The Palais de Tokyo offers a day of screening for Suzanne Husky’s new film, La Leçon des barrages. Initiated as part of the first Choi Foundation Prize for Contemporary Art of which she is the winner (2021), the medium-length film presented in a loop, will be followed by a conversation between the artist and the historian Rémi Luglia at 7pm.
Access on presentation of the exhibition ticket.
French-American artist Suzanne Husky directs her new film in the United States, following a team of fake beaver dam builders – a profession that is currently developing on the West Coast. La Leçon des barrages [The Bars Lesson] presents a community that offers itself in a radical way to the care of the land: they build dams in a light and artisanal way, fighting against the drought of streams, rivers and creeks. By retaining water and sediments, these new dams amplify the riparian zones (vegetation zones that develop at the edge of rivers or bodies of water) and contribute to the return of plants such as beavers, so that the latter resume their roles within a global ecosystem.
According to the artist, “you have to imagine that in the whole northern hemisphere, in all the rivers, there were millions of beavers. You have to imagine that when we killed those millions of beavers for their fur, the fresh water, the sediment and the organic matter were no longer held back by their millions of dams. The salinity of the ocean dropped, its organic matter content increased, the continents dried up, and the climate changed. We must understand that the beautiful, clean river of our imagination is a river that has lost its braids and its inhabitants. We must also imagine that before the invention of the axe, beavers and humans lived close together. It is important to know that the IPCC report announces an increase in fires and recommends working with the beaver. What if our futures were made of ponds instead of polyester shell pools, and that we restored them to the point of drinking their water!”
Based on her podcast “Ma mère l’oie et autres histoires de la terre”, Suzanne Husky extends La Leçon des barrages with a narrative and poetic intervention about the beaver. In dialogue with Rémi Luglia, historian and naturalist involved in the nature protection movement, they will constitute a journey through time and consciousness, in order to foresee new relationships between human and non-human lives.
Initiated in 2021 by the French Embassy in China and the Choi Foundation, the Choi Foundation Prize for Contemporary Art is the first French-Chinese art prize dedicated to the links between contemporary creation and ecology. This initiative aims to reward artists who are committed to environmental and ecological issues. The Palais de Tokyo (Paris) and the Today Art Museum (Beijing) are partners of this edition, whose winners are Suzanne Husky (France) and Tong Yixin (China).