Killing Us Softly, 2019
Triptych about the Chlordecone tragedy affecting the French West Indies based on the Japanese pictorial maxim of the three wise monkeys “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. It symbolises how the French Government pressurised by a minority of influent large planters behaved towards the French Caribbean population over more than 30 years. Except in this case, ignoring or underestimating a mass contamination by pesticide lead to heavy consequences affecting us today and centuries to come.
The pesticide officially declared toxic in 1972 and banned in the US in 1976 following an environmental crisis in Hopewell (Virginia), continued to be legal under the French government for use on the islands until 1993.
A 2013 study found among adults in Martinique and Guadeloupe, that 95% had chlordecone in their blood while they rank number one in the world for rates of prostate cancer.
Chlordecone is a persistent and long lasting toxin remaining in the soil for up to 600 years with a range of harmful effects on humans including cancer, infertility and premature births.
With the use of golden blood, it is suggested that while our people are bleeding and dying, all “they” see is gold. The real poison being greed, profit by any means necessary without concerns about the collateral damage on your own turf.
Photography and Dataviz by Mr Geez (Gerald Marie-Nelly), London based visual story teller from Martinique
Male model is Ralph Richer from the Ziloka traditional music group based in London, UK
Three data visualisations have been created alongside the photographic portraits with different theme:
– Panel 1 (See No Evil) is Who? Shows the international dimension of the trajedy, which Countries and organizations were involved from the 60s to this day
– Central Panel 2 (Speak No Evil) is What? Shows various facts about the crisis, with various action categories such as Danger, Warning, Studies, Safety
– Panel 3 (Hear No Evil) is When? Shows a symbolic timeline with the distribution of various events or actions affecting the population considered dangerous, safe, warnings, scientific studies, community petitions and crowdfunding, legal and lobbying
Speeches linked to QR codes on Panel 1 (See No Evil) and Panel 3 (Hear No Evil) are from M. Malcom Ferdinand (environmental engineer, doctor of political philosophy and CNRS researcher) during the French Parlementary Commission of Enquiry about Chlordecone in September 2019 (report expected December 4th) – translated and read in English & various languages by neural network Amazon Polly cloud service – https://geez.mq/kus_1/ – https://geez.mq/kus_2/
Speech linked to QR code on central Panel 2 (Speak No Evil) is “My island is poisoned” by Ralph Richer (portrait model) and music from the Ziloka traditional music group based in London, UK – https://geez.mq/killing_us_softly/poisoned