built their power. Exactly right. That only means that the lesson has been learned: 'We won't let anybody become powerful.'"
South Sudan became an independent state in July 2011. The official ceremonies unfolded between July 9 and 11 in Juba, the new capital of the country. After the political ceremonies ended, further celebrations were organized for the people. Three days of festivities ensued, including the presentation of traditional dances and music at the Hakuron Cultural Center; a soccer match between the national teams of Kenya and South Sudan; a basketball game against the national team of Uganda; and an independence celebration in the soccer stadium. The 17 photographs in this series show these patriotic celebrations.
The summer of 2009 was marked in France by widespread strikes and factory sit-ins, all sparked by the same trend of management teams to delocalize production facilities to countries offering cheaper labor. The workers refused to be “discarded like used Kleenex”—a comparison heard time and time again in televised interviews—deciding instead to turn to increasingly radical forms of action in order to obtain a decent severance deal, if nothing else. The workers turned to new tactics such as boss-napping (the practice of detaining management on company premises), destroying equipment, and even threatening to raze the factory to the ground, thereby creating a shift in the balance of power between management and workforce. The conflict between workers and management at the New Fabris factory in Châtellerault drew a great deal of media attention. The factory sit-in began on June 15 with an ultimatum set for July 31. If no financial agreement was reached by then, the factory would be destroyed. The workers showed their determination by setting up gas canisters, which they claimed were linked to a detonator, in a highly visible spot on the roof of one of the factory buildings.
The ultimatum—particularly the way it was staged—not only shaped the negotiations, but also created an attention-grabbing event for the media, and thus indirectly for the government, in the person of Christian Estrosi, the French Minister for Industry. Estrosi was forced to act as a go-between, offering to set up a job protection scheme in the Châtellerault region.
The use of ever more radical tactics—such as the ransack of the sous-préfecture in Compiègne by workers from the Continental factory—as a means of forcing the government, the media, and public opinion to focus on an issue, reflects the breakdown of worker-management relations in a globalized economy.
The series Tibet In Exile (Dharamsala) septembre 2008 takes as its starting point the opening of the 6th session of the 14th assembly of the Tibetan deputies in exile. Meeting twice a year since 1960, the 43 deputies who are elected for 5 years are the representatives of the Tibetan communities in exile in the world. But, beyond their function of bonds between the various communities in exile, the deputies maintain and develop exchanges with the Parliaments of other countries (English deputies attended the opening of the 6th session). By adopting a democratic political system, the Dalaï Lama has allowed Tibet not to only exist in the past, in the books and in the memory of the exiles, but in the present and in the future of internationally recognized institutions.
Rise Up, Resist, Return (New Delhi and Dharamsala), April 2008
In 2008 China hosted the Summer Olympic Games. The Olympic Torch left Greece on March 24th, reaching Beijing on July 6th. All along the route through Europe, the United States and Asia, demonstrators took advantage of the important media attention to protest against the violation of human rights and the freedom of speech in China. The Tibetan exiles took this unique opportunity to organise big demonstrations in different countries
all over the world. In Lhasa, these demonstrations were brutally struck down by the Chinese army, and hundreds were killed. The Tibetans gave this worldwide operation the name of '2008 People's Uprising Movement'.
On the 16th, 17th and 18th of April 2008, the Olympic Torch was in New Delhi. Under the slogan 'No Torch in Tibet', thousands of Tibetan exiles in India came together in the city to protest against the Olympic Torch crossing Tibet. In a powerful symbolical gesture, the Chinese took the Olympic Torch to the top of Mount Everest.
These demonstrations are shown in the photo series Rise Up, Resist, Return (New Delhi and Dharamsala) 2008.
