Transcription

es !do!not!die !of!old!age”!(Films !de !la !tortue,!2010)!is !a !documentary!film! which! examines ! the ! everyday! life! of! three! old! men! in! northern!Marocco:! Chehma,!a !former! fisherman,! Erradi!a!solitary! innkeeper,! and!Abdesslam,! a!travelling!musician.! ! Producers !Benchekroun!and!Mermer!give !voice!to!these!men!as n!life,!death,!and!ageing.! ! They! don’t!do!so!by!simply! standing! behind!the!camera!to!film!these # Images! cri2c! Serge! Abiaad! (2011)! argues,! they! film! “with”! the!par2cipants.! ! Adop2ng! a ! similar! approach,! this! paper! discusses!“with”! (rather! than! merely! talking! about! or! analysing)! the! film! and! its!producers !some!of! the!issues !surrounding!ageing!and!“old!age”!that,! in!its !capacity!as!cultural gs!to! the! fore.! ! More ! specifically,! I! am! interested! in! exploring! the!performa2vity! of!different! media,! objects !and!technologies !in!the!life!of!the!film’s !three!protagonists.!The !laYer,!I !suggest,!are!instrumental !to!the!ways !in!which!these !men!establish,!modify,!and!maintain!various!forms !of!connec2on! to!the[ir]! world,! their! families,! their! home,! and!their! work.!!Through! these! media ! and! the! itera2ve! social! rela2ons ! they! make!possible,! these ! man! and! their! prac2ces,! I ! argue,! endure.! ! Following!Stengers !(2005!:48,!44),!I!consider!endurance !as !the!achievement!of!that!which,! through ! its ! adventures,! “goes! on! maYering,”! thereby!“succeed[ing]! in! maintaining! some! thread! of! conformity! between! performa2vity!;!media.CitaAon!Grenier,! L.! (2012).! Ageing! and/as! Enduring! :! Discussing! with! “Turtles![that]!don’t!die !of!old!age”.& :!Proceedings!of!the!Technology!&! Emerging!Media !Track!–!Annual!Conference!of!the 0! b! June !1,! 2012),! erloo 2012/GRENIERbTEM2012.pdf1

e':'h 010,! Les# tortues# ne# meurent# pas#de#vieillesse![Turtles!do!not!die !of!old!age]!is!a !documentary! film!which!examines!the !everyday!life!of!three !old!men!in!northern!Marocco:!!Chehma,!a !master!fisherman,!Erradi! a! solitary! innkeeper,! and! Abdesslam,! a! travelling! musician.!!Producers !Hind!Benchekroun!and!Sami !Mermer!give !voice!to!these !men!as !they! slowly! go!about! their! ac2vi2es,! reflec2ng! on! life,! work,! family,!death,! and! ageing.! ! ! They! don’t! do!so! by! simply! standing! behind!the!camera !to!film!these !Images ! cri2c! Serge! Abiaad! (2011)! argues,! they! film! “with”! the!par2cipants.Inspired! by! this !approach,! this !paper! ini2ates !a !discussion!“with”! the!film!and!its!producers 'invaluable'collaboraLon.2

Line Grenier Ageing and/as EnduringTEM 2012 ACC-CCA“old!age”! that,! in!its !capacity!as!cultural!product! and!fragment!of!public!discourse,! the!documentary! brings!to!the!fore.! ! !I!want! to!hint!at! these!ques2ons !by!means !of!a!brief!explora2on!of!the !performa2vity!of!objects!in! the !life! of! the !film’s! protagonists,! focusing! mostly! on! Chehma,! the!fisherman.!!1. ce:'Turtles,don’t,die,of,old,age,'2010)Our! mee2ng! with! Chehma ! was ! like! love! at! first! sight.! We! were!immediately! charmed!by! the!men,! his !story,! and! his !old! skiff! which!he!named!Khayata.! It! means !«! seamstress! ».! He !called!it! like!that! because!Chehma !has !spent!a!good!part!of!his !life!sewing!fishing!nets.!!Like!all !the!other! skiffs !of!Dalia![the!name!of!the !wild!each!where !Chehma!works],!Khayata# is !blue.! But! contrary! to! the!others,! it! does!not! enter! the !sea!anymore ! because! of! the! passage! of! 2me.! ! Salt,! sun! and! sand! have!punctured!it.!!Chehma’s !health!does !not!allow!him!to!go!deep!sea!fishing.!His!eyes !can’t! see !from!afar,!his !lungs!do!not! support!the!ocean!breeze.!!To!earn!a !living,!the!old!captain!is with!the !departures!and!arrivals!of!the !skiffs 2!(Benchekroun!and!Sami!Mermer,!2012,!p.!1b2).2. Objects%and%other%“things”%From!my! first!viewing!of!Turtles!don’t!die !of!old!age!I!have!been!struck!by! the !ways!in! which! objects !permeate!the!film.! ! I!have! indeed! used'to'slide'boats'in'and'out'of'the'ocean.3

