Nassim Rouchiche - Algeria

Musée National du Mali

Ça va waka (2015)

Nassim Rouchiche immerses himself in the daily life of a Sub-Saharan African community that established itself in one of the most celebrated buildings of Algiers, the Aero-habitat designed by Louis Miquel, a disciple of Le Corbusier. Plunged into this paradoxical environment, the subjects are at the same time residents of Algiers and invisible to Algerian society. “Ça va waka” is both an anthem and a reflection of the community : a fusion of English and French meaning “It’s going to be okay.”

This black-and-white series illustrates the daily activities of the community as well as their precarious living conditions. Whether it be in the intimate setting of their living spaces or the public setting of the streets, darkness and disappearance are recurring themes in the series. The living space is actually an enclave in the sub-basement of the 21-floor building. Phenomenologically, this basement is a sublime location for both protection and unconsciousness, a place where both dreams and secrets are buried. In the public settings, the street scenes are all taken at night, a temporality defined by rest, but also by hidden or illicit activities.

Although the artist emphasizes the documentary aspect of the project, the fictional aspect is equally present and intriguing, as demonstrated in the phantom-like erased representation of the migrants’ bodies set against the contrasting concrete building. This effacement of the bodies creates a sort of persistence of vision that extends the figures out into our own reality, haunting our very understanding of the world.

Born in Algiers, Algeria in 1977 –
Lives in Algiers

Institut Français
Ministère de la Culture de l’Artisanat et du Tourisme du Mali