Drawings of Added and Missing Knowledge

Let me  just say a the very beginning that this post is about Chris Marker’s film “La Jetee”, WW3 and  the pseudo-comics drawings in black , white and gray I made of the film. And  If I may quote Geoff Manaugh’s  book “The Bldg Blog” see here, he said :

…” In other words, forget academic rigor. Never take the appropriate next step. Talk about Chinese urban design. the European space program, and landscape in the film oh Alfred Hitchcock in the span of three sentences– because it’s fun, and the juxtaposing might take you somewhere..”…

..Then my juxtaposing  of things of all sorts  may indeed lead to unpredictable results for the worst or for the best…

The arrest of the Russian spy ring in the USA resurrect a relic from the old cold war style between the USA and Russia. . With this antecedent in mind, the “flotilla  war” between Turkey and Israel is a sort of new ‘relic’ to be enshrined in the temple of terrorist provocation produced by the Brothers Hanya,  Hamas leader and the Turkish PM Erduan.

Now, from Jeremiah A. 14 we know the verse: “And the Lord said to me: the north will open all the evil inhabitants of the land”, and in our case it is very tempting to  call  the axe of evil Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, and his new recruit Turkey’s  ‘flotilla war’, the prelude to a possible WW3.

Chris Marker’s 29 minute film, La Jetée, is a very special film about the aftermath of WW3 . The movie first appeared in 1962 in the era of the Cold War, an era which also gave birth to the Internet.

Marker’s vision of life just after WW3 in La Jetée is set in the underground passageways of Paris. Aboveground the planet is uninhabitable because of radioactivity.

What impressed me most at first view in his movie, was the visual darkness on the screen. The atmosphere of claustrophobic darkness in daylight. The imminence of the apocalyptic in the seemingly pleasantness of the survivors  everyday life . My own feelings are visual feelings. They where forced upon me without knowing the narrative of the movie, having muted by inadvertence  the soundtrack . And so I began drawing  what I see on the screen without knowing the narrative.

Chris Marker says:

..” Marker shot La Jetée during gaps in the shooting of Le joli mai (1963), an anatomy of May ’62 in Paris. In a 2003 interview, he said of La Jetée, “It was made like a piece of automatic writing . . . I photographed a story I didn’t completely understand. It was in the editing that the pieces of the puzzle came together, and it wasn’t me who designed the puzzle.” This could be taken as a tribute to editor Jean Ravel, but also as a testament to the unconscious forces that appear to drive the story: La Jetée can certainly be read as an allegory of psychoanalysis, in which a supine subject searches in his unconscious for the origins of his trauma.”…see more here on criterion.com.

But my own feelings are indeed only a trompe  l’oeil because the film is a science fiction story about time travel and memory without the today high-tech pyromania and extravagance:

…” La Jetée‘s narrative—in which an unnamed hero, living in a Parisian postwar radioactive wasteland, is sent back in time by scientists to find sustenance or a source of energy—is a Möbius strip, returning paradoxically to its point of origin to swallow its own tail and engender itself once more. Because these missions follow the route of inner space, via the travelers’ memories, “the man whose story we are telling” is considered an especially apt subject: he is fixated on a single memory. As a child, he witnessed an unexplained scene of violence at Orly Airport, involving a man falling and the shocked reaction of a beautiful woman.”…see more here on criterion.com.

Anyway, the discrepancy between the complete film  narrative, sound and pictures, and what I first saw on my muted mac screen, blocked my rational judgment  of any inevitable meta dissection exemplified by the following quotation :

…”However, as each one of La Jetée’s static images lasts considerably longer than 1/24 of a second, on celluloid each still in La Jetée actually comprises dozens of replicas of itself. In presenting us with a series of frozen images, Marker dramatizes a breakdown of time’s invisible flow into a succession of visible moments that might be considered the individual atoms of time, and of our experience of time. Indeed, when the film’s hero journeys into the distant future, that new world is represented as a series of microscope images“…

Such meta dissection of the movie and knowing his narrative would fix and amplify in my mind an imposed story of La Jetee.