Line Grenier Ageing and/as EnduringTEM 2012 ACC-CCAespecially! intrigued!by! the!omnipresence!of! the!various!objects,! media,!commodi2es !and!technologies !that!appear!to!form!an!integral !part!of!the!existence! of! the! three ! “old! men”! and! of! the! ways ! in! which! their!respec2ve!story!is!told.!!Abdesslam,! Erradi ! and! Chehma! are ! almost! always ! shown! in! the!presence ! of! a ! range! of! mostly! humanbmade! items! –! pain2ngs,! cell!phones,! bags,! sunglasses,! and! cooking! ware,! to! name !a!few! –! that! are!variously! displayed,! carried! along,! looked! at,! played! with,! casually!manipulated,! referred! to,! or! are! just! there,! lep! alone,! untouched,!ignored.! !When!I!shared!this !observa2on!with!the!producers !and!asked!them! to! reflect! on!the!different! “things”! surrounding! the! protagonists,!they! acknowledged!that!“[e]ach!of!the!characters !in!the !film!maintains!a!par2cular! connec2on!with!one !or! several!objects,”! (op.! cit.,! p.!1).! !As !a!result,!a cks!and!a !car,!as!well !as!a!small!boat.Abdesslam’s !flute! barely! leaves !his !side.! ! Playing! the! flute,! and! !is !how!the!musician!earns !a!living.! ! The! flute! is! a! key! component! of! the ! joyful,! happy! tradi2onal!entertainer!character!he!performs !in!public.! !It!is s!of!his!life:!When#he#finds#himself#alone,# s.# an.# # The#sound#of#his#flute#and#the#melodies#emerging# from#it,#bring# him#back# to#his#village;# you#can# sense# the# presence#of# the#blues,# of# loneliness,# of# exhausGon.# During# the# shooGng,# we#watched#for# these#moments#when#he#did# not#play# for# it.,#p.#7).4

Line Grenier Ageing and/as EnduringTEM 2012 'Photo'by'Mermer,'2009)Clocks !abound!in!Erradi’s!inn.!There!are!several !in!every! room.! ! They!differ!in!size,!shape,!model,!as !well!as !design,!and!are !same!2me.! !The!innkeeper!is!especially! fond!of!his !grandfather! clocks !whose!2ckbtack!sounds,! he !explains,!“soothe!the!heart.”! ! He !is !also!deeply! aYached!to! Diana,!a !two! horse !power! Volvo!built! in!the!1960s!whose !interior!he!has!redone!almost!as!open.!!Erradi# dreams# of# driving# along# with# Diana# to# the# desert,#thousands# of# kilometers# away.# # Like# before,# fort# weeks# and#months.#But# reality# catches#up#and# he# realizes#that#he#can#drive#only# a#few# meters,#no# further# than# the# beach# where# he# est.#(op.#cit.,#p.#6)5

Line Grenier Ageing and/as EnduringTEM 2012 dicates,!the Chehma’s !world.! ! “When!he !speaks !of!his !skiff,”! remember!the!producers,! “his !eyes!light! up!(.)! He!open!takes !a!nap! in!the!shade k!to!shore”!(op.!cit.!,!p.!2).!!Fishing!nets!are !another!regular!feature !of!his !everyday!life.!!They!are!the!pride !of!Chehma !who!spends !lots!of!2me!mending!nets echnique e!make!of!these !objects !and!their!presence!in!the !life !of!the!protagonists?!I nc2ons!in!the !context!of!the !film’s uld!refer!to!as!their!produc2ve!power!in!everyday! life:! !What!do!these!objects !do?!What! do!they! enable?!What! is!done !through!them,! t#die#of#old#age!and!the!various!objects ! it! foregrounds,! invites ! us ! to! think! about! the! materiality! ity.6

