LE GRAND LITTORAL MARSEILLE 1996
BY ANDRÉ MÉRIAN
« Le Grand littoral Marseille 1996 » is a photographic commission passed by the « Fonds communal d’art contemporain » of the city of Marseille, to the association SITe, South image territory based in Marseille, of which i was a part and also to other photographers.
After the construction, the « Grand littoral » became a commercial center in 1996, and is one of the largest in Europe and France.
Faced with movements of underground sounds, the shopping center had for several years to condemn for safety reasons an entire wing of his building, wich reopens in end of 2006 !!
The big littoral project : a no-place in representation.
The spectacle offered by a site on the scale of that of the « grand littoral » in Marseille is a spécial moment in the history of a landscape, although the photographic of the site tends to freeze ephemeral and anecdotal forms, it is a matter of grasping something else.
Here it is of particular interest to grasp a reality that must disappear.
We see the brutal disappearance of uses and practices of the place : old quarry of the tileries of Saint Andrew became precarious habitat, hunting and playing field in the city. Then there is the equally brutal émergence of a new symbolic of this space : a certain way of the economic définition of a territory that excaped for a while.
From the point of view of the people, the space of the building site is a no-place . The yard sets the perception of space in the immediacy, the immédiate présence of things and beings without history in relation with this space. This character of the no-place of the space of the building reinforces the violent and destructive appearances. And it is not appearances, because the building site is destructive of the place of which it excludes the inhabitant not only physically but also symbolically. Admittedly, this exclusion is momentary and can also mean hope for employment or enrichment. But in any case, it is first abandonment, loss of territory.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
André Mérian lives and works in Marseille. He exhibits regularly in France and abroad, his works are part of public and private collections, and are the subject of different monographs. He is represented by Les Douches La Galerie in Paris. In 2009, he was nominated for the Discovery Prize at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles.