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Silent Blocks

Myr Muratet, David Cayley - Silent Blocks
Silent Blocks considers two point of views on the Covid-19 pandemic and the way it is dealt by Western countries during the lockdowns of spring 2020. First, Myr Muratet's photographs in a silent Paris. Then, the thoughts of Canadian science journalist David Cayley, based on the work of philosopher Ivan Illich.
During the spring of 2020, in Toronto, David Cayley questions the Covid-19 pandemic and the way it is dealt with by Western countries. Based on the work of philosopher Ivan Illich, he asks if “the ontology of systems” we live in could have been the cause of this time of crisis. He warns against a certain denial of death, which “hides the other things that are going on – the mass experiment in social control and social compliance, the legitimation of telepresence as a viable mode of sociability and instruction, the increased surveillance, the normalization of biopolitics, and the reinforcement of risk awareness as a foundation of social life.”
At the same time in Paris, following the introduction of lockdown measures to control the coronavirus pandemic, the streets suddenly emptied. Sanitary measures, enforced by the police system have allowed the revving up – met with little resistance – of its security policy, which was introduced a few years prior with the Vigipirate plan (national antiterrorism security alert) among other things. The photographer Myr Muralet documented the silent city in his own way.
Myr Muratet is a Paris-based photographer. His work involves cities, both those he lives in and those he visits, and he carries it out from within their very sinews. The comings and goings in the places that he observes multiply according to his encounters with the people he photographs. This work has been under way for several years and has no determinate duration; in this way, he has created Paris-Nord, a series of photographs begun in 2003, about the people who use the Gare du Nord and about the mechanisms put in place to coerce and contain them. The series that he has already begun overlap one other and together constitute a kind of addendum to the topology of the forms and mechanisms that are adopted by the agents of the processes, processors and other procedures that are involved. Without interrupting these series, Myr Muratet has shown more recently in Wasteland, CityWalk, Calais, the results of hugely destructive policies and the work of “sanitation professionals” under the boot of the petty bosses of the “administration of containment.” In this work in progress, he investigates the notions of occupation and invasion in the abandoned urban areas of Seine-Saint-Denis. One might say that it is a way to make a fixed photographic representation of a systematic concatenation of methods of counterinsurgency, and then to go beyond it. The intersection of these different series reveals the stakes of domination and abuse exercised by all powers, be they digital, economic, or aesthetic. A paltry gesture perhaps, but nonetheless effective, at least as a lament and clearing of the accounts for these wounded spaces and the people who inhabit them.
David Cayley is a Toronto-based Canadian writer and broadcaster, who is known for documenting philosophy of prominent thinkers of the 20th century—Ivan Illich, Northrop Frye, George Grant and René Girard. During more than thirty years, his work has been broadcast on CBC Radio One's programme Ideas.
Text by David Cayley.

Graphic design: Marie Pellaton.

Published by Nouveau Palais, Rennes.
published in April 2021
bilingual edition (English / French)
16,5 x 27 cm (hardcover)
96 pages (color ill.)
ISBN : 978-2-9572072-1-3
EAN : 9782957207213
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