Cartes postales du bagne

Delicate ruins

5 July 2018
The Vestiges at Port Boisé

Having been disappointed several times in our search for ruins over the past week or so, we didn’t expect to find anything beyond a trail. As it turned out there are also vestiges from one of the camps annexed to Prony. The ruins are well signposted from the road and also have their own Itinéraire Bagne panel. There are three main buildings still intact on the primary site which also includes parts of the perimeter wall.Slightly north of the main site of the vestiges, there seems to be a family living in a building that was once perhaps the Maison du chef. The ruins have been cleared and made as safe as possible but in a way that gives the appearance of casual abandonment.

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The main vegetation in two of the buildings consists of smaller weeds including tiny delicate pink and purple flowers (am yet to identify) something also present at Ile des Pins but here it is clear that larger more structurally damaging plants and trees have been discouraged. This creates a different and perhaps calmer sense of nature reclaiming the site than more dramatic examples found on Ile Saint Joseph, Prony village and Ile des Pins. Of course both are cultivated and carefully maintained.

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In a number of places, structures have been ‘casually’ propped up

What comes into focus as a result are the large window and door frames further enlarged by the erosion of the brick work around them. They are reminiscent of the frames found especially in Rodolphe Hammadi’s photos of the vestiges of the bagne in French Guiana but there is something less sinister, less disturbing about the structures and their ruination. There is a gentle breeze and birds are singing. In the distance a small child is whining at his parents.

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Erosion revealing building processes

I’ve tried to think about why this. Perhaps it is the climate. Perhaps the more visible signs of maintenance and clearance of vegetation. The buildings in their arrested decay seem to exhibit a care for the past. The erosion doesn’t so much imply disrepair but allows you to see how the buildings were constructed. The foundations are also visible giving a more complete sense of the building process. The buildings have been carefully presented here in order to demonstrate pride in the convict labour that built them rather than shame in the system that demanded convicts to build their own accommodation along with the administrative buildings that would serve in the management and determination of their longterm fates.

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Extension to the ‘vestige’ complete with door number

Attached to one of the former buildings is a small more recently built extension. This also makes me think of the Chamoiseau-Hammadi project. Chamoiseau dismisses the squat that was still there when he visited or had recently been evicted to make way for restorations and preservation. His preference seems to have been for a presentation of the bagne as an abandoned site bearing near imperceptible traces of the lives that once inhabited and encountered it. Here at Port Boisé it is clear someone was living or working there quite recently. The door has a number as if mail was delivered there. Perhaps it was a squat or a caretaker’s accommodation. It is odd to see it continue to exist after the conservation initiatives have been put in place rather than erased and forgotten. SF

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In search of the Chemin des Bagnards

5 July 2018

On our first day in New Caledonia we went on a tour of Prony village with a local guide. Prony was one of the forest camps belonging to the penal colony.

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On the final day of our trip we retraced some of the route, negotiating somewhat more carefully the tiny bridges and oversized potholes in our little hire car than our guide had in his 4×4. However, rather than take the turn off to Prony we continued on the CR9 towards Port Boisé located at the South of the mainland. This is key nickel mining territory and the soil is a deep red. We passed a processing plant which temporarily interrupted the wilderness of the area, a wilderness that is really on perceived since the landscape is scarred by the roads and mines cut into the hills, before arriving at a vista with views out onto the coast. We then began our descent down towards the ocean.

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Before getting to the coast we spotted a brown heritage sign indicating ‘Vestiges du Bagne’. See part 2 ‘Delicate Ruins’ on this.

The Chemin des Bagnards is a nice trail which takes about 90 minutes depending on how much you stop. It starts at the Kanua Tera Ecolodge where you can also park and ends up at the mouth of the river at a point known as ‘Trou bleu’. You can continue across the river via stepping stones and assume a second trail which takes you all the way the the campsite. The trail is the route that was used by the bagnards as part of their work in and around Port Boisé, an annex camp to Prony. Forestry was developed within the penal colony in order to remove the need for imports of wood from Australia and New Zealand. Although the vestiges that can be seen on the trail are limited, ruins of a low wall, remains of a bridge, for example, these lay emphasis to the infrastructure that supported the bagne’s operation which was at the same time created and maintained by convict labour.

