The original idea of the Museum of the Person—a global network for life stories—was initiated in 1991 by anthropologists and historians in São Paulo, Brazil. It has been spreading ever since to various universities worldwide. Between 2011 and 2013, the GdRA decided to create a work based on the endeavour of this international museography network. The group was then commissioned by Marseille-European Capital of Culture 2013, Théâtre d’Arles and Théâtre du Merlan, Marseille.
VIFS, un Musée de la Personne is devoted to the collection of life stories. This approach focuses on singularities, on communities and offers a reflection on the individual’s pluralities and on how the word “portrait” can be understood. Anyone who wishes to can have their stories recorded, preserved and spread: such is the central principle of VIFS. Twelve stories have been chosen and together, they show the boundaries of a territory made afresh; a made-up territory, an imagined community.
Twelve people—inhabitants, passers-by, transmitters, travellers—tell the camera fragments of their stories. Under the impetus of these stories and these people’s life experiences, in time and space, in the here and now, the territory, as defined by geometers, geographers, sovereigns and the governing ones, is blown to smithereens. A thick framework of relationships thus emerges; relationships in which individuals, cartographer’s layouts, boundaries and beings of any kind are suddenly looking in the same direction. They are the livings (vifs) and together they form the portrait of an inhabitant that is both a person and a territory and whose acting body throws its first movement beyond established boundaries.
VIFS, un Musée de la Personne is a video installation showing twelve filmed portraits, an interactive multimedia device on the topic of territory/person, a performance combining the art of trampoline, music and songs on the one hand and songs, texts and images on the other. This installation thus tells about our moving fragile beings, who make landscapes and cities together.