This is an emotive portrayal of the great unwashed, the multitudes that form the very core of India and yet find mainstream representation only through their extremes. Their un-exotic everyday human banalities receive no attention and go unrecorded. Fabien’s preoccupation with them has led him to a wholly subjective mapping of their daily life. Renouncing all interaction with the real, he abandons himself to an imagined documentation of people who are an intimate part of his daily experience. To him, this study based on the realm of feelings comes closer to reality than any socio-economic or other such factual inquiry could. Not concerned by the negative overtones of the literary phrase, for him the great unwashed becomes a fitting description of the masses as he exalts in the humanity that makes them great.
The Great Unwashed
The first suite revels in the simple, shared beauty of the body of the Indian men. Here, the focus is on the ambiguous sensuality that derives from masses of men living together in a jumble of touch. Fabien sees them as one sinuous entity mirroring the human body; individual cells packed on to each other and sharing everything, be it sweat, sex, ideas or disease. Yet, to him, they remain strikingly individual.
In the second suite, we stumble upon dreams of the great unwashed. Fabien weaves a narration starting with sleepers and unfolding their dream that is in fact a projection of his own distorted visions. These stem from visual memories of India collected over the years, re-told, second-hand reminiscences that have left a deep imprint on him. Just like automatic writing, this is a sub-conscious narrative constructed from those memories.
What you have here is a simple interweaving of different projects such that there arises a dialogue, one that continues to engage Fabien.