On Friday 13th November, a series of co-ordinated terrorist attacks occurred in Paris and the northern suburb Saint-Denis. The attacks killed 130 people and injured 368. 89 of those killed were at the Bataclan Theatre, where gunmen opened fire on a large crowd of concert goers before taking hostages and engaging in a stand off with police.
In response to this act of savagery, one of the students decided to base her project on the people that were caught up and killed in this attack, as well as the attacks in Beirut (in which 43 people were killed) and Mali (where 27 people were killed). The names of all those that were killed in these three attacks were printed and stuck in and around the LICA building in a number of locations. The aim of the piece was to show that these people are now just names. They had their own lives, their own families, but now they are dead. Their names are ignored. Despite the fact that students noticed them around the building, no one stopped to consider why they were there or who they were. Admittedly, I never considered looking further into the names. I assumed they were for someone’s work so ignored them. This is perhaps why they were ignored, they were in a space where art works like this are expected. Having said this, however, the main aim of the work was to show that these people are now just names. We don’t care about their stories or how they died.
To document this piece, I wanted to create a sound recording describing the life of one of the names. Having already experimented with audio work in my first piece of documentation, however, I decided to create a short video consisting of a monologue, read over pictures of news reports and mobile phone footage from the Paris attack. The man I chose to research was Mathias Dymarski, a 23 year old French man. Dymarski was a well known BMX rider who was attending the Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan Theatre. He was brutally shot dead along with his girlfriend Marie, who he had been dating for six years. Dymarski was from Metz, but moved to Paris with Marie in September 2014. He was an engineer and she was a student. He was described by his friend Matthias Dandies as:
“a good looking guy, really talented on a BMX bike. He was not a professional rider in the textbook sense, but he was riding a lot, was super stylish, and he enjoyed every bit of it. Every time I met him for a session or at an event he always had a huge smile on his face, always joking around and always down to party.”… “In the end, he was just a positive dude that liked to ride his bike and have a good time with his friends. I’ll always remember his smile…that’s what stands out for me. He was ALWAYS smiling and had the best sense of humour. His nickname was Maccain…”
Dymarski’s name was displayed on a toilet door on the third floor of the LICA building. It was a name that I personally came across on more than one occassion, but did not register it. The reason I chose Dymarski was primarily because of the location of his name. When one finds out about his death, the placement of his name appears distasteful. Without this context, however, the placement is innocent. This was something that struck me deeply.
My documentation of the piece opens with breaking news reports from Fox News, CNN, and Sky News before the monologue begins. Amateur footage is displayed over the top of the monologue with the song ‘Went Missing’ by Nils Fram playing in the background. The monologue begins with the phrase “do you see me?”, a key concept in the original piece. Each new phase of the monologue plays on this statement “do you see me?”, almost as though Dymarski himself is trying to grab people’s attention, saying “don’t forget me.” The monologue continues, stating “You’ll never know me, the world will never know me. You might know my name but you won’t know me.” This, again, is making reference to the key ideas in the original piece–that of not knowing the stories of these victims; refusing to acknowledge their lives at all, only accepting their names. The monologue progresses further with the line “promise me you’ll remember the name: Mathias Dymarski.” being repeated in the final three paragraphs. Here, the piece is trying to address the idea that, in the future, Dymarski will be forgotten; bound to the history books, merely remaining as “a number on the news; a statistic in a book; a name on a wall.” Indeed, this notion is reiterated in the penultimate paragraph in which the narrator (who is portraying Dymarski) states “it’s been 2 weeks and you have forgotten already.” Images of the ‘This Morning’ program are shown with presenters Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby joking around, suggesting that the shock of the attacks has worn off and people have continued with their lives. This is what the original piece looks at and is key in my documentation. The final line brings together the two main notions of the original piece: “Do you see me? No. Just promise me you’ll remember the name: Mathias Dymarski.” The video ends with Dymarski’s name on a black background.
The monologue is almost like a piece of poetry. It evokes an emotive response and plays on the structure of the words. This is specifically seen when the narrator speaks the words of the BBC News presenter “They went in and calmly reloaded their weapons.” What's more, the phrase "the door to heaven" is referencing the bathroom door where the name is located. Yet, what is important about the monologue is the repetition of the key themes. The notion of being forgotten is central throughout the entire piece, something that stems from the original piece (as previously noted).
The video is in black and white to draw attention to the monologue. While the images are significant, removing their colour draws attention to the audio as opposed to what is shown. What’s more, by being in black and white, the piece suggests that these videos are a memory; they are being forgotten; they are in the past. The use of music is also significant in that it creates a stronger emotive response. Without the music, the voice would be speaking over silence. This may have reiterated the idea that Dymarski is now alone, but the use of music provides a deeper meaning to the monologue; it is more moving.
The piece was recorded with a RØDE USB microphone and edited using Final Cut Pro.
The whole monologue can be read below:
Do you see me? Do you see me dying? That man, that woman, that child. Right in front of you on your television screen. I was in that theatre. I was in the crowd. How was I to know? How were we all to know? Who ever could have thought that this would happen. But it has. And now I’m caught up in it.
Do you see me? The one on your phone, the one youre just hearing about, the one that may already be dead. You’ll never know me, the world will never know me. You might know my name but you won’t know ME. I’m gone. A number on the news; a statistic in a book; a name on a wall. Removed from the present and stuck in the past. The doorway to heaven. I see it. But do you see me?
I’m in front of you now. Mathias Dymarski. I’m a BMX rider. That was my hobby. That was my life.
Here I am in Spain. With Marie, my girlfriend of six years. She’s Lying beside me. With me. I see her, she sees me. Together eternally.
But do YOU see me? Do you care? I guess not. I’m just one of the 80 people shot dead. They went in and calmly reloaded their weapons, and with that I was gone. We were gone. Maria and I and all the others, wiped from the present. Promise me you’ll remember the name: Mathias Dymarski
Do you see me? It’s been 2 weeks and you have forgotten already. I’m there when you least expect it. When you need the privacy I’m there. My name. Me. I asked if you if you saw me and you ignored me. Do you see me now? Just promise me, remember the name: Mathias Dymarski
Do you see me? No. Just promise me you’ll remember the name: Mathias Dymarski.