SoPARTS Spotlight: Marielle Chabal

Marielle Chabal is an artist and writer working with short-stories and novels. She uses fiction to interpret and somehow caricature the reality we live in. Her work examines notions such as dystopia, community, and politics.

Alter Zeitgeist, short story collection - 2015. Source: Marielle Chabal

Alter Zeitgeist, short story collection - 2015. Source: Marielle Chabal

What drives you to wake up in the morning & what keeps you up at night?
To imagine that everything can change. That what disturbs me of societies –fascism, racism, intolerance, misunderstanding and war as a solution, patriarchy, and capitalism– recedes; as for the moment, it is still derisory.
Finally, what can really wake me up very early in the morning, is to go diving under the waves at sunrise. And what can keep me awake very late, is to dance all night long, to share a fascinating discussion, or not being able to put a book down.
The rest comes in between.

Why choosing art and particularly, why fiction and story-telling as a means and medium of creation?
Within fiction, whatever I find embarrassing in society, I can simply make it disappear, or hold up its features to make a mockery of it. I love to caricature and subdue the world we live in. I ridicule it, I parody it, I ape, and if the result is not hilarious, I openly mock this vast joke that our reality is, via a random trick. Writing is, in my opinion, the clearest language to communicate; and fiction is a sort of infinity, that immerses people in an indissoluble fetal and lethal state. I think it's very communicative.

What were your motivations to get involved with politics and social theory? Are there any specific issues do you try to address or express through your body of work?
I think I was just born with it. My mother totally incarnated the intellectual Left Parisian marked in the Café de Flore, and in Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone De Beauvoir. And my father was always an active militant for fairer societies; and it did not go away!
There were always talks about politics in the house.
I think that in my work, I often draw upon my rejection of power and authority, and the intolerance and hell of religions. But above all, I am targeting capitalism, as an alienation found at the base of many problems in our societies. Because this capitalist system actually feeds another preexisting structure of oppressionpatriarchy. I mean that it accuses its own features, but uses them as a lever to reinforce itself, while inhibiting the freedom of every person in the world. So I'm targeting the monetary system. Money is something that in essence concentrates. It's the Pareto effect; take a game of Monopoly for instance, when we start everything is strictly equal, then we play, and when we finish, the rich are on one side and the poor on the other. Monopoly is the example of the condensing effect of money –in the microcosm of a monetary reality of artificial scarcity– and thus, an avalanche of social inequality occurs…
In fact, there are a lot of other things. I try to have a speech about everything, an opinion on everything in any case. 

Marielle's quick list of influences

Marielle's quick list of influences

For every pain, there is a pill. For both personal and social “pains”, what is your medicine?
Personally, if I feel bad, I move: I dance, I swim or I take a plane. I sometimes need to remember that I am in a body that interacts with the world and leave my head for a while. Socially, I think I need a lot of exchanging and sharing. Party is an answer to social pain. I think that laughing together is often the best way to move forward. More broadly, I think we have to listen and make a real effort to understand each other. The horrors happening in the world, come from misunderstandings growing among people and communities. Lack of understanding and rejection lead to pain, but so do anger and hate. There must be a way to prevent it.
In reality, I believe my real drug is my positivism and my ability to believe that things will change. Or to write, it is very liberating, even joyful.

What is a normal day for you like during the artistic process? Do you have any rituals in the studio/workspace?
It all depends on the stage of production, whether I am writing or producing things… It depends of where I am located. My rituals change with locations.
At the moment, I am in writing in Norway, and in the morning I re-read what I wrote the day before. Then I have breakfast with lots of stuff and only after that, I set my feet on the ground. Afterwards, I read, I smoke cigarettes, I respond my emails and I quickly drag myself to social networks. Later, I go to my studio or to a coffee shop to write. There, I smoke a lot of cigarettes. But to be honest I believe this is my only actual ritual of the day.

What does community mean to you? How does that community(ies) affect your creative output?
A community is the people with whom you choose to share your life. Good times, bad times, times. They are also the people with whom you share same opinions about the things you care about the most. It's the band we build around us and I like it to be a huge one!
I also like to build communities within (around) my work, that in fact deals in large part with community devices. When you are an artist and you live for a while in this environment, you meet a lot of other artists –and some of them have a lot of affinities with you. So, one would be a moron not to work together on things that could broaden the scope. And that could also be more fun. Take the model of a play, an opera, a film; If the result is so sexy at the end, it's because a whole team is busy with the primer! I find it absurd that contemporary art does not integrate this logic from the start. I also believe that I see collaboration as a duty to question the social role of art. 

Inedie, 2015. Experimental and collaborative movie, result of Kyta 2 residency. Project of ten French and Indian artists (movie maker, actors). Texts by Marielle Chabal. Translated by Charlotte J. Ward. 60 minutes. Source: Marielle Chabal

Inedie, 2015. Experimental and collaborative movie, result of Kyta 2 residency. Project of ten French and Indian artists (movie maker, actors). Texts by Marielle Chabal. Translated by Charlotte J. Ward. 60 minutes. Source: Marielle Chabal

Is there anything you would change in your life, if you had the chance? In the world?
In my life, nothing that would appear in a public interview. And in the world, I would just avoid repetitions!