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Walking the trail which runs along the coast does little to evoke the trials of convict labour or the quotidian physical labour involved in logging. It is hard to imagine the alienation of being exiled here or the suffering introduced by forced labour. But instead one thing we might glean from this is the mobility of the bagne. Although the penal colony is often conceived as a network of sites and operations, the sites in themselves often seem disconnected or self-contained especially in their posthumous representation. Even where there are multiple buildings and vestiges to visit within a space such as on Île Nou these are encountered collectively as a ‘historic site’. The trail offers a greater sense of the movement and displacement of bagnards within the penal colony and beyond their initial journey from France and other colonies. SF

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Bad maps. An inaccurate guide to tracing one’s steps

Île des Pins
23-24 July 2018

Île des Pins is an island located to the South of the mainland and is part of the South Province. It is about a 20-minute flight from Magenta Airport in Nouméa. The island was the site where political deportees were sent both from France but also the Kabyle rebels. As the commune located the furthest away from Paris, the exile of the communards to Ile des Pins after 1871 bears enormous symbolic as well as geographical weight. Rélégués (recidivists sent to the penal colony) were subsequently sent to the island between 1887 and 1910. The island became an indigenous reserve once more in 1913.

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Today there are a number of vestiges associated with the bagne. We were grateful for the blog Un jour en Calédonie which provided a fair amount of useful information on where to find various ruins on the island. Most notably there are those found in Ouro, the restored doctor’s house and gendarmerie on the Baie de Kuto and also the neat and carefully maintained Cimetière des Déportés near Ouro. Some of the ruins at Ouro are located on private land and you have to ask permission from the épicerie built within the old walls of the ruins.

During our visit we focused our attention on the ruins across the road from the épicerie and in particular on those contained by a large perimeter wall. This was partly due to the odd opening hours of the épicerie and partly due to intermittent rain. Although there is a brown heritage sign indicating the vestiges, there are no panels here (details about the sites were found at the Itinéraire Bagne panel located at the Baie de Kuto). This means there is a certain amount of guesswork as to the original function of the buildings. On entering the interior of the walled space, we found 4 brick buildings. Two seemed to have held dormitories and it was still possible to see hooks for hammocks on the walls. Two were slightly smaller buildings containing 10 individual cells. This suggests (prior to checking on any plans) that the site was a quartier de réclusion as the cell system was only really used in the bagne as a form of punishment. In a recent guide, it suggests that this was the ‘prison’ for rélégués at Ouro, a closed space distinct to other sites such as the ateliers and hospital.

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A grumpy bull provided a useful reference point.

Exploring the site, the vegetation made it easy to become disorientated. We both decided it might be easier to get a clearer understanding of the space by creating mini maps or plans of the layout. There is something exciting about how ruins allow one to get lost and disorientated whilst speculating on the stories of the space. There is a greater sense of freedom perhaps than at a site which has been carefully restored and heavily signposted. Ruins offer the possibility of exploration even if what we discover is limited to a very personal engagement with a space. It is an engagement that relies heavily on the tactile, touching walls, negotiating brambles and nettles.

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Different pathways amongst the vegetation leading to the different buildings

The attempt to come up with a map of the space was an attempt to move beyond this tactile experience and to produce an understanding of the layout that wouldn’t easily be transmitted by a series of photos. I also wanted to experiment with diy methods of getting the scale right.

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A first attempt at a plan of the ‘vestiges’

My first attempt freestyle had to be scribbled over and redrawn, showing the inadequacies of my ability to think spatially. So I decided to note down the distances between key points as well as the dimensions of each building using my stride as a measure. The next day I redrew the map using the strides as a very rough guide. The result is neater but I feel more attached to the original draft sketch with all its scribbles. Still as I was to find out…I was still way out.

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Second attempt. Still wrong.

Claire’s map, as will become apparent, is more accurate. The reference to ‘shit building’ is because she stumbled (almost) across some human excrement in one of the cells there. She has opted to denote the bull as a vortex.

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CR’s map

After drawing our own plans, we came across a bird’s eye view photo of the site taken from one of the nearby hills. It is clear the original or earlier organisation of the buildings and walls was different and had undergone some significant developments to constitute the layout we encountered. For example, in one photo I’ve seen there was a small hut or ‘kiosk’ located in the centre of the space which has now completely disappeared. Today I came across an aerial view from 2000 featured in a short guide produced in 2014. The vegetation at that point has been completely cleared from around the buildings although they all seem to have trees growing inside. This is the reverse to the current state of the ruins which also suggests that the roofs have been replaced on all except one building in the inner compound. The photo makes the symmetry of the buildings much clearer. The positioning of the two cell buildings at diagonals is something that was obscured by the vegetation and the wiggly paths leading to each building. SF (& CR)

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Detail from aerial view taken in 2000. From Angleviel (2014)

 

References

‘Les Vestiges du bagne de l’Ile des Pins’. Un Jour en Calédonie. Blog. 7 February 2016. Available: https://www.unjourencaledonie.com/vestiges-bagne-ile-des-pins/. Last Accessed 3 August 2018.

Frédéric Angleviel, Le pays Kunié: Déportation, Bagne et Patrimoine Pénitentiaire (Marie des Ile des Pins & Éditions du GRHOC, 2014).

Sketch #4. Ile des Pins

23 July 2018

A few raggedy sketches of buildings I did as an aide memoire. These relate to the four buildings enclosed by a surrounding wall at Ouro on Ile des Pins. Building five is outside the interior wall and was most likely for guards. Buildings 1-4 seem to be sleeping quarters with two buildings composed of individual cells. Due to all the vegetation at the site, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to distinguish different structures retrospectively especially after a certain amount of time had passed. Taking some to do these also made me think more about the architecture as well as the different points at which the lines and frames of the buildings had been disrupted or eroded.

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Le patrimoine ‘gris’

Notes towards a definition of (French) penal heritage
July 2018

Earlier this year, Monumental: Revue Scientifique et technique des monuments historique, dedicated an issue to ‘le patrimoine de l’enfermement’. This is significant as there has until very recently been a reluctance in France to commemorate sites of incarceration and, more notably, of detention and internment that has lagged behind other European initiatives to acknowledge these sites and the role they have played in different histories. The review is an excellent resource and includes a plethora of short articles by experts on the state of play at various sites in both mainland France and its overseas departments. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the extensive work that has been done and is ongoing in both French Guiana and New Caledonia together with the frustrations experienced by those committed to the memoire du bagne is well-documented within the publication.

While I was, of course, interested to see how the patrimoine du bagne was presented within the ideological framework of the issue published by the Centre National des Monuments, my attention was equally drawn to an introductory interview with radical prison historian, Philippe Artières, who has done some excellent work in presenting histories of incarceration that contest existing representations. Notable here is his edited collection of images and documents from the Nancy prison riots of 1972.

In the interview given for the issue of Monumental, Artières makes some important statements around the importance and relevance of prison heritage. One of the things he suggests is that:

‘Entre le patrimoine doré et le patrimoine industriel, il y a un patrimoine gris qui doit faire l’objet d’une attention et d’un questionnement.’

This suggestion resonates with the recent work by others, such as Charles Forsdick (2018), in identifying the absence of sites of incarceration from Pierre Nora’s epic Lieux de mémoire project. At the same time, the idea of penal heritage as constituting ‘un patrimoine gris’ is also worth some closer attention.

Taken in its material sense, ‘gris’ makes direct reference to the grey stone and later concrete structures that define most prison architecture. It also evokes a form of architecture that inhabits a grey zone since it suggests both the quotidian banality of the prison experience for many as well as the moral paradoxes of a form of punishment that is often seen as being all at once too cruel, too gentle, too generalized, too expensive and too ineffectual. Former sites of incarceration and internment can be presented in terms of a rupture with the past – examples of processes of decareration or former political regimes that have since been dismantled. But they also invite us to make connections with present systems and their continued use of practices such as solitary confinement and physical restraint. Indeed, Artières goes on to argue that the value of prison heritage lies as much in the role of the sites as producing knowledge [savoir] about those being held as it does in presenting us with a history of bodily constraint. This is of course a direct reference to the stakes of Michel Foucault’s Surveiller et punir but which goes unacknowledged. Interestingly, however, it perhaps does more to make a case for a return to Foucault’s work on institutional power than much recent scholarship on prison tourism and heritage which offers a lacklustre, uncritical reading of Foucault which does little to advance his scholarship or develop an adequate conceptual framework for thinking about the role of the prison museum in contemporary society.