Line Grenier Ageing and/as EnduringTEM 2012 ACC-CCA3. The%materialiEes%of%“ageing%together”In!the !aperword!of!his how!much!our! ideas,! metaphors,! and!meanings le !account!we !take!of!the!material !life!of!ageing!around!us!and!outside!of!our! par2cular! human!experience!of!it.”! (2009,!p.!233).! !An!African!drum,!the!outer!skin!of!which!is !being!worn!by! years!of! playing!and!the!castbiron!frying! pans!which,! with! use,! are !becoming!beYer! cooking! utensils:! These !are! some !of! the !material!objects!in!the!author’s ! environment! which,! like ! the! 60’s ! Volvo,! the! old! skiff,! nonbsynchronized! clocks,! and! fishing! nets ! in! Turtles# don’t# die# of# old# ageing!and!evoke!what!he!calls!“ageing! together.”! ! This !“togetherness”,!I!suggest,! is !key! to!a !rela2onal!understanding! of! ageing! informed! by! the! materiali2es!of! everyday! cts!therein.I!want!to!hint!at!some!of!the !modali2es !of!materiality!(Parikka,!2012,!p.!87)! in! which! everyday! life!and! “ageing! together”! in! today’s !social !and!cultural!forma2ons !may! be!embedded.! !In!order!to!do!so!I !will!draw!on!three! dis2nct! yet! converging! (at! least! partly)! theore2cal ! frameworks!which,! each!in!their! own!ways,! provide !a !sets !of! concepts!and! suggest!ques2ons !that! might! help!trace !poten2ally! fruixul!lines!of! enquiries and# thingSpower.! !The!fist!one!is!Bruno!Latour’s ard,!1999)!he !has !developed!with!his ova2on!(CSI).! !From!this!perspec2ve,! material!objects! can!become!“actants”! in! their! own! !the!source!of!ac2on:!they! can!do!things,! produce!effects,! and!alter! the!course!of!ac2ons.! !In!networks ! of! interac2ons,! they! do! not! necessarily! func2on! as ! mere!intermediaries,! as! “gobbetweens”! liaising! things ! unaffected! by! their!presence.! !They! can!also!perform!as!what!Antoine!Hennion!(1993)! calls!mediators,! ac2vely! making! a! difference! by! contribu2ng! to! the! ple,!the!nets!that!mediate !the !status!and!iden2ty!of!Chehma!as !a!former! master! fisherman!in!his!community! also!alter! the !course!of!fishing! on! Dalia !beach:! under! par2cular! meteorological! condi2ons,! the!younger! fisherman!trade !their! usual !hookbandbline !fishing!technique hem!to!sea !aper!having!expertly! wrapped! their! body! in! the! thousands! of! square ! meters ! of!7

Line Grenier Ageing and/as EnduringTEM 2012 ACC-CCAmeshed!strings! he! has!carefully! mended! to! ensure !the!efficacy! of! the!nets,! hence!the!value !of! the!catch.! ! In! such! an!instance!of! distributed!agency,! objects !appear! to! acquire !“thingbpower,”! that! is,! according! ,!manbmade!items !to!exceed!their! status ! of! objects ! and! to! manifest! traces ! of! independence! perience.”!(2010,!p.!xvi).!!Inspired! by! Latour’s,! BenneY’s! own! theoriza2on! of! the ! ac2ve!par2cipa2on!of! non! human! forces!in!events!centers!on! what! she! !edibles,!commodi2es,!storms,!metals !–!not!only!to!impede !or!block!the !will !and!design!of!humans !but!also!to!act!as !quasibagent! of! forces !with!trajectories,! propensi2es !or! tendancies !of!their! own.! “(op.! cit.,! p.! viii).! ! “How! would! poli2cal !responses!to!public!problems!change !were!we!to!take !seriously! the!vitality! of! (nonhuman)!bodies?”! (idem)! she!asks.! ! ! The!ques2on! can!be!slightly! of!and!interven2ons !around!ageing!change!were!we !to!take !seriously! the!vitality! of! nonhuman!bodies d#circulaGon.! !about! the!togetherness!of!ageing!and!its !materiali2es !is !located!in!cultural!anthropology.! ! In!his!introduc2on! to!The# Social# Life# of# Things,!Arjun! Appadurai ! summarizes! the! book’s! main! thesis:! “Economic!exchange! creates! value.! Value! is! embodied! in! commodi2es ! that! are!exchanged.! Focusing! on! the! things! that! are! exchanged! (.)! makes ! tween!exchange!and!value!is !poliGcs,!construed!broadly.!This !argument!(.)!jus2fies !the!conceit!that!commodi2es,! like!persons,!have!social !lives.”! ! (Appadurai,! 1986,! p.! 3)!In!the! same ! edited! collec2on,! Ivan! Kopytoff! talks! about! the! “social!biography! of! things,”! to!refer! to! the! ways !in! which,! through! their! life!course,!material !objects !move!in!and!out!of!different!states!–! in!and!out!of! commodity! state,! for! instance.! !Their! movements,!he!argues,! can!be!slow! or! fast,! reversible!or! permanent,! norma2ve !or! “deviant,”! and!be!more!no2ceable!in!some!cases !than!others.!But!this !biography,!he pytoff,!1986,!p.!66).!!This !perspec2ve!invites !us!to!examine,! for! instance,! how! through! its!different! travels ! on! the! beach! and! in! the ! ocean! Khayata! (and,! by!extension! Chehma ! whose ! life ! course! is ! connected! to! the! skiff’s)! has!moved! in! and! out! of! economic! states ! in! its ! capacity! as! means! of!produc2on,! mode! of! transporta2on,! work! environment! and! tool,!embodied!tradi2on,!family!resource,!etc.! !!The!skiff,!the !film!suggests,!no!8