"Bruno Serralongue is an artist who employs the techniques of photojournalism to expose the conditions of contemporary humanity. Instead of focusing on obvious, newsworthy spectacles as a typical journalist might his camera looks around the corner at lesser acknowledged phenomena. Recently, Serralongue's photographs have looked at how people living in the developing world have been impacted by processes of globalization. In so doing he has fulfilled the role of the news photographer but by focusing on neglected areas and aspects he broadens the discussion revealing distortions and gaps in our perception of reality. For Tomorrow Serralonque presents his new work: Mexico City(2007). This piece is a collection of 9 photographs that the artist took while he was living in the Mexican capital (only 7 are shown in this exhibition). Depicting the intersection of human settlement and the natural landscape these photographs show Mexico City's ever sprawling expanse in a manner that causes viewers to wonderlworry what the limit might be while shedding light on the everyday needs and conditions of human community." txt cat Tomorrow, ed.Samuso, 2007, pp.140-143
January 1 st 2006, the subcomandante Marcos, the charismatic spokesperson of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation ( Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional , EZLN), left his South-Eastern Mexican enclave in order to initiate a year-long political campaign throughout the entire country. Although this, "the Other Campaign" took place at the same time as that of the official 2006 presidential election, the goal was significantly different.
The stakes for the Zapatista guerilla were double: to strategically get the media's attention via a particular event: the Delegado Zero left Chiapas on a motorcycle just like Ernesto Guevara had mounted his to cross South America.
However, the reason for this move was also, and more importantly, to seek allies at a time when they felt the impetus of their struggle waning due to a too marked isolation: "This is what we think and feel in our hearts, and which forces us to say that we have come to the threshold of something and that it is possible that we have been losing everything we have. […] Well, the time has once again come to take risks. […] And perhaps only through being linked with other social sectors, which lack the same things as us, will it become possible to obtain what we both need and deserve. A new step forward in the indigenous struggle is only possible if the indigenous peoples unite with the farmers, students, professors and blue-color workers, which is to say, workers in the cities and in the fields." This is what could be read in the press statement of the EZLN from June on in 2005.
The second phase the World Summit on the Information Society was held in Tunis from the 16 th to the 18 th of November, 2005. Representatives from 170 participating countries reaffirmed, from the first article of the Engagement of Tunis adopted at the end of the Summit, their "unreserved support of the Declaration of Principles and the Plan of Action instituted in the first phase of the SMSI in Geneva, December 2003." More than anything, the text establishes the foundation of a reform for the "governance" of the Internet, guiding it towards a more international control. In order to do this, a new institution, the Forum for the governance of the Internet (Internet Governance Forum, IGF) was founded.
Not only will world governments participate in the IGF, but representatives from the private sector as well, from civil society and national organizations.
At the same time, journalists and non-governmental organizations bore the brunt of certain measures implemented by the Tunisian government concerning the liberty of the press and human rights, before and during the Summit: the intimidation of certain delegates, acts of violence committed on journalists, breaking up of Civil Society meetings by president Ben Ali's thugs, the censuring of press conferences and speeches (notably that of the President of the Helvetic Conferderation during opening ceremonies). Hence the question posed by numerous observers: why this Summit in Tunisia?
The photographs made in China adopt the conventional codes of goup photography, which efficiently links one individual to his/her community, company and also family. The people on the picture had to stop their activities in order to pose in front of the camera. Their attitudes reveal some embarrasment as well as feeling of amusement and pride.
Additional inquiry about the World Summit on the Information Society, which was held in Geneva from December 10 to 12, 2003, with photographs and texts taken from different protagonists defending or criticizing the summit.
Leporello, Edition CNEAI / Air de Paris, 2004. 26 x 19 cm fermé, 26 x 380 cm déplié. Tirage 300 exemplaires.
The fourth World Social Forum took place in Mumbai from 16 to 21 st January 2004. Slightly more oriented towards Asian countries than precedent times, some 150.000 people came to the economical capital of India to declare that "another world is possible". Discussions did not only highlight the drifts of global economics and of World Trade Organization. The 2.500 conferences, seminars, and workshops gave also voice to social problems of India: religious intolerance, exclusion due to caste system and the woman's situation.
The activist Maude Barlow, president of the Canadian Council and member of the network "Our world is not on sale" avowed that "for the first time the forum did also touch the poorest strata of the population on earth". Indeed, more than 80% of the participants were Indians and a majority came from the countryside or underprivileged urban neighbourhoods.
In Porto Alegre (Brazil), the public was mostly composed by middle and upper social classes, and among them, many officials and professors. "Unlike precedent times, this forum is a place for social expression, not for intellectualism. It offers a platform for the people, some of them never had before the opportunity to express themselves in such a conspicuous way", said the leader of Confédération paysanne, José Bové.
This success is also threatening the organisers and founders of WSF for they think that a limit has been reached, beyond which the "Movement of the Movements" might become unintelligible and unable to formulate concrete proposals.
More than 16.000 representatives of the civil society and the private sector from 176 countries met from 10 to 12 December 2003 in Geneva for the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society. The goal of the summit was double. On the one hand and according to the first and ambitious paragraph of the “Final Report”, the aim is to start building from now on a new type of society, a “development-oriented Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge, enabling individuals, communities and peoples to achieve their full potential in (…) improving their quality of life, premised on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.On the other hand, the “Plan of action” strives to evaluate and follow-up progress in bridging the digital divide between rich and poor countries, and to ensure that until 2015 “more than half the world’s inhabitants have access to Information and Communication Technologies within their reach”.
The Word Summit for Sustainable Developmeent will take place in Johannesburg from April 26 to september 4. 180 head of states will gather to think of a possible balance between the world economic development and the protection of the ecological ressources. It is going to be the bigger international conference ever organized on African continent. More than 65 000 people are expected.
During a week I took a class entitled Hostile Environment and First Aid proposed by the firm Centurion. Founded in 1993 Centurion’s aim is to reduce the risk taken by journalists when they have to work in dangerous zones (war, natural catastrophe). Up to now 7000 journalists have taken this class.
"Park Jun-kyu and Hwang Yi-min are union men. Yu Man-hyeong was an assembly line worker at a Daewoo Motors plant. They came to France in February 2001 in order to extradite Kim Woochong, the former boss of Deawoo, who had been on the run since the Group went bankrupt. When I went to Seoul in November 2001 to do a new piece of work, I met up with the three of them and they agreed to pose for a photo. Their portrait forms the central element in this new series".
"Demonstrations by the Maison des Ensembles group of immigrants who are denied proper legal recognition began in 1999. Since then, every Thursday and Saturday from 17.00 to 19.00, they march around the fountain of the Place du Châtelet, with a banner calling for regularisation of all immigrants in their position. I heard about this demonstration only recently. The first photo is dated 8 September 2001. It is the starting point of a series that I plan to continue over a year, taking one photograph at each demo. Paradoxically, the best thing would be for this series to be cut short, since the end of the demonstration could be taken to signify definitive regularisation. As on 27 July 2002, the series comprises 34 photographs."
"The most recent world's fair was held in Hannover in 2000. I attended the event on the Fondation de France's "new commissioners" programme. The photographs were to be published in a magazine, In extenso, and it was the journalists there who originated the assignment."
"Fireworks, Sérandon" developed as a result of his contribution to a project that consisted in covering the gigantic picnic held cross France on the 14th of july 2000. He was together with 34 other artist asked to take pictures of the picnic that should result in a book on the subject done by artists. On this occasion he photographed the fireworks that followed the picnic and closed the whole event of the 14th of july. (the national day of France) This series is an independent series and very different from his contribution to the book.
The series Sunday Afternoon 1999 was developed while he was working on Journal do Brasil. After discovering some portrait photographers working in a parc in Rio, he decided to dedicate his day off — sunday — to this buisness. This series is then determined of the fact that he did not track down the scenery nor the people but in fact the scenery was given (his regular spot in a parc from where he did his work) and the people was finding him.
