F is for Foux Du Fafa

F is for Foux Du Fafa

Chapeau. Une Étude En Rouge. Joie. Luxe, Calme et Volupté. Les Ponts. Quelle Surprise. Zut alors. 

One aim of the exhibition is to inspire new insights for those who find the French language foreign and difficult. Therefore, I am mixing different languages, English, French, Spanish and Finnish on purpose in this blog and in the exhibition. The illustrations can raise interest in the culture and facilitate understanding.

According to the ears of a non French speaker, the tone of “The Language Of Love” is perceived as musical and harmonious. A lot of words are linked together by a liaison, bringing a certain softness to sentences’ rhythm. Maybe that is why the strongest cliché attached to the French language (and the City of Paris) is love. In spring 2019, I had some great conversations about French language with musician Aino Venna and among other things, she introduced me to this mumbo jambo video.


In the eighth episode of the HBO comedy series Flight of the Conchords (First aired in the United States in 2007),  one of the main characters, Jemaine has his eye on a woman that works at the bakery. While speaking to the woman