Artière’s concludes his interview by insisting that the prison must be considered as part of France’s (but, I imagine, this also applies globally) “Grande Histoire” rather than being considered as an exceptional, marginal history. In the context of his earlier comments this is significant because it implies he considers penal heritage as having the potential to engage visitors in more general debates around the persistence and future of prison as a response to illegal activity. The idea that incarceration cannot be seen as separate to the wider socioeconomic structures defining the history of capitalism and colonialism seems incredibly important and urgent. At the same time, I cannot help but notice how this idea of “Grande Histoire” seems at odds with other attempts to explore the impact of incarceration outside of the grand narratives of its inception and even the stories of criminal geniuses, political heroes and falsely accused yet resourceful escapees that frame most historic sites of incarceration. It is this framing that Chamoiseau contests in his evocation of the traces-mémoires in relation to the ruins of the bagne on the Îles du Salut and the Camp de la Transportation at Saint Laurent du Maroni. More and ongoing work is needed, perhaps, to bring these positions, that of Artières and of Chamoiseau, together in such a way that not only provides a richer retelling of the history of prison and penal colonies but a retelling that is predicated on a future which ceases to take imprisonment as a given.

Beyond ‘grey’
Pursuing the notion of ‘patrimoine gris’, I decided to find out if the term had any purchase beyond Artières’ use of the expression. Some cursory googling suggested that it is not an established term but I did find a reference to ‘tourisme gris’ in a 2011 article “Le patrimoine, c’est un truc pour les vieux…” by André Suchet et Michel Raspaud. Suchet and Raspaud translate ‘tourism gris’ directly from the English ‘grey tourism’ referring to the growing senior citizen market for tourism organised around museums and heritage sites over above beach and adventure tourism.

The article focused on the case of the Vallée d’Abondance in the Northern Alps where poor ski seasons led to a shift in focus towards cultural heritage. The article concludes that this strategy is risky since the economic benefits are highly limited and the cultural heritage is not necessarily valued by the local population themselves. Their main point of reference for the term ‘grey tourism’ is the work of Ashworth and Tunbridge (2005) who use the term in relation to a shifting agenda in Malta during the 2000s.

Artières’ use of the term ‘gris’ is both situated within an understanding of heritage or ‘patrimoine’ as a form of ‘grey tourism’ but also implies a different almost oppositional and certainly more specific use. It also might be argued that prison tourism is a key form of cultural heritage that appeals to a wider age demographic due to being a form of ‘dark tourism’. Dark tourism does not translate well into French but taken in this sense, we might also read ‘gris’ as suggesting a shadowy history yet one that is lighter (indeed prison museums often engage in a humour not found in museums associated with genocide or atrocity) than is found or represented at other sites of suffering.

But what if we take this notion of ‘grey’ heritage less as a metonym for grey-haired baby boomers enjoying their retirement amongst the ruins of civilization or even as a philosophical (and frequently moralizing) concept which positions it on an imagined spectrum of darkness and instead think more about the prison as a form of ‘grey’ architecture? To reduce penal heritage to the greyness of the crumbling architectural structures of former prisons, cells and dungeons is to reduce prison to a lack of colour, to play into an aesthetic which is all too familiar but which allows us to remain all too distant. It is to encourage a lack of imagination similar to the one which edits out the sounds and smells of prison life. Yet even when the stripy uniforms and coloured bedsheets have been cleared away and the cheap municipal paint job peeled and faded, the prison is still a site of enormous colour.

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The yellow sandstone on Cockatoo Island

At Saint Laurent du Maroni, the Camp de la Transportation was painted once every four years frequently in a bright shade of pink. Today there is a strip on display which shows as many layers as could be successfully excavated. 12 out of a possible 24 or 25.

It is the red bricks and not the grey cell walls (although these exist too) that have become metonym for the bagne in Saint Laurent. Their presence in front of other buildings throughout the town marks the continuity between the quartier pénitentiaire and the quartier administratif. Elsewhere such as Cockatoo Island in Sydney, the prison cells are defined not by a ‘greyness’ but the light yellow of the sandstone that was mined on site.

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Camp de la Transportation. Saint Laurent du Maroni. The pink plaster was redone for the film L’Affaire Seznec

This is not to romanticize the presence of colour. There is no doubt that the regular sight of pink plaster at Saint Laurent was as depressing as that of grey concrete. This coupled with the implacable greenness of the forest and the brutal cruelty of the blue sky above. The synthesis of natural and built environment which plays out so visibly in the ruins at sites like Ile Saint Joseph in French Guiana and Prony Village in New Caledonia was just as much an integral part of the penal colony during its operation.