Line Grenier Ageing and/as EnduringTEM 2012 ACC-CCAlonger! exists! in! a ! commodity! state.! ! It! s2ll ! has! value ! in! the! eyes ! of!Chehma !and!of!the!beach!kids is !value!is !not!derived!from!its!former!func2on!as !a !fishing!boat.! !It!appears!to!have !acquired!a !the!trace!of!former!2mes !when!the !things !having!a!social !life !finds!echo,!in!my!view,!in!Goankar!and! Povinelli’s!view! of! circula2on!as!a !process !that! “foreground[s]! the!social !life!of![cultural]!forms !rather!than!reading!social !life!from!it.”!(2003,!p.! 387).! ! ! They! ask! “[W]hy! is!it! that! some !forms !move!or! are !moved!along?! What! limits !are !imposed! on! cultural !forms! as !the!condi2on! of!their! circula2on! across !various ! types ! of! social! spaces.! »! (idem)! What!limits !are!imposed!on!(lineb!or!net)fishing!as !a !condi2on!of!its !circula2on!across ! spaces! of! produc2on! and! spaces ! of! economic! and! cultural!tradi2ons?! More !broadly,! it! points !to!the!importance !of! movement,! terial!process.!!MeeGngSup#of#trajectories.! ! The !last! framework!from!which!I !want! to!draw!insights !and!derive!ques2ons !is izing!space !in!terms s!addressed!conjuncturally,! ! she!argues !that! the! embedded!prac2ces ! in! which! objects,! discourses,! landscapes! and! people! are!involved! can! be! considered! as! assemblages ! of! heterogeneous ! forces,!intersec2ng! at! different! scales ! (from! local ! to! global)! and! following!different! “trajectories.”! ! ! The! no2on! of! a! mee2ngbup! or! a! coming!together! of! trajectories! as ! “storiesbsobfar”! (Massey! 2005)! suggests! a!shuYling!back!and!forth! between!different! 2me !frames !and!scales !that!proves! useful,! as ! Low! and! BarneY! argue,! to! “capture! the! dis2nct!character! of! processes!which!appear! to! inhabit! the !‘same’! moment! in!2me.”!(2000,!p.!59)!Ageing!and!“old!age”! as !ar2culated!by! ot! only! as!the!“coming!together”!of!par2cular! !From!Massey’s !perspec2ve,!it!could! best! be !understood! as !conjonctural !assemblages !of! (human!and!nonhuman)! bodies,! discourses ! (on! death,! family,! ageing,! etc.),! and!rela2ons,! as! the! par2cular! interac2ons ! of! various ! forces ! (economy,!globaliza2on,! technological! change,! cultural!tradi2ons,! to! name !a !few)!that! although!in!cobpresence,! operate!at! different! scales !(Marocco,! the!beach!of!Dalia,!the !Mahgreb,!among!others).! !Some !of!the!most!pressing!issues!raised!by! this!approach!relate!to!the !spa2obtemporal !character! of!9

