Isabelle Arvers
Video games

The question I ask myself, what I want to understand, is how to live in the jungle, how to restore its humanity, how to create spaces for living and sharing together. How to do the work of a government that shuns it, that refuses to see the urgency of the situation, that focuses instead on “reducing” the number of immigrants in Calais, without ever taking into account the dignity of those in transit, who seek not asylum but to cross the Channel to the UK as soon as possible. In a little less than a year together, the refugees of the jungle have built what has become a city-world. These everyday he- roes are not only able to meet most community needs, they introduce a fledgling political model, based on decisions made from the representative of each community present, which are heard by NGOs, with all due respect to the needs, expectations and voices of the residents. I chose the medium of video games to translate my inter- views of these jungle residents and give them another dimension. The excerpts presented here refer to building the Chemin des Dunes school. Zimako Jones, the project’s instigator and an asylum seeker from Nigeria, was assisted by volunteers and “brothers”. One of these is Marko, a Kurdish man who has been in the jungle for more than 11 weeks. He is helping Zimako finalize the construction of what he calls a forum, a place for meet- ing, exchange and learning for children, as well as for adults.

About the artist

Born in 1972 in Paris, Isabelle Arvers lives and works in Marseille. She is a French media art curator, critic and author, specializing in video and computer games, web animation, digital cinema. She curated exhibitions in France and worldwide on the relationship between art, video and computer games and politics. She also promotes free and open source culture as well as indie games and art games. In the second half of the 2000s, her growing interest in Machinima (films created with video games using a 3D graphics engine 3D) led her to create important interactive workshops and exhibitions in France, as well as in the Czech Republic, Canada and Brazil. Her recent activities include curating the exhibitions “antiAtlas of Borders” (2013), “Art of Bordering” (2014) and “End of the map Exhibition” (2015) in Berlin, Rome and Paris.

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Courtesy: the artist