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Color film, no dialogue, 64’
Director / Editor / Producer: François Daireaux
Sound: Suzanne Durand - François Daireaux
Diffuser: Phantom


With Firozabad, François Daireaux visually extends the work in progress of Suite, a non-exhaustive inventory of craft gestures from all over the world started in 2004. Here the artist widens his frame of work from fragments to the bodies in action. Yet Firozabad, a succession of disparate scenes like a “pièce à tiroirs” explores the same theme: the cinematics of labor. In each factory, Daireaux captures the rhythmic, even hypnotic coordination of the bodies, individual movements and the forces inhabiting them. The film is even more choreographic, the ongoing ballet of the workers captivates: the declination of shapes from recycling to liquefaction, from soft reddish substance to the final solid product, in an infinite variety of colors and forms. The life-size framing renders the completeness of the immersion of the artist amidst the workers. He drops the stillness of Suite, changes scale then lets himself be guided by things passing in front of him. Thus the camera slides from one subject to another, from one shape to another, scrutinizing the details, the shapes’ spontaneous outcome, something not so familiar in Daireaux’ practice. Body-camera or body-container, he becomes a go-between, articulating the present forces and forms. Physically experimenting reality is essential to him. The artist stays very close to the glass matter and the workers, filming the bodies and faces in close-up, most of the time facing the camera. The filming is a single movement, grazing the bodies and the outlines of the forms.

The men’s movements and faces are bodily filmed; the skin’s omnipresence contributes to the sensuality, even sexuality transpiring from the images. François Daireaux multiplies shots of the workers hands maneuvering the blowpipes, the soft and loose forms of the glass, shots of necks, nude torsos, the resting (the film is punctuated with images of lying bodies or slack hands) or even the subtle hip swigs of the workers molding the matter. Thus the artist alternates inside shots of the factories and static shots of the walls around them: where there Hindi ads in white paint promote medicine for sexual aid. Referring to the Marxist theories which consider work and procreation as two modes of the same process of vital fertility, it is more the “preservation of the reproductive function” than the sexuality that is at stake. It is striking to see that, although absent from the Firozabi factories (with a few exceptions), the women’s body haunts the male universe pictured here, with this highly feminine accessory, the bangles.

Life and glass seem to be cast in the same cycle as in Firozabad, x-rays of rib cages hanging outside a street shop are inserted by Daireaux; they inevitably evoke the structure of the toras and the transparency of glass. One says that in Firozabad, the people are so absorbed with the glass industry that they don’t breath air but glass…

by alexandrine Dhainaut (extract)