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Published on Sep 29, 2008
This is video documentation of a public program where poet, writer and artist Gérald Bloncourt (b. 1926) discusses political events in Haiti during 1944-46. The axis points of this narration are a lecture by André Breton and Bloncourt's friendship with that lecture's organizer, Pierre Mabille, who was at the time France's cultural attaché in Haiti. As Bloncourt tells, this was a period during Élie Lescot's presidency, considered then and still today a dictatorship. At the time, Bloncourt, Jacques Stephan Alexis and others were part of a group of artists and writers who published in the newspaper called La Ruche, of which Rene Depestre was chief editor.
At 19 years of age, Bloncourt's task during Breton's lecture was to back-up his friend Stephan Alexis, whose responsibility in turn was to assassinate Lescot, present at Breton's lecture. However, the assasintation failed, and the young revolutionaries went into hide-out. La Ruche published Breton's lecture but was immediately seized by Lescot. A series of student uprisings led to more social unrest. In February 1946, Bloncourt left Haiti, and soon after arrived to Paris, thanks to Mabille's diplomacy, as a political exile.
Mabille died in the 1952. Stephan-Alexis was tortured and killed in 1961 in Haiti, during the Duvalier dictatorship. Bloncourt still lives and works in Paris. In 2007, he co-authored with Michael Löwy "Messagers de la Tempête. André Breton et la Révolution de Janvier 1946 en Haiti" (Paris: Le Temps des Cerises, 2007).
Gérald Bloncourt's brief narration of these events, documented in the video, were followed by a poetry reading. This program took place on September 18, 2008 at the Musée de Montmartre in Paris. It was organized by Kadist Art Foundation as part of the exhibition "Archaeology of Longing" curated by Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy.