Manifesta purposely strives to keep its distance from what are often seen as the dominant centres of artistic production, instead seeking fresh and fertile terrain for the mapping of a new cultural topography.

Manifesta 13 Marseille was one of the only international biennials to take place during the global pandemic COVID-19, the biennial ended earlier than planned due to the second national lockdown

Benjamin de Burca, Barbara Wagner, BR/DE

The eighth audio-visual collaboration of Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca references the work of Bob Quinn, the Irish filmmaker whose productions in the 1980’s (specifically Atlantean, a quartet of documentary films and accompanying book) were dedicated to deconstructing the hegemonic Eurocentric imaginary and elaborating on the role that North African cultures have played in the formation of Irish culture. Through an anti-colonialist approach, Quinn’s work remains an important historical document which is more relevant today than ever before.

Wagner & de Burca’s film invites the viewer to enter its narrative through two distinct and seemingly mirrored chapters. The first is set at a sumptuous 17th century Anglo-Irish colonial manor of the landlord class, located in southwest Ireland, and the latter at a 19th century stately mansion built by a bourgeois French family, located in the centre of Marseille. Each of these houses carries the weighted atmosphere of its privileged history in their architecture and décor – a history now preserved, as both have become museums open to the public.

As in other films of the duo, ONE HUNDRED STEPS unfolds through a hybrid language between documentary and fiction. Here, the visitors to these museums reveal themselves to be performers. Their musical performances act as ephemeral occupations of these loaded settings, denying a simplified binary relationship between the European and the Other, pivoting the power relations of who is doing the telling and who must listen. It is in this third territory in which Wagner & Burca’s narrative is established, wherein the voices and bodies of these artists forge new imaginations around these historical narratives.