Disappearing operations
Opérations de la disparition (Operations of disappearance)
Opérations disparaissantes (Operations that disappear)
Opérations pour disparaître (Operations for disappearing)

has been conceived as a travelling exhibition that is both visible and invisible, viewable and unviewable.

“Opérations de la disparition” (Operations of disappearance): the inquiry begins with a series of films on exoticism, inspired by the imagery of a tropical, neo-colonial elsewhere that haunts cinema, anthropology and popular culture. There is a persistent need to understand how entire communities become marginalised through stigmatising or archetypal representations under the pretext that they are so-called “others” — apprehended here as aesthetic operations for invisibilising certain communities and thus excluding them from collective, political and social debate.

“Opérations disparaissantes” (Operations that disappear), a series of one-off experiences/experiments. Performances or performative situations linked to cinematographic screening. Film as a series of rituals, to be constantly invented and renewed — histrionic games and stagings. An exhibition made up of a series of brief encounter. The empty time between them, populated by the echoes of what has been seen, and expectations of what is to come, are also considered an inherent aspect of the exhibition — even if we cannot see or view anything during these intervals.

“Opérations pour disparaître” (Operations for disappearing). Gradually, travelling, moving about begins to emerge as the symptom of my constant desire to leave, like the palpitation of a hidden, secret morbidity that I communicate with by taking flight. But this impulse for movement also manifests the latent states of desire, which is precisely what keeps me going, the hopes of metamorphosis that allow for adventures and mysterious quests. And at this point the gestures towards my own disappearance (or death?), the constant state of uprootedness, become signs of health, the possibilities of a passionate shiver, the camouflaged resistance against an identity break-down:

                                               If you meet your parents in Hamburg
                                               or elsewhere

                                               Pass them like strangers, tum the
                                               corner, don't recognize them
                                               Pull the hat they gave you over your

                                               Do not, oh do not, show your face
                                               Cover your tracks!

Disappearing operations is an exhibition composed of works that grew out of my doctorial research Eclats et absences. Fictions ethnographiques  (Shards and absences. Ethnographic fictions) whose point of departure was an antagonism with ethnography, but which ultimately sought to see ethnography as a fertile ground for developing fictions. The exhibition will involve five sessions in five different venues – and the vacant time of absence between them.



Disappearing operations
Opérations de la disparition (Operations of disappearance)
Opérations disparaissantes (Operations that disappear)
Opérations pour disparaître (Operations for disappearing)

A travelling exhibition by Laura Huertas Millán, held at the Le Méliès cinema, Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, Les Beaux-Arts de Paris and La Fémis.

In collaboration with: Mati Diop, Charlotte Bayer-Broc, Lyes Hamadouche, Raimundas Malasauskas and Eva Revox.

Session 1. Filiations.
Preview of Soleil Noir.
Screened in conjunction with Mille soleils by Mati Diop.
Screening followed by a discussion with the filmmakers.
Cinéma Le Méliès (Montreuil). In partnership with Cinéma 93 and the department of Seine-Saint-Denis (Short film funding scheme)
Wednesday 30 November, 8 p.m.
Estimated duration: 2 hours.

Session 2. Opérations pour une disparition.
Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers
Screening of The Lightning, Care, Black on Red.
Followed by a performance created in collaboration with Lyes Hammadouche
Followed by a DJ set by Eva Revox.
Friday 2 December 2016, 7.30 p.m.
Estimated duration: 2 hours.

Session 3. Frictions ethnographiques.
Beaux-Arts de Paris, Amphithéâtre d’Honneur
Screening of Premier Contact, La libertad, Voyage en la terre autrement dite.
Followed by a performance created in collaboration with Charlotte Bayer-Broc.
Monday 5 December 2016, 7 p.m.
Estimated duration: 2 hours.

Session 4. L’exposition invisible.
An afternoon with Raimundas Malasauskas
Beaux-Arts de Paris, Amphithéâtre d’Honneur
Thursday 15 November, from 2 p.m.


Exhibition sponsored by:
Université Paris Sciences et Lettres, Beaux-Arts de Paris, École Normale Supérieur rue d’Ulm, Film Study Center and Sensory Ethnography Lab (Harvard University), d’Arquetopia – Fundación para el desarrollo, Videobrasil, Evidencia Films, Les Films du Worso, Cinéma 93, Department of Seine-Saint-Denis, Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, La Fémis, Le Fresnoy - Studio national des arts contemporains, Programa C – Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín


“Entrer en monde, c’est aussi bien y demeurer qu’y dévirer, y dériver” (Edouard Glissant)

Travel, migration and multiculturalism have shaped Laura Huertas Millán’s artistic work. Born in 1983 in Bogota, Colombia, she acquired French nationality after living in the country for seventeen years. A graduate from the Beaux-Arts de Paris and Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains, her first cinematographic works intertwined ecology and post-colonial studies in the form of ethnographic, Surrealist travelogues on the theme of exoticism. These films called forth early anthropological images, accounts of European travellers to the “New World”, postcards of human zoos in nineteenth-century Paris and “first contact” films between so-called “natives” and Westerners.

Following these initial projects, in 2012 she began the SACRe practice-based doctoral programme at Paris Sciences et Lettres University, working on a project titled “Éclats et absence. Fictions ethnographiques” which she pursued jointly at the Beaux-Arts de Paris, École Normale Supérieure rue D’Ulm, the Sensory Ethnography Lab and the Film Study Center at Harvard University. The works that grew out of this inquiry form a kind of guild or network that emerges within the frictions and communions of the acting of a specific community (a family of Zapotec weavers in Mexico, her own family in Bogota and a native Amazonian community). Through fiction and/or staging, these works specifically attend to potential political and social emancipations.

These films, made in Colombia, Mexico and France, along with a selection of performance pieces, will be presented in Paris and neighbouring Montreuil and Aubervilliers in the form of a travelling exhibition titled Disappearing operations - Opérations de la disparition, Opérations disparaissantes, Opérations pour disparaître, showing from 30 November to 15 December 2016. The exhibition will include several one-off events, each taking place in a different venue— the Cinéma Le Méliès, Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, Les Beaux-Arts de Paris and La Fémis. Each of these experiences/experiments will be the unfolding of a different cinematographic ritual, and the intervals between the various presentations will be apprehended as inherent aspects of the exhibition project.

In this way, Disappearing operations will be an itinerant exhibition, both visible and invisible, in which staging becomes performance, and film sometimes becomes immaterial, while the fictions that have grown out of ethnography will be screened. This final presentation of a thesis will take on a nomadic, fragmentary form, taking shape between various sites and environments — thus echoing the very crafting process of Laura Huertas Millan’s films. Disappearing operations obliquely develops sensations, affects and thoughts related to questions of absence, travel, resistance to the break-down of identity, and self-portraiture. –¬ themes that ultimately haunt this project, rooted in an exhaustive, critical consideration of the representation of the “native” figure in cinema.