Searching for one's roots means going through branches, crossing and recrossing names, observing without understanding, without situating, faces that are at first foreign and blurred. Before seeing the details, you have to uncover the structure, replay nature and time to build and make the tree grow. But it is never a single tree, a clear ramification. There is neither beginning nor end, only environments and intermediaries. Faces appear, but only partially, in transparency. They are only steps to the next level or links from the previous level. The people discovered and their faces disappear behind the link.
Each tree crosses others, each branch mixes with dozens of others, takes part in other groups, forms a new lineage, unveils other facets of those we have discovered, that we thought we would keep to ourselves but that we must finally share. Each interweaving, each knot is a crossroads to other roots, other identities, other invisible stories.
Nothing is definitive. This freeze frame, this pose during a family reunion only marks a pause in the journey. What should have been frozen, stable, immutable, because already past comes alive, takes us on board, pushes us to see further. We have to follow these paths, go up and down them, try all the junctions, to gradually see the structure lighten until it finally disappears, to see the faces, until then simply posed on names, finally take on their features. It is only after going through the branches, only because we have learned them by heart that we can no longer see them, and let our eyes pierce through them.
As we have to give ourselves time to let our eyes get used to the darkness, we have to accept these comings and goings, these eternal restarts of the search to bring to light those who for generations have been posing waiting for us.
Florent Barzic - January 2021