So when  viewing the film on my mac screen, (the screen affecting the picture by his own hardware specifications),  and pausing the screening at  pictures without reference to their original story, I create my own visual impression composed of missing knowledge: sound and narrative; and added knowledge: the axis of evil , the flotilla, ww3 , the Russian spy ring included in this post–  both missing and added knowledge injected into the drawings  new  incertitudes  of relevance and irrelevance. Or would I say is it the sole viable procedure to remain in the no man’s land of lost and new identities and found objects?

Here are a few of the drawings.




“The underground”

As a footnote I bring here what JG Ballard wrote on Chris Marker’s film:

Text by jg Ballard

Text by JG Ballard

See more On JG Ballard on Wikipedia.

A Tribute to Art Spiegelman


Art Spiegelman.

I am a great admirer of  of Art Spiegelman’s unusual work in comics and beyond. Today I pay him my personal tribute on the occasion of his new exhibition at the gallery Martel in Paris. Here are few of his  unpublished works, see more on ‘Pixelcreation’ in French.


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Click to enlarge.


Here are two pages from the graphic book “Maus: A Survivor’s Tale” who sold  over a million copies. The book tells the horrors of the Holocaust in an unique way, see more here.



It is interesting to read the reviews by readers of  ‘Maus’,  members of the ‘LibraryThing‘ site:

…”This two-part graphic novel is a Holocaust autobiography featuring white mice as Jews, cats as Nazis, and wartime Europe as an enormous mousetrap. Using a deeply personal, reflective and rhythmic tone, the author peels off the layers of a cast of well-developed characters, centralizing around a Holocaust survivor and his son. The plot of this Pulitzer Prize winning narrative jumps between past and present with two storylines: one focusing on the Holocaust experience and one focusing on the father-son relationship. With its complex themes and unconventional format, Maus is a challenge to describe. Fiction, biography, autobiography and history, this work rises above genre to become an exceptionally unique work, an amazing story destined to become a classic. Despite being set in the Holocaust, what emerges from this comic-book masterpiece is a story of love, loyalty, and hope.”… Source: see here.


More comics drawings from the exposition at the gallery Martel.

page43-1001-full page43-1007-full page43-1019-full

Click to enlarge.

Nazi Propaganda in Misleading Paris Occupation Photos


Via my Internet subscription to the french newspaper “Le Figaro” I found an article named “Cette exposition est tout à fait légitime”. Seeking an English written article on the same subject I found one on “FRANCE24″ named “German occupation photo exhibit causes scandal” . The opening lines describes in a few words what it’s all about “A controversial new photography exhibit entitled, ‘Parisians Under Occupation’ shows scenes of daily life that contrast sharply with the reality of the German occupation from 1940 to 1945″. (Photography exhibition, “Parisians Under Occupation” at the City Hall Library in Paris features 250 color photographs by French photographer André Zucca taken for the Nazi propaganda daily).
Paris 1940-45
  Looking at the exhibition’s video clips reminded me of the same years in Brussels, where as a kid, I was living and hiding from the Nazis, with my family.The architectural resemblance between Paris and Brussels are striking; the same houses, streets., the same fashion, the false Idyllic look of a good living world. And all this, only a propaganda veil hiding the atrocities of the Nazi regime all over Europe.
What ignite the fire of scandal was , I quote, that… “These unedited images, taken by a 24/36 Leica, were taken between 1942 to 1945, the height of the German occupation. The absence of any explanation about the propaganda element in the exhibit is striking…
  ..Most of the photos contrast sharply with the history books recalling the Vel d’hiver roundup and deportation in July 1942. Where are the snaking lines outside food stores? Where are the witnesses of the occupation? Rare are the photos where a yellow star sewn on coat lapels is seen on passers-by. This unexpected take on “German France” does not leave one indifferent.”…see here.
Here are more photos:
I extracted the photos from  France 24″ here and from ”Le Figaro” here.
Meanwhile the scandal continue,  I quote,..”WIthout questioning their beauty, the photos are disturbing. Even worse, the very title of the exhibit is rather shocking, due to its inaccuracy. Christophe Girard, the Parisian deputy mayor in charge of culture, is quite clear.”… “We should stop this exhibit!” …”Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë says the incident was “badly managed”, and is trying to put things right. He preferred not to ban the exhibit to avoid accusations of censorship, but removed the posters advertising the show. Organisers are also planning a debate titled “Is the camera an objective witness?” in a last-minute attempt to correct their early mistakes”..see more.
 Well, I was a witness of those past days. What I remember are photos like these  from the “..’round-up’ or ‘raid’ of the Velodrome d’Hiver’,(see here), mirroring similar photos of Nazis raids in Brussels.

