SOME/IMAGE : THE DYNAMICS OF DUST BY PHILIPPE DUDOUIT
THE DYNAMICS OF DUST
Philippe Dudouit became interested in the Sahel region in 2008 through his previous long-term visual studies, which started out in 2001, focussing on the social structures of rebel movements worldwide.
Historically the autochthonous Saharan inhabitants, i.e. peoples like the Tuareg, Peuls, Songhaï and Maures always passed freely through the Sahara. Over the past decadesthey, as the perceived archaic and exotic guides, would lead thousands upon thousands of Western tourists into these archetypical and idealized desert landscapes of Western romantic longing. The same areas that were, until 2007, also part of the Dakar Rally route. But with a newly installed abduction industry, the game has changed and this former dream destination has turned into an often deadly nightmare for Westerners.
At first glance, the rise of Islamic terrorism in this area is to blame. It is said to have transformed the balance of the Sahara, but a closer look reveals a reality that is much more complex. The area now faces dealing with a dangerous cocktail of underdevelopment, poverty and state failure. In this new constellation, the local population is confronted with armed Jihadist and Salafist groups, human traffickers, drugs and weapons smugglers, topped off by international interests jockeying to win oil prospecting and uranium mining rights. Today, almost all of Mali, Niger, Mauritania, southern Algeria and Libya has become a new Red Zone.