Honoring traditional Polynesian knowledge, experience and spirit

In the heart of the Pacific Ocean lie The Marquesas Islands, an archipelago comprising 12 islands, 6 of which are inhabited. Still a French territory today, colonization caused considerable damage to the region, and the population of these islands almost disappeared, taking their culture with them. Since the 1980s, Polynesia has witnessed a real awakening of identity, particularly in the Marquesas Islands where tradition is the most protected. These populations are dealing with the challenge of preserving their territory and heritage, while developing tourism and embracing modernity. 

A delicate balance of cohabitation raises themes of mourning and impermanence, memory and transmission, transformation and resilience in these interwoven communities facing the cult of becoming, of surviving. Looking to return to an enlightened vision in these troubled times, the project draws on the wisdom of traditional cultures by focusing on three dimensions: knowledge, experience and spirit. Artists and researchers collect and record the unique stories, memories and songs passed on orally in Marquesan culture. In the field, they document the experience of sculptors and elders who share with them the secrets of making Tapa, a sacred plant fabric created by beating bark with an ironwood beater, and work together with the women of the community to learn the technique. To document the Mana, an energy that, like the breath of spirit, inspires beings and permeates places, the project listens to and observes non-humans on ancient sacred sites and shares their Mana via audio, video and sound documentation.