Le Cube, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Paris, France


Exploring the concepts of memory & memorial, "Touch me" (2013) is a high-tech, touch-sensitive, video & sound artwork created by Paul Emmanuel. It is a non-partisan complement to his Lost Men France planned for the 2014-18 Centenary of World War One. “Touch me” portrays a progression of closely-cropped, video vignettes of Emmanuel's body either fully exposed or clothed in historic & contemporary military regalia or in formal corporate attire. A soundtrack of the artist's voice invites the viewer to touch the 'sensitive screen' or 'skin', provoking the enrobing & disrobing of different areas of his body, revealing & concealing his skin temporarily branded with the names of casualties of armed-conflict. These fleeting impressions fade or re-appear as the viewer continues touching – evoking a repeated ‘healing’ or 're-wounding' of the skin. "Touch me" depicts the names of both black & white South African First World War servicemen, pressed into the artist’s body alongside those of the Allies & Germans. Further unveilings also reveal South Africa's involvement in The Second World War, Korean War, Angolan Bush War, the 2012 Marikana Miner's Strike & the 2013 Central African Republic Conflict.

The exhibition of "Touch me" at Le Cube is organised as part of the South Africa-France Seasons 2012 & 2013.


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© Paul Emmanuel