This website uses cookies Accept Learn more
Pauline Klein
DEUXIÈME VOYAGE
5min of reading

In one of these houses there are three Afghans and an Iranian. They’ve been there for two weeks, eight weeks, 11 months and 19 months respectively. In the others, there are Sudanese, Kurds, Chadians and Eritreans. They are grouped by community and by language.

⏤ In each of the houses, intended originally to welcome holidaymakers looking for a break, a bit of respite, calm and rest, they are waiting.

⏤ The curtains are falling apart, the flooring is cracked, the kitchen breathes with the steam of mint tea, and yoghurts are always being concocted. In the kids’ rooms, the fumes from shisha pipes have perfumed the bunkbeds.

⏤ Here, it’s a question of seizing the moment. Days are spent greeting each other, as if meeting each other for the first time; 10, 15 times a day the ritual is repeated. The violence of an entirely empty moment which is only a succession of infinitesimal instants, packed together, and stretching out to infinity.

⏤ The past is a source of nightmares; memory has attached body and soul, an index finger turning on a temple suffices to designate the unspeakable memory – translatable neither from the point of view of language nor the point of view of meaning.

⏤ Sleep comes on beds strewn with images that are not displaced by any activity. Nightmares which function as milestones along a journey which will not be recounted. A gaze that has hardened with the indelible traces which made the journey to these residences which are only a stage, a parenthesis opened on absence, and doubt, a moment to dream between the before and the after.

⏤ A piece of paper folded against the heart, in the pocket of an anorak which has crossed the world, and come to rest only at the threshold of a life made of monsters.

I settle down next to them. One of them is Kurdish and a little older than the others. He shows me his Facebook page; I don’t understand a thing. No articles on narcissistic behaviour, no tirades about everyday sexism – it’s a whole other world! I drink a fermented yoghurt and doze off on their sofa in front of TMC. I wake up a few hours later. They’ve taken my shoes off. I’ve dribbled on the sleeping bag that they folded into a pillow for me. They’ve drawn the tattered curtains; through the holes I can see the steaming countryside. I can see what they see. They’ve taken refuge in the bedroom; speaking quietly so as not to disturb me. They’re my parents; I am awake, they are coming. I wipe my mouth, they prepare a yoghurt for me, tinned peaches and biscuits. I must be hungry. I eat watching a young girl play the zither on the screen of a mobile phone. They’ve put it there to wake me up gently, propping it up against half a plastic bottle.

⏤ One day, later, today, in a year, a woman will emerge from the forest and will make it official: either hope or its end. A woman will emerge from the forest, with a mauve folder under her arm, she will smile perhaps, she’ll address the man by his first name. He will have a month to leave the village, to take the train, pay a fine, get to Paris, be escorted to an airplane and go back to where the horror began, make the return journey, go back in time, retraces one’s steps, in the air, over the mountains which will not have killed anyone, a sea which will not have drowned anyone, at a speed which no one will ever feel, with perhaps, a nostalgia for this tree, these houses, the greetings of these men, who we will scatter across the world, with words not understood in the reprieve, in the waiting for a silenced dream.

Translated into English by Sara & Emma Bielecki

Extract from the book Lost Island by Alexandre Guirkinger and Pauline Klein, presented at the Dummy Book Award, Rencontres d'Arles 2018.

Writer
Pauline Klein
Photographer
Alexandre Guirkinger
Photographer
Alexandre Guirkinger

MORE CONTENT

DECONSTRUCTION WOULD BE THEIR TOOL OF RENOVATION.
DECONSTRUCTIONLAND
The deconstruction of Paul Vacca
"We’re in the world of utopia"
YES FUTURE!
Decoding by Micha Barban Dangerfield
HOW IS PHILIPPE KATERINE?
An interview with Pierre Lescure
MY MISSION, AS A DIRECTOR, IS TO BE A FERRYMAN. 
THOMAS JOLLY
“I draw inspiration from wherever I can. I don’t want to erect cultural barriers”
The avatar is me
Julien Tauvel
A discussion with Sophie Abriat
A SEXUAL DIARY
By Arthur Dreyfus
"I want my life to be a firework !"
COLOUR BOY
Portrait of Camille Villegas by Claire Bonnot
UNE LEÇON DE MATIÈRES
Olivier Gabet. Photography Katrin Backes