Chouf chouf / shebab / the nameless city / le città viste dall’alto / the endless city / le poids du monde / les épaules / welcome to P. / what’s your name? / where are you from? / how old are you? / welcome to I. / enjoy / chai café cigarette drink eat / who are you? / no photo please / would like to come back to H. / to the sea I have never seen / photo my friend / choukran / no service taxi / welcome to P. / what’s your name? / where are you from? / how old are you? / welcome to I. / enjoy / not to forget / why are you here? / it is not healthy too warm / massalama / play football don’t you? / say bonjour to french journalist / passeport please / any gift from other people? / exit permit / iani / they are doing everything wrong / arabic salade / you guys on a boys trip? / meet abou natiell / meet another silent slave / curva white / welcome to H. / the next bus to K. A.? / where exactly in J.? / welcome to P. / what’s your name? / where are you from? / how old are you? / welcome to I. / enjoy / was born in B. / speak arabic speak french / speak italian speak portuguese / speak english / got a house in N. / Umm Kulthum / appears in the stadium / appears also in Z. late night / you are too polite / you need drugs? / we will miss you / avanti / eggplants / take us to the stadium please / unité de production / tecnica d’acciaio / muslim? / don’t go! / captain Hani / play drums / soon to be in N. Y. / fake blu eyes / would like to build a real theatre / welcome to P. / what’s your name? / where are you from? / how old are you? / welcome to I. / enjoy / nice bike / sorry no arabic / I’ll take you to the airport / fresh lemonade / hot water / how much for empty bottles / we have a donkey / school starts tomorrow / got to ask for taxi driver names / like this music? / tattoos / so chi è M. V. / my nephew speaks english / married? / no you can’t pay the dinner / welcome to P. / what’s your name? / where are you from? / how old are you? / welcome to I. / enjoy / chouf chouf / shebab / nell’alto dei giorni immobili / o le domeniche / alla periferia dell’impero.
My English is broken. S.’s English is broken. M.’s English is broken, but he has a voice coming from his back while he extends his gaze on the Jenin Camp from a rooftop. And we can distinctively hear and understand it. There’s no other possible portrait.
Transportation links are broken, maps are broken. Streets are broken.
Highways are broken.
Once you get off the bus in A., how do you go further?
And when languages are broken and everything else seems to be broken, to collect fragments is an option. Fragments of scenes, fragments of voices, fragments of dusts and stones. Fragments of fragments.
You guys on a boys trip?
T. A. seaside, grilled fresh fish is about to be served, under a noise coming from next and far at the same time. People furiously playing tambourine on the shore. Sounds like we are on holidays. But this is no neutral zone.
Next table English girls ask : are you guys on boys trip?
And yes, definitely, we are on a boys trip. We are searching for a special kind of boys : Ultras football supporters.
They walk the city, straight and fast. I’m a little bit slower, carrying the extra weight of my camera. Making a lot of conversations, doing a lot of statement, anti, pro, have done, never would do. Asphalt is the same the everywhere else our fully functional cities. They love Oum Kalthoum. Not all of them. Probably. The barely pronounce the word P.
Probably never, I guess. But I’m lost.
In a taxi, the driver is talkative, next to him, his younger son. On the way, he stops somewhere to grab something. The roadway is a bunch of holes.
He tells how he killed that fellow citizen, because he used to be in the enemy’s army.
And all that is way too big for my camera. But I can point and shoot beyond the windshield.
And I can’t stop, this is on the go. Walk, car, windows, visit, stop and go. North, south, center, and then again. Driving, bus or taxi.
I engage with photography as much as I can : street, landscapes, cars. Other genres. Feel unknown people next to me, as I would do in stage photography. Or looking from distance.
Still voices coming from every side.
Take photo, no photo
All those people asking for a picture. I don’t exactly know why and how. If I barely could stop and push the button, I did, anyway. But while their body is present and is a fiber of this constant rain o voices, there’s no potential meaning in showing faces. All of them, surely, did not entend their request of a picture as a consent to be included somewhere somehow in something. It was just a way to engage in that stream passing by including me my camera S. And his camera our inappropriate clothes. I do not erase them. I hide them. Focus on the voices.
Giovanni Ambrosio, Paris, may 2020
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