” Utopia ? “Is a video of artist Hervé Youmbi that highlights the dream of a free Africa economically prosperous, Africa that has managed to source healthily into electrical energy and which effectively contributes to the discovery of space. Africa a flagship of the world. This work also raises questions about the utopian nature of the achievement of dreams that inhabit the consciences of positive son of Africa.
The impact of the transatlantic slave trade, colonization and globalization on the development of Africa remains very noticeable. The “Africa without Fric” as song the famous Cameroonian nationality saxophonist Manu Dibango is generally seen as the continent of all evils: poor governance, poverty, disease and pollution of all kinds are unfortunately sad facets through which the world media communicate on it. Although this continent sight born illustrious son as Nelson Mandela, Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Cheikh Anta Diop, Thomas Sankara, Oumou Kalsoum, Fela Kuti, EL Anatsui, William Kentridge … has trouble taking off, strength however, to see that it is full of all kinds of resources are undoubtedly him one of the great hope of the planet. The large population of Africa at the turn of the century was endowed with a predominantly young population keen tools and new information and communication technology. A major and indispensable asset to the development of Africa today. The dynamism of its highly skilled diaspora because formed in major Western schools is also noteworthy. According to Professor Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Africa’s problem is not to “reduce” its defects, but to stop producing them. In the same vein, we should not stop presenting Africa only through the prism of his difficulties. It is in this perspective that fits the video “Utopia? “.
This work illustrates the dreams of a prosperous Africa living positive awareness of the continent’s son. Dreams that seem utopian given the economic and political situation of the continent today. Is the African cursed? Its development is compromised forever? These are the underlying questions in video art.
“Utopia ?” is a plastic art that prefigures a true union of the African continent states through the effective implementation of an African single currency “AFRIS”. The expression of the true symbol of economic independence of this continent rich in resources of various kinds. The question of a single African currency that appeared in the period of independence in the sixties is recurrent. Visual artists Pascale Marthine Tayou (Cameroon) and especially Mansour Ciss (Senegal) gave a resounding echo to the expression of the african dream of a single currency through the representation of “AFRO”. The term Afro nowadays is loaded with a heavy expression of identity claim advocating the value of the black man. A connotation of the word that addresses the expression of multiracial face that counts the continent in its contemporary perception. The “AFRIS” consists of the first four letters of my “AFRICA” and enriched with an “S” at the end as an invariable word. A AFRIS, of AFRIS.
The video “Utopia? “Highlights a banknote of 500 AFRIS value coloured in red and gold. Three elements graphically mark this banknote failure: The reconstruction of the map of Africa by red stars on the gold band, the effigy of the artist profile immortalized in an oval face and another ovoid space in the center of the banknote which cut scrolls in a slow rhythm, images depicting the dream of a prosperous Africa.
Considering the different graphic representations appearing on a currency as an expression of pride and grandeur of the symbols of the state that uses it, the african States would be limited to the representation of masks, literacy the abusive exploitation of its forests and other mineral resources. What about the conquest of the moon or renewable energy?
“Utopia? ‘Projects into the future by presenting a banknote illustrating a positive vision of Africa.
The video begins with a slow fade chained revealing a cut 500 AFRIS Having wind turbines in the oval face in the center of the cut of the banknote. Bright spots appear around the turbines as they always will give way in a slow pace in the face of an astronaut on the moon. The nebula will continue its appearance while the cosmonaut disappears for an image of the world map photographed at night. This image shows an Africa plunged into darkness. Slowly and inexorably the African continent will illuminate the point of turning into flagship of the world.
Motionless since the beginning of the video, the image of the artist in profile in the second oval face will come alive in a laugh before coming to rest again.
Does this laugh punctuates a utopian vision of Africa?