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

Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, GF

The starting point of the film Sector IX B was the discovery of an old family photo album containing a series of pictures of objects as well as a series of pictures of individuals, families, officers and landscapes. All these photographs were shot in Gabon by the artist’s grandfather over a period of three years, from 1931 to 1934. Secteur IX B is a fiction, almost science-fiction, film, which weaves political issues together with scientific and artistic narratives which still inform national and international relations in the former colonial empire today. The project re-reads a personal desire to collect and classify objects in light of a collective history. Among all the collecting campaigns, the Dakar-Djibouti mission and its role in the creation of the Musée de l’Homme is the most significant example available, especially thanks to Michel Leiris’ diary.

Sector IX B deals with the policies of cultural appropriation – of places and modes of knowledge production – as well as how we can question this scientific legacy now. On the one hand, the film aims to subvert the homogeneity of scientific adventure narratives in a colonial context; on the other hand, it questions the place each individual occupied – in this specific case the artist’s grandfather – in the processes of cultural appropriation and the accumulation of symbolic and economic wealth. The main character is a young anthropologist trying to redefine the boundaries of her discipline. In order to do this, she redesigns the pharmaceutical prescriptions given to the members of the famous Dakar-Djibouti Mission, then tests the effects of the drugs on herself. She falls slowly in a fantastical world, sinking into a hallucination entirely produced by the synthetic substances.