Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation
Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles 2017
CURATOR. SERGIO VALENZUELA ESCOBEDO
PRODUCER ARLES 2017. CAROLINE COURRIOUX
DIRECTOR ARLES 2017. SAM STOURDZE
The Ninety-Nine Percent
Breda Photofestival 2016
Book / News Print
Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation
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About the book:
ENG. For Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation, the Franco-Venezuelan photographer Mathieu Asselin was awarded the Dummy Book Award Kassel 2016, and a special mention for the Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award 2016 at the Rencontres de la Photographie (Arles). Beyond the distinguished editorial object, this recognition enshrines an exceptional documentary process conducted for five years through Vietnam and the United States, which portrays an overwhelming portrait of the ancient and current practices of this giant chemical industry.
In order to construct his meticulous investigation, Mathieu Asselin exhumed and consulted hundreds of documents - press excerpts, judgments, archives, films, and testimonies - focusing on facts or dates that dramatically illustrate the ravages of all kinds which mark the company's long history of sprawling development. Thus, the drama of the small town of Aniston (Alabama, 1970), that became a ghost city as a result of releases into the air and water of the infamous and poisonous chlorinated PCB derivatives produced by the local factory. Thus, the terrifying Agent Orange - another Monsanto product - an acid-based herbicide and defoliant which the US military will detonate on the plains of Vietnam from 1968 to 1971, permanently contaminating up to ten percent of its territory and causing thousands of victims.
The book also methodically illuminates another facet of Monsanto's processes to establish its global grip: propaganda and communication. Whether they are advertisements describing an ideal world where chemistry and its derivatives contribute to universal well-being, or subjugating contracts signed by thousands of farmers condemning them to an unfair economic model and ecological nuisance, each document published by Monsanto can be analyzed as an exercise in disinformation. Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation is intended to pay tribute to the hundreds of associations, to the thousands of famous or anonymous individuals, "to the NGO's who oppose with tenacity and at their own risk the perils of the Monsanto lobby".
Ninety-Nine Percent News Print
The Ninety-Nine Percent by Mathieu Asselin, this work presents a series of individual portraits of protestors made in a temporary studio within New York’s Zuccotti Park, printed in the format of a newspaper with a print run of 1000 (900 were distributed free of charge on the streets of the city.) Using a newspaper format, for me, is significant; the traditional news media, in spite of the internet, are still perceived as more reliable in the public mind as a source of truth and their reporting of events forms the broad parameters of debate within which an issue is viewed by middle-class opinion. The photographer has clearly built up an engagement with each individual he photographs and this comes through in the final images which exhibit a vibrancy that can only be attained once a rapport has been established. Presented in a grid format over three pages, the portraits serve to present a snap-shot in time of a spontaneous movement made up of courageous (committed protest takes courage) and idealistic individuals whose only weapon is moral outrage against injustice.
extrait from the article: propagandafotos
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