Line Grenier Ageing and/as EnduringTEM 2012 ACC-CCAageing,!as!well !as !it!groundedness !which,!as !Massey!argue,! “in!an!age!in!which!globalisa2on!is !so!easily!imagined!as –!is !vital !for!posing!poli2cal !ques2ons.”!(op.!cit.,!p.!14).!What!are !the!storiesbsobfar! that,! as!they! connect! “the !immensity! of!the!global !the!specificity! of!ageing! together! and! the! par2cular! places/spaces ! through! which! it! is!produced!possible?4. Endurance%[h3ps://vimeo.com/45810708]Material !objects !are!instrumental!to!the!ways!in! which!Chehma,! like!the!other!protagonists ious!forms !of! connec2ons !to! his[the]! world,! his! family,! his !home,! and! his!work,! his!community.! Through! these!objects,! the!media2ons!that! they!enact,! the! thingbpower! they! elicit,! the! movements !they! embody,! the!social !life!they!have,! and!the !dis2nct! trajectories !in!which!they! endure.!!As !philosopher! Levi!R.! Bryant! (2012)! suggests!in! a!blog! rsistence!is!not!a !sta2c!feature!of!objects,!but! rather! an! ac2vity! on! the ! part! of! objects”.! ! Therefore,! he! adds,!“endurance! is ! something! that! objects! must! do,! not! something! that!objects !have !as!a uch!a!way! as !to!be!destroyed.”! !Endurance!can!be!defined!as!the ies !on!the!ongoing!accomplishment!of! con2nuity! in/through! diversity.! ! More ! precisely,! following! the!achievement!of!that!which,!through! its ! adventures,! “goes ! on! maYering,”! thereby! “succeed[ing]! in!maintaining! some ! thread! of! conformity! between! past! and!present”!(Stengers,!2005,!p.!48,!44).! !This !may!well !be!what!is !at!stake .!***Chehma !takes!special !care!of! his !skiff!which!has!been!with!him!for!so!long.! !He !moves!it,!removes r! !it!from!drying!too!much.! “! When!I !die,!Khataya!will!die!too.! She !has !only! one!year! !documentary.! !And!yet,!one!year! aper! the!movie!was!filmed,! Chehman! was !s2ll! alive,! and! so! was!Khayata.!!10

Line Grenier Ageing and/as EnduringTEM 2012 ACC-CCA“When!we !went! back!to!visit!Chehma,!on!your! aper!the!shoo2ng,! we!were !pleasantly! surprised!to!see !him!with!a !new!Khayata !–!we!thought!that!he!would!have !stopped!en2rely!all !of!his !fishing!ac2vi2es.!He!had!a!new! skiff! built,! and!gave!it! the!same !name.! He!built! by! himself!a !small!shelter! protec2ng!it! from! the!sun!and!the!wind!to!ensure!that! is !wears!less!rapidly.! Not! far! from!the!new!one,! the!old!Khayata !lies 'Mermer,'2009)11

Line Grenier Ageing and/as EnduringTEM 2012 ACC-CCAReferencesAbbiad,! S.! (2011).! Les !tortues!ne !meurent! pas !de!vieillesse.! Trois !vies !et! une!seule!mort.! ges.com/ar2cles.php?ar2cle 1668Appadurai,!A.!(1986).!Introduc2on!:! Commodi2es !and!the!poli2cs !of!value.!In!Arjun!Appadurai!(ed),! The# Social# Life# of# Things:# CommodiGes# in# Cultural# PerspecGve! (p.! 3b63),! New! York:!Cambridge!University!Press.Benchekroun,! H.! &! S.! Mermer! (2012).! Réflexions:# personnages# et# objets! (unpublished! !H.! &! S.! Mermer! (2010).! Les#tortues#ne#meurent# pas# de# vieillesse! m!(N.C.):!Duke!University!Press.Bryant,! Levi ! R.! (2012),! The ! Dynamic! Life ! of! Objects.! Retrived! from:! nelli !(2003).!Technologies Cultural#Aging.#Life#Course,#Lifestyle,# and# Senior# pytoff,! I.! (1986).! The! Cultural !Biography! of! Things:! Commodi2za2on! as !Process.! In! k:!Cambridge!University!Press.Latour,! B.(2005).! Reassembling# the# social.# # An# introducGon# to# ActorSnetwork# Theory.! rd!(1999).!ActorSNetwork#Theory#and#A !the!Sixth!Day”,!ConfiguraGons,!13:!35–55.'

rious!objects,!media,! !integral!part!of!the!