The town of Paris went into lockdown again on October 30th, along with the rest of France. From November 12 to December 12, 2020, I have requested and been granted permission to join the “Maison des Réfugiés” to meet the inhabitants of the emergency accommodation center Jourdan located on the same building, in Paris. In total, 280 people reside there. These center host, guide and shelter people from the street, isolated men and women, most often individuals damaged by the harshness of life “outside”.
I first focus on a reportage on how the re-confinement is experienced in this place and finally conclude that effectively the overall difficulty of respecting the hygiene and physical distancing measures decreed by the national protocol. A question arises: given the smallness of the place, how do you respect social distancing when you live with 280 people and have to share a common bathroom and kitchen?
In conclusion, this health crisis reveals difficult living conditions and a lack of resources which are not new and which in reality only underscore the failure of the reception system in France for years. I decided to reinvent myself to develop a collaborative project in the service of awareness.
The pandemic and the confinement imposed on us all isolate us from our social ties and prevent us from moving and living freely. This situation, which is exceptional for us, raises our awareness of the reality of exiles, undocumented migrants, asylum seekers, forced to move away (geographic, social and family), to restricted and controlled circulation. I am interested in this vital moment when the gazes become horizontal.
We all dream, whatever our origins, of exodus, once our freedom of movement is limited to an imposed perimeter. On Christmas Eve and in a context where the entire population suffers from uncertainty about the possibility of meeting with their family for the holidays, I underline the permanent impossibility for the exiles to be with their loved ones.
Project supported by Emmaüs Solidarité.