6 septembres, 2005


Christian Boltanski

© Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage @ Adagp 

Created using the archives of the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel, "6 septembres" (2005) scrolls a series of film and television news clips in rapid succession across three screens, depicting events that took place between 1944 and 2004 on 6 September, the artist’s birthday.

With a simple movement, the viewer can freeze the scrolling images before being swept along again with the flow. Images of unknown individuals, of France and the Vietnam War, Pompidou, Françoise Sagan and a Jonny Halliday concert flash by, accompanied by a soundtrack that has been sped up so much it cannot be discerned, rushing through time and history and turning it all into an anonymous whole. Unlike other works that conjure up intimate, individual memories, 6 septembres evokes a collective history condensed into a single day, in which everyone can look back to a special event, emotion or moment in their life. This constant flow of images can be seen in the excesses of contemporary media. The extremely fast pace flattens out events, whether dramatic or incidental, and makes it impossible to remember them.

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