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

Noailles Debout, FR

November 5th, 2018, two buildings on Rue d’Aubagne in Noailles collapsed, leading to the death of eight people. Fearing further collapses, reports multiply and the municipal government evacuated hundreds of buildings, displacing about 5,000 people in eighteen months, many of whom are yet to find a new home. These measures sparked a wave of protests which criticised the municipal government’s ostensible collusion with commercial property developers at the cost of citizens’ lives. Though there are countless museums commemorating the homes of wealth and power, there are hardly any commemorating the trauma of the ones who have lost their homes and markers.

The Marseille-based association Noailles Debout invited the inhabitants of this neighbourhood to vote on an object, among those they brought in the Museum Street on the 21st of September 2019, that commemorated their collective experience, which would then be submitted to the collection of the Musée d’Histoire de Marseille. Together they settled on a chain that used to lock the entrance to one the evacuated buildings of the neighbourhood. Indeed, even when the buildings were reopened, the chains are unlocked by the authorities but left firmly in place. This vestige of collective trauma also doubles as a reminder of communal solidarity. As Noailles Debout puts it, ‘the ties that unite us are now as strong and heavy as the links in those chains.’