I published this story on NowPublic and add here the comments by  NowPublic editors and contributing members.




good stuff:For me, the only way to take those exhibited images beyond revisionism/propaganda would be to show them alongside documentary counterparts: the image and the reality… sort of like what you did in the story above!

jordan thanks for the comment and the GS.

The curators of the exhibition trayed to minimize their mistakes, “..A large excerpt from the preface to the exhibition catalogue (Ed Gallimard / Paris Library), prepared by Jean-Pierre Azema, a specialist historian of this period is included in the exhibition since its opening and also recalls the historical context in which these photographs were taken, for more see here ..

…A weak palliative for bad conscience.

good stuff:korzac, I like this story. It’s good stuff. Excellent story and coverage Korzac

Barry Artiste, thanks for the comment and the GS.

good stuff:One must always guard against revisionist history. 

Karen Hatter, the exhibition is a form of visual deceit under the decent patronage of ‘culture’. But the french living witnesses of those years denounced the fraud..

Thanks for the comment and the GS.

I think all governments contribute propeganda to their citizens.

History reveals many things, sometimes it takes a while to come out. Many Germans, I believe, had no idea what was happening far away.

Of course they would prfer to be thinking of good things happening from their nations actions, just as we all are wishing to belive good things are happening from current conflict zones.

Matte, about your..”Many Germans, I believe, had no idea what was happening far away”..

Look at this ..”In a seminal study published thirty-five years ago, The Destruction of the European Jews, Raul Hilberg observed that the perpetrators of the Nazi holocaust were “not different in their moral makeup from the rest of the population…. [T]he machinery of destruction was a remarkable cross-section of the German population.”..see here.

Or look at this ..”To think that the Germans were unaware of the genocide is ignorant and absurd. The Germans saw as well as the Jews did what was going on. Why do you think so many Jews fled the country? They knew that death awaited them in the hands of the Nazis. The Germans saw the Jews being humiliated, corralled through the city, loaded up in trains and sent off to die horrible deaths in the concentration camps.’.. see here.

And look at the link with the title ..’The Genocide Generals: secret recordings explode the myth they knew nothing about the Holocaust“…see here.

I think Matte perhaps is stating that German civilians and soldiers far away from the conflict of the cities, perhaps the countryside and soldiers stationed outside of Germany may not have known about the concentration camps. Though I am sure rumours circulated, and perhaps even the rumours were infathomable to believe that humans could do that to humans.

Propeganda means different things to different people, and people belive what they want to believe. A study after a war cannot accuratly deduce what was going on inside people’s heads at the time. Yes people were being taken away – but at the time I belive NO ONE knew to where or for what fate.

People belive until they know otherwise, as has happened with the Iraq situation – people are fed propeganda and lies, until the truth is finally revealed. There is no blame for this on the part of the population, they just belive what they are told.

Just as in the Seconf World War the Japanese being portrayed as devils….but they were only following their leaders and fighting their war the way they were told, as is the US military, the Chinese military etc.

Matte about your “Yes people were being taken away – but at the time I believe NO ONE knew to where or for what fate.” What I most liked in this sentence is the irrevocable absoluteness of “..NO One knew..”

 Well, by ‘my what I where told by myself’  I know that SOME know what where the fate of the people taken away…

For example, the Belgian Benedictine priest, Reverend Henry Reynders  who saved my life and the life of  many other children from deportation, he and the whole Belgian rescues organisations knew perfectly well what would be our fate..see here  So,It would be very comforting that you indulge yourself in upgrading your knowledge from ‘No One knew’ to Some knew. The remaining question  will then be: how many is some..