Foreign Bodies - Corps Etranger

  • Charley, Jonathan (Academic)

Project: Research

Project Details


A Publicly funded travelling exhibition and book that looked at the comparative history of Glasgow and Marseille

Layman's description

‘Foreign Bodies’ was originally published in 2004 as an exhibition and limited edition colour picture book. Published in both languages, the French text was illustrated with photographs of Glasgow and the English text with images of Marseille. The narrative takes the form of an exchange of letters between two cities – Marseille and Glasgow. Like two old men reminiscing about the course their life has taken, they reflect on their mutual rise to a position of great wealth and splendour and their subsequent decline in old age. At first glance they would appear to have little in common. One is a Mediterranean city that is bathed in warm sun for most of the year and the other shivers in the far northwest. On closer inspection, however, there is much that they share. They both have a reputation for being political rebels, and are passionate about football and alcohol – one the home of pastis, the other of whisky. They are also obsessed by the weather. Marseille can be chilled by the mistral blowing in from the Massif Central and burnt by the North African sirocco. Meanwhile, Glasgow seems to alternate between dreek Atlantic squalls and blanket grey cloud. Both cities are also famous for verbal trickery, and enjoy trading on their stereotypes of notoriety, with Glasgow feared by London, and Marseille by Paris. Perhaps more importantly, they are connected historically by their roles as imperial and industrial cities that were pivotal in the development of capitalism in Britain and France; a history that has left an indelible stamp on the fabric and structure of both cities.
Effective start/end date20/04/0420/05/05


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