Fireflies

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Artist: Pauline Curnier Jardin and Feel Good Cooperative

Producer: Jacqui Davies

16mm film 

The Italian countryside was once full of fireflies, but now the  flickering of far-off headlights pepper the fields as johns go hunting for a one-night mate. In the heat of the night, the  reflective glow of other bioluminescent bodies returns the  magic of twinkling lights to the darkness.

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“Fireflies” is a collaborative meditation on liminal spaces and desire. The film was developed together with the sex workers from the Feel Good Cooperative in Rome, which was co.initiated by the artist in an effort to provide financial assistance to sex workers during the pandemic. It was shot on the margins of the ancient imperial city. Long ago, there used to be fireflies there. Today, the headlights of cars act like searchlights, while suitors spot sex workers through erratic flashes of light. They in turn may be lit up by a flashlight directed at their invisible bodies, a brazier or little bonfire. In this instant, the mostly trans sex workers working and performing there are themselves reminiscent of fireflies.
At the centre of Pauline Curnier Jardin’s practice stands the refusal to identify with the masks and markers of violence and the categories and genres of visibility and narratability that sustain and naturalize this violence. Her works animate lived solidarity with violations and subjections, but even more so, with vivid and perpetual rebellions against the total framework of life’s subjection.


– Anselm Franke

In collaboration with HKW Berlin and CRAC Occitanie.