"From 15 May to 15 June 1997, I worked as a photojournalist for the daily newspaper Corse-Matin: 20 of my photographs were published. I did the same thing again in 1999 with the Brazilian national daily, Jornal do Brasil: 9 photographs were published between 9 and 24 November."
This series was commissionned by the CAUE, inviting several photographers with the given subject of the public park of Sceaux. Serralongue focused on the various leisure activities held in the park (playing soccer, jogging, exercising karaté or gymnastics, getting married, carving I Love You in trunks or stones…), and classified these by way of large contact sheets.
The Tibatan Freedom Concert was held on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 June 1998, in the Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, Washington D.C with 120,000 spectators and fifty of the most famous groups in the USA. This was the third concert organised by Adam Yauch (Beastie Boys ) and the Milarepa Fund in support of the people of Tibet, and the most important protest concert since Live Aid in 1985. Monday 15 was decreed a National Day of Action and there was a demonstration with members of the Senate and Congress, showbiz personalities and representatives of the Tibetan government in exile on the lawn outside the Capitol.Washington, for the Tibet Freedom Concert '98, June 13-15, 98
The thirtieth anniversary of the death of Ernesto Guevara was marked by his official interment in Cuba. From 12 to 17 October his remains, alongs with those of six other guerilleros who died with him in Bolivia, were presented to the Cuban people for a final homage. The coffins were placed in the Jose Marti mausoleum, Havana. The Cubans were able to watch over them for two days and two nights before the funeral procession made its way along the road to Santa Clara, the first town to be freed by Castro and his troop, for a final popular homage and a military ceremony. That is where they lie today.
On 1 July 1997 Hog Kong was retroceded to China. To accompany this event, and in addition to the official celebrations involving the English and Chinese delegations, festive events were held for the population all over the territory, climaxing in the firework displays of 30 June and 1 July. The retrocession celebrations lasted six days, from 28 June to 3 July.
"From 15 May to 15 June 1997, I worked as a photojournalist for the daily newspaper Corse-Matin: 20 of my photographs were published. I did the same thing again in 1999 with the Brazilian national daily, Jornal do Brasil: 9 photographs were published between 9 and 24 November."
On 24 November 1996, veteran French rock rocker Johnny Hallyday gave a unique performance at the Aladin Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. What made it unasual was that the audience was comprised of French fans who had travelled all the way to hear their idol. Five thousand of them took the special chartered planes for a three-day lightning trip to the capital of Nevada.
From 27 July to 3 August 1996 the mountain region in Southeast Maxico was home to the « Intergalactical Meeting against Neo-liberalism and for Humanity ». Summoned by the Zapatista Indians through the voice of Subcommandante Marcos, some four to five thousand people from all over the world headed towards Chiapas Mountain. Forums were held in the five spacially built villages (Oventic, La Garrucha, Morelia, Francisco Gomez, La Realidad), followed by a closing full assembly in la Realidad, the Zapatista army base camp.
During the years 94/95, he was regularly selecting news items in the local newspaper (in Nice), in order to take a photograph of the place where the event had occured, as "an empty scene of the crime". The text of each news item is silkscreen printed on foot of each photo.
From 1996, he initiated a series of travels to various countries where hypermediatised events where taking place. He went to the International meeting organized by Sub-commandante Marcos in Chiapas, he joined an organized tour for a concert of Johnny Halliday to Las Vegas, was in Hong Kong for the Handover to China, in Cuba for the official funerals of Che Guevara and in Washington D.C. for a three days long concert in RFK Stadium.
He attended all these events without any press card or specific accreditation, as a basic visitor. All photographs are shot with a 4x5 inches folding camera (more often used in studio photography). The photos are purposely uncropped (full prints).
During the 3 months summer of 1994, I travelled in France across the Alpes-Maritimes department and followed the path of the different feasts organised by the cities and villages of the department during that season. It’s a mix between traditional feasts and entertainment for tourists.