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Prony Village

The biggest irony of all in defining penal heritage as ‘gris’ perhaps comes with the repatriation of the last batches of bagnards in 1952 and 1953. While there was little reason to stay in Saint Laurent, many found the grey, cold skies and buildings of France difficult to adjust too. As Danielle Donet-Vincent writes in La fin du bagne citing an account from M. Durand of the Armée du Salut:

‘[L]es libérés arrivaient le plus souvent avec leur chapeau de paille, une chemise ou une maigre veste. Tous avaient froid. Beaucoup de ceux qui débarquaient en hiver regardaient le paysage, consternés: “Mais qu’est-ce qu’il s’est passé ici?…tout est noir… il n’y a plus de feuilles aux arbres… Il n’y a eu le feu partout?… Ces homes qui sortaient de la moiteur équatoriale, de la luxuriance des forets qui conjugaient tous les tons de vert, du soleil qui faisait chanter chaque écaille des ailes des “morphos”, chaque battement d’aile des oiseaux-mouches, ne se souvenaient plus des hivers dénudant les arbres, du ciel bas et du froid.’

References

Artières, Philippe (ed.), La Révolte de la prison de Nancy. 15 janvier 1972 (Paris: Le Point du Jour, 2013).

Artières, Philippe, ‘Entretien avec Philippe Artières’ in ‘Le Patrimoine de l’enfermement’, Monumental: Revue scientifique et technique des monuments historiques, Semestriel 1 (2018).

Ashworth, Gregory J. and John E. Tunbridge, ‘Moving from blue to grey tourism: reinventing Malta’, Tourism Recreation Research 30,:1 (2005) pp. 45-54.

Chamoiseau, Patrick and Rodolphe Hammadi, Guyane: Traces Mémoires du Bagne (Paris: Editions du Patrimoine Centre des monuments nationaux, 1994).

Donet-Vincent, Danielle, La Fin du Bagne: 1923-1953 (Éditions Ouest-France, 1992).

Forsdick, Charles, ‘Postcolonialising the Bagne’, French Studies 72:2 (2018), 237-255.

Foucault, Michel, Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison (Paris: Gallimard, 1975).

Suchet, André and Michel Raspaud, ‘“Le patrimoine, c’est un truc pour les vieux…”’, Mondes du Tourisme [En ligne], 4 | 2011, mis en ligne le 30 septembre 2015, consulté le 30 septembre 2016. URL : http://tourisme.revues.org/456.

The Itinéraire Bagne

July 2018

One of the major initiatives that inspired the project’s focus around the potential for multisite penal heritage is the ‘Itinéraire Bagne’ in the South Province of New Caledonia. The itineraire was inaugurated in 2013 and consists of a series of panels found through Nouville [Île Nou], Nouméa, Île des Pins, Bourail and Fort Teremba. The first panel was inaugurated during the Nuit des Musées at the former Boulangerie [bakery] on Île Nou on 24 May 2013. According to local news source, Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes, the inauguration attracted over 500 visitors to the site, a number previously unheard of and demonstrative of an emerging interest in a past that was once heavily obscured. The ‘Itinéraire’ was put together by the Association Témoignage d’un Passé and was supported by the Province Sud and the Inspecteur général des musées de France.

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The former boulangerie and proposed site for the Musée du Bagne. Photograph by Claire Reddleman

Unfortunately, now 2018, the museum at the boulangerie is yet to open to due ongoing problems with financing. The main issue is the need to create a visitor’s centre separate from the historic building which can accommodate the various needs of visitors. However, this doesn’t mean that visits to the site have been prevented but take the form of fortnightly guided walking tours around the area which finish up in the boulangerie.

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Panels include a colour-coded list of all sites around the South Province. Photograph by Claire Reddleman

The panels themselves are easy to spot and each one has been painstakingly put together, compiling historic images and maps with detailed texts which are also usually translated into English. As we have been taking a keen interest in the shifting infrastructure of the sites over the entire period of their operation, the photos and maps were of great interest and also helped us orient ourselves especially on Île des Pins.

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Kuto Bay, Ile des Pins. Photograph by Claire Reddleman

There was clearly also an earlier plan for audioguides which would work by calling a telephone number. Due to no cell phone coverage during our stay, we didn’t have the chance to test these for ourselves but were told these were no longer in operation. There are no doubt future opportunities to develop smart phone apps which could offer further information. This may be less effective somewhere with very limited 3G coverage such as Île des Pins.

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Panel indicating the ‘Site historique de l’Ile Nou’ next to the Université de Nouvelle Calédonie. Photograph by Claire Reddleman

The panels are just a snapshot of life during the operation of the bagne and there are numerous sites across the South Province that aren’t included or which due to the temporary nature of camps and buildings as well as redevelopments have left few traces to discover. Nevertheless, they provide a starting point for appreciating how embedded the history of the bagne is in the wider infrastructure and architecture of New Caledonia. Despite being collectively named the ‘Itinéraire Bagne’, there is no set path or itinerary proposed or prescribed – this seems more in keeping with Patrick Chamoiseau’s account of the traces-mémoires du bagne in French Guiana. The traces are everywhere and we stumble across them often by chance, often missing them when we are looking purposively. We cannot hope to fully grasp the space or the lives as they were. To write and to follow an ‘itinéraire du bagne’ could thus be read as an utopian, failed or impossible project but one that people in recent years have been committed to trying out. SF

Further resources

You can visit the Association Témoignage d’un Passé’s website here:
https://atupnc.blogspot.com/p/musee-du-bagne.html
They organise regular guided tours and other events which are usually posted on their site as well as on their facebook page.

A recent article entitled on the multiple sites associated with the bagne in New Caledonia entitled ‘Transportation et déportation en Nouvelle-Calédonie’ and written by François Goven, Louis-José Barbançon and Louis Lagarge was published this year in Monumental: Revue scientifique et technique des monuments historiques as part of their issue on ‘Le Patrimoine de l’enfermement’. More information on the issue can be obtained here.

site visit #14. musée de Nouvelle Calédonie

Musée de Nouvelle Calédonie, Nouméa
19 July 2018

There are a number of museums located in Nouméa which provide a wider history of the territory. We decided to start with the Musée de Nouvelle Calédonie as it provides a wider perspective on the history and geography of the territory as well as the surrounding Pacific regions. The ground floor is dedicated to Kanak objects and their more recent representation by local artists. These representations are defined in terms of a ‘parcours iconographique’ or ‘picture path’.

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The museum claims to have the second largest collection of Kanak objects after the Musée Quai Branly in Paris. This seems at once wrong but also perhaps inevitable. It also raises the question of who and what a museum is for and what different groups of visitors can learn and appreciate from seeing objects in glass cases. One of the main criticisms toward the Musée Quai Branly is its often apparently thoughtless juxtaposition of objects from different periods and regions with different uses or symbolism based on the similarity of their shapes or aesthetic. (See, for example, Edward Rothstein’s critique in The New York Times)

The space in the Musée de Nouvelle Calédonie avoids this perhaps carnivalesque approach and time is taken to carefully explain different objects and their function. Upstairs the space is given over to objects from nearby regions including Australia, Melanesia, Polynesia, Micronesia, allowing for some comparison but without reducing this to cacophony.

There are a few references to the bagne made in the museum and these within the context of a small corner displaying interactions of the Kanak population with the colonial administration including most notably the Kanak revolt of 1878. A commemorative cane which was given to Edmond Hayes, Director of the Pénitencier Agricole.

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Perhaps the most important item related to the bagne is a statue of a Kanak man carved by a bagnard on Île des Pins. The label reads:

‘La sculpture dite «en mie de pain » présentée ici comporte l’inscription «fait au pénitencier de l’Ile des Pins en 1898».
Le nom de l’homme qui l’a créée, en 1898, reste inconnu mais l’on sait qu’il avait fabriqué deux figures similaires, l’une d’un homme, l’autre d’une femme. Leur propriétaire, un surveillant militaire de l’administration pénitencière à qui ces statuettes ont été données, a tenu à les transmettre à chacune de ses deux filles. Cette statuette a été achetée en 2008 à l’un des arrières petit fils de cet homme.’

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Another item I came across was a painting of a bagnard signed J. Peres. The signage laments that the artwork which was donated sometime in the 1970s or 1980s was not adequately catalogued. It also suggests the bagnard is a forçat rather than a political deportee because he is clean shaven. SF

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