“I prefer to think of myself as multidisciplinary, or rather undisciplined. “

Grande Safae, film, 15’56’’, 2014 / Production : Le Fresnoy © Randa Maroufi

What is your link to photography?

Photography is above all a medium for me, I don’t consider myself a photographer and I don’t want to limit myself to a single form of expression. I prefer to think of myself as multidisciplinary, or rather undisciplined. Film gives me this freedom, because I can integrate photography, performance, sound, moving images, staging and also this rather particular relationship to space and to distribution.

We find, at the roots of each of your projects a link and an encounter. Can you explain your creative process?

The starting point of each project is indeed an encounter with a place – a setting, and/or individuals – actors. This fusion seems to me to be essential and precious when it comes to creating fictions that question reality. I try to be part of the landscape and to inhabit the place in such a way as to encourage encounters, links and ideas. Each of my video projects is a collaborative effort with the actors. They take place in an existing place or in a space created by both the people I meet and I.

Each scene thus becomes a reconstitution (not necessarily faithful, sometimes rebuilt, sometimes diverted, sometimes mimetic…) of real images taken on site. I then draw up a storyboard in which I describe a continuity of actions. You could say that each of my films is meticulously thought out and orchestrated: the set, props, framing, lighting, costume, etc. The direction, on the other hand, remains more organic and relies on the surprise of the performance of the participants – often non professionals.

Why do you favour this type of actor?

I really like what Abbas Kiarostami says about working with non-professional actors, and I completely agree with him: “The main thing to understand about non professional actors is that they actually are both directors and scriptwriters […]. This kind of cinema is, for me, a cinema of directors/actors, that is, a combination of the work of both.”

I use imagery to question the living and to propose a reading of reality and contemporary social issues to which I am sensitive. I can’t imagine engaging in this process without this “combination” of work and energy. It is even present in post-production, the last stage of my creative process, but also a second writing of the film, where they really come through. In post-production, the question of rhythm becomes essential: I often choose the sequence shot which allows me to create a unity of place and time, and to maintain a certain dynamic, to combine all the elements of the recreated space.

Women are recurrent subjects in your series (Les Intruses, Nabila & Keltoum & Khadija, Attempts of seduction). Why? What are your commitments to them?

I am not only interested in women, but more broadly in social injustices, societal and political facts. I examine the territory. I question its limits and the ways in which individuals invest it. I seek to reveal what these spaces, real or symbolic, produce on the body.

And what is your relationship with bodies?

I am fascinated by the space bodies take up in public space and they are at the heart of many of my projects. The density of the crowd also reassures me. The line 13 of the Paris metro during rush hour, for example, feels peaceful to me. This mixture of thoughts, voices and bodies evokes a force that make up this common space, and which conditions our relationship with each other. The public space is therefore, for me, the space where these bodies meet and where social link is born. It is what fuels my work, it is my workshop.

How does the border – physical or symbolic – inspire you?

A border can refer to several forms of limits and delimitations, as well as being the extension of a form. What interests me most is this extension – whether it is spatial or human.

Is it legitimate to speak of a female gaze in photography?

I don’t have anything to say in response to this question.

Does being a woman influence your work?

I would say that the fact that I am a woman may give me more energy in my political artistic approach, in view of the factors that determine this condition (because being a woman is also a condition on a societal level), i.e., other people, society, experience, etc.

However, this condition is not decisive for me and should not be reductive: “No one today can be only this or that, writes Edward Said, Indian, woman, Muslim, American, these labels are only starting points”, and this is really how I think of mine.

Who are the female artists who inspire you?

Esther Ferrer, Valérie Jouve, Martha Rosler, Agnès Varda.

Randa Maroufi © Benjamin Geminel/ Hans Lucas


Born in Casablanca in 1987, Randa Maroufi now lives and works in Paris. She graduated from the National Institute of Fines Arts, Tetouan, Morocco, as well as the School of Fine Arts of Angers, and Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains. The artist combines various mediums (photography, performance, video) and focuses on the staging of bodies in the public and intimate spheres. Her work is part of a political reflection, which claims ambiguity and questions the status of images and the limits of representation. Exhibited internationally – at the Reina Sofia Museum (Spain), the New Museum (New York), the Dakar Biennial (Senegal) –, Randa Maroufi has also received numerous awards: SCAM’s Experimental Work Award, Best Experimental Film at the Nova Frontier Film Festival (United States), Best Director at the Social World Film Festival, etc.

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