Postcards from the Desert Island
Postcards from the Desert Island is a remake of a 50s educational film Holiday from the rules in which four children interact with an omniscient narrator who teleports them to a tropical island where there are no rules. As in Lord of the Flies, the little children’s anarchistic society quickly breaks down. Finally, when the narrator asks the children if they want to leave the island they answer unhesitatingly: “instead of making up a lot of rules, why don’t we go home where we already have them?”.
Adelita Husni-Bey’s film shows her collaboration with a self-run public primary school based in Paris, founded in 1962 by the French educator Robert Gloton, a militant of the experimental pedagogical movement Éducation Nouvelle. During a 3three-week workshop, the artist invited the children to turn their school hall into a desert island. The film documents how the group of youngsters embraces a social life in a no-man’s land, showing how they relate to some of the key principles and unresolved problems of self-governance, such as imagining a life without institutions;, questioning of punishment and the struggle for power, wondering how to deal with immigration and civil disobedience, and where to draw the line between public and private realms.