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Sorcières (2019) / 19:41 /  v ideo and animation



Isabelle Arvers is a French artist and curator exploring for over 20 years the fields of digital art and video game, on formal as well as ethical and critical approaches. Her work explores the hacking possibilities of video games and mostly materializes in films called machinimas to be screened in on-site performative installation spaces. Arvers’ work grounded on collaborative experiences reflects all the possibilities of the “working together” processes. As a curator, she focuses on video game as a new language and as a medium for artists, notable exhibitions include Mind Control (Banana RAM Ancona, Italy, 2004), Node Runner (Paris, 2004), Playing Real (Gamerz, 2007), Game Heroes (Alcazar, Marseille, 2011), Evolution of Gaming (Vancouver, 2014)., UCLA Gamelab Festival (Hammer Museum, LA 2015, 2017), Machinima in Mash Up (Vancouver Art Gallery, 2016). In 2019, she embarks on an art and games world tour in non-Western countries to promote diversity of gender, sexuality and geographic origin and focuses on queer, feminist, and decolonial practices.

isabellearvers.com
vimeo.com/isabellearvers



This video was created during a residency in Melle next to the Marais Poitevin. In search of witches I dived into the marsh for months, but did not find any witches. So I decided to get the witch out of the marsh. The swamp became the main character, with a witch in the background. So that the marsh and its inhabitants - the trees, the birds, the wind and the sounds of the water stirred by the boats - could remain in the spotlight, I recorded myself whispering texts, influenced by the readings of the moment: Silvia Federici, Audre Lorde, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Mona Chollet, Jeanne Favret Saada, etc., and above all by my increasingly pressing desire to say the importance of freeing oneself from all yokes: capitalist, patriarchal, political.



In the beginning was the verb, the word as the power of words to speak, to heal.

I will tell you the story of the sleeper of Chaix, the sleeper is the old name of the mediums, these women who could heal you by falling asleep, the sleeper of Chaix lived at the beginning of the last century in Chaix, you would go to her when you had lost something or when you were sick, she would take your hand and she would fall asleep on a small cushion and she would start talking, rude, the words would come out, and she knew how to heal you, she had the gift of vision.

The witch is not always the one you think they are, it's not necessarily a woman with a broom and a hooked nose.

The witch is the person who knows, who by the hand, can heal you, who is connected to nature because she is part of it, she knows the plants, she knows the moon, she knows the water, she knows the wind, she also knows the fire.

In the marsh, there are a lot of plants that heal you, you just have to know how to look and listen.

It is important to speak because, as Audre Lorde says, if you don't say anything, you cannot be saved.

Talking can save lives, can save us, it is important to speak and to say, to say to save oneself, to speak to be able to live, to be able to continue and to say, to say can save us, to speak to be able to continue, but there are things that we don't say, that we know but that we hide, and yet it is necessary to speak... let the wind express itself, the storm will pass and the words will have healed.

If you know how to listen to them, the trees will speak to you, if you know how to watch their movements and their curves, if you know how to listen to the rustling of the leaves and the singing of the wind, then you will be able to hear the secret of the wind, the secret of the trees, and then you will be able to listen to what they have to tell you, their wisdom, their passage through time.

The witch is a little bit the woman who did not let herself be domesticated, that's why it's delicate to talk about witch in the marsh, the marsh that is the summit of the domesticated nature, totally built, maintained by the hand of man, on the model of the canals in holland, trees planted in line, to maintain the earth...

Why can't we find a witch in the domesticated nature? There must be some who know the secrets of the swamp? Maybe witches only come out where there are no lines drawn?

But who are the witches, those who were called witches in the late Middle Ages? Single women, often learned women, who knew the remedies, who knew how to heal, who also knew how to give birth. It was these autonomous women, capable of living alone and of doing all kinds of work that they wanted to domesticate, that they wanted to send back to their homes. They wanted to privatize the women's bodies, to domesticate them in the home without allowing them to practice any kind of profession, depriving them of their privileged contact with nature...

To have children, to contribute to the production of the labor force, and at the same time as they were deprived of a right to control their bodies, they privatized the land and made the commons disappear.

We tried to break the special bond that women wanted to keep with ancestral knowledge.

Imposition of a religion, the rise of capitalism, it will take a long, long, long time before women can leave the role that was assigned to them.

What is a witch today if not an independent woman, whose gifts of creation are not limited to those of her offspring, a woman without any consideration of gender, an autonomous human being free to move, free of their thoughts, their words, their choices.

Because in the figure of the witch there is not only the woman, there are all the beings who at one time or another have been domesticated, who were deprived of their free will and to move and think freely, those who have been torn from their place of origin from their lands. Everywhere a way of thinking has been imposed, a religion has been imposed everywhere where acculturation has taken place.

The witch is the one who resists.

You know what I like about reflections? In the reflections, and in the transparencies? It's to see another world, another world that is reflected upside down, to tell me that there is another reality that is possible from the other side underneath the reverse side of reality, and that it is reversed.

The notion of witch appears when we begin to transform the vision that we have of the body when we separate the body from the spirit it can express itself again when finally remembering that the body can allow us to think, the importance of perception, phenomenology, the body as knowing.



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