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This video was filmed during a series of performances con- ducted by Mona Hatoum in 1985 in the streets of Brixton, a working class, predominantly black London suburb.

She is seen walking barefoot on the sidewalk, through Brixton’s market and arcades, for an hour. The laces of her Doc Mar- tens shoes, commonly used at the time by the police but also by skinheads and punks, are tied to her heels, hindering her progression, which is slow and difficult. By exposing as she does the fragility of her bare feet against the harshness of the street and the heavy boots she painstakingly drags behind her like a burden, she denounc- es the violence of social order (at the time, Brixton was sub- ject to violence and riots that were severely repressed), but perhaps also the difficulty and the pressure to submit to any form of “integration”, as well as questions of integration and uprooting.

In 1975, Mona Hatoum came to London for a brief stay but couldn’t go home because war had just broken out. This forced exile and the brutal separation from her family that had remained in Beirut will become the themes of her videos and other works, through which she will attempt to “reproduce”, or rather “re- construct” a past that seems to haunt her.

Courtesy: the artist and White Cube, London.