In 2018, the artist and documentary filmmaker Iphigénie Marcoux-Fortier launched an open invitation to women living in the rural areas of Lanaudière—also called Nitaskinan by the Atikamekw Nehirowiskwewok—to take part in the HOMING PROJECT. Women of diverse backgrounds and experiences gathered for a series of conversations on the plural nature of their home. Initiated by a thoughtful sharing process, their powerful yet vulnerable exchanges revealed that the idea of home is intrinsically linked to a universal process of identity-building, and that this can take multiple forms—a physical location, an object, a person, a network of people, a memory, an idea, or even an emotion.
Out of these collective discussions, microhistories emerged to form the basis of the HOMING PROJECT, in which these women share their stories. Each short film, produced co-creatively with Iphigénie Marcoux-Fortier, bears witness to reciprocal respect and goodwill because it was founded in a sensitive form of engagement that values mutual listening and the well-being of each participant. This relational approach is audibly transposed in the videos through narration, drawn from group conversations, which allows the speakers’ murmurings to be heard, and the melody that unites their voices. The visual details that compose these microhistories—houses, people, objects, archives, landscapes, etc.—make visible the poetics of the concept of home. Although each short film is unique and reflects the women who made it, recurring elements draw common threads through these differences. Notably, the repeated use of transparency in representations of the body, reminding us of the universality of our impermanence on the land—the latter also figuring prominently in the videos. For their part, the bird-avatars that personify each co-creator emphasize the singularity of these women. They also symbolize the freedom they reclaim through the act of self-narrative and their shared capacity to find their home again, as suggested by the mobile that reunites them in the centre of the lobby for the duration of the programming.
To date, about thirty women have taken part in this project, which has been presented in almost ten locations throughout the Lanaudière region. This season, the Musée d’art de Joliette is premiering the microhistories of Morgane, Murielle, Amy, Iphigénie, Meky, and Céline. Oscillating between the individual and the collective, between listening and speaking, HOMING PROJECT is like a quilt that displays the heterogeneous histories that, when placed in relation to one another, allow us to address social issues and envisage a harmonious and inclusive coexistence.Booklet
Iphigénie is passionate about the documentary co-creation process. Protean and moving, it feeds and delineates her practice, which unfolds through various collaborations in contexts that are local and international, rural and urban, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, boreal and austral. With a BA in Communications (UQAM) and an MA in Communication Studies (Concordia University), Iphigénie fell in love with documentary filmmaking over twenty years ago, and continues to explore its depths. Along with her friend and colleague Karine van Ameringen, Iphigénie cofounded the media company Les glaneuses, which allows them to make work that reflects their interests: “When Are You Coming Back?” (2005); Je serai là (2010); Épilogue (2015); The Indians, the Eagle and the Turkey (2014); At the Threshold (2013); November (2023). Their films raise issues of identity and emphasize intercultural encounters, philosophies on life (and death), and, like a silent mantra, the love of humanity and attention to details.
Other collaborative works have dotted Iphigénie’s career, including: Eeyu Cheschaaydamowin/The Plant Gathering Project, 2013; Hands On: Women, Climate, Change, 2014; Restons-y donc, 2019; Boris, 2022. Her interests sometimes lead her towards other narrative forms, where interactivity happens during walks through the city (development of BRIB, 2016), or in an audio-literary installation for young adults (Cabanes, 2017). During the fifteen years she worked as a filmmaker-mentor with Wapikoni mobile, the Mapuche School of Filmmaking and Communication of the Aylla Rewe Budi, the research-creation project Power of the Lens and her collaboration with Nunami Sukuijainiq/Imalirijiit, Iphigénie co-created more than forty short- and medium-length films with Indigenous, Mapuche, and Inuit communities. In light of these experiences, she perceives the documentary form as a political and poetic act linked to human beings and to territory, as a leading tool and bridge builder towards a more sensitive engagement. For some time now, with her Launaudière-based co-creators, Iphigénie has focused on embodying her HOME, day after day.
We, the co-creators of the HOMING PROJECT, have been drawn to a movement that recreates our homes through reflection, conversation, sharing, and poetic audiovisual explorations. Rich, complex, and plural reflections on our chez-nous are articulated through intimate conversations that sometimes reveal, in the depths of our silences, murmurings of empathy. As acts of speech and acts of listening, the HOMING PROJECT’s microhistories tell the stories about our knowledge, our wisdom, our memories, our sadness, our fears, our cultures, our challenges, our fantasies, and our ghosts. These are anchored in the many landscapes where we live out our lives. The HOMING PROJECT evokes the ties that bind us in difference, and in its movement, the new links that it creates.
Iphigénie Marcoux-Fortier and the co-creators of the HOMING PROJECT thank the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts, the MRC de D’Autray as well as all the co-creation and dissemination partners who make the HOMING PROJECT pollination activities possible.
The Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the MRC de D’Autray
Co-creation and diffusion partners
Les glaneuses, the Centre de femmes Avec des Elles, the Manawan Band Council, Blanko, the Chapelle des Cuthbert, the Corporation du patrimoine de Berthierville, the Espace Culturel Jean-Pierre Ferland, Culture et Patrimoine Saint-Norbert, the Municipality of Saint-Norbert, the Galerie YL-S, the Coop Bal Maski, the Maison et jardins Antoine-Lacombe, the Carrefour culturel de Notre-Dame-des-Prairies, the Bibliothèque de Saint-Damien, the Bibliothèque de Lavaltrie, the Musée d’art de Joliette and Photosynthèse
The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture and Concordia University
Image in the banner:
Views from the exhibition at the Musée d’art de Joliette, 2023. Photo: Ysabelle Latendresse