The work ’L’Étranger’ is an adaptation of a poem of the same name, the introductory part of Charlies Baudelaire ’Petits poèmes en prose’. This short piece of prose composed as a poem was published for the first time in 1869 and tells the story of a nihilistic man, who has given up or lost all his connections. He retains no connections with his relatives and seems to have no memories or desires. He has no more patriotic or financial ties and feels removed from God and beauty. This individual has broken completely with his past and also with the present. He no longer belongs anywhere. The position of Baudelaire’s stranger is a unique and absolute position, which is unachievable. The video shows a middle-aged man standing alone in a city park in winter. Behind him, through the leafless trees, can be seen a fountain and the occasional passing car. The sound of water splashing, people talking and children playing can be heard. This man gazes straight ahead to an unidentified point, occasionally glancing to the right, to the left or behind him. The camera remains stationary, showing only the expressions and emotions crossing this unidentified man’s face. The poem, which is constructed as a dialogue, is performed between this figure and an unseen man who poses the questions, beginning with "Who do you love best?" While the man professes to love clouds, he still gazes predominantly and intently ahead of him, in which direction he eventually walks, leaving the static camera gazing on a bleak, wintry scene. With this video, Mekhitar Garabedian reflects on the position of the immigrant/stranger. Each immigrant carries his memory, identity and history as an unavoidable dilemma, torn between the longing to hold on to the past and the lost homeland, and the necessity of generating a new life and identity in the new country. Identity and sense of self can become lost between the two worlds.
L'étranger, Mekhitar Garabedian, 2006 © the artist & producerL'étranger, Mekhitar Garabedian, 2006 © the artist & producerL'étranger, Mekhitar Garabedian, 2006 © the artist & producer  
  • Format miniDV(miniDV)
  • Color system PAL
  • Color col.
  • Year 2006
  • Duration 00:04:04
  • Languageinfo
    Subtitles: English UK
    Spoken: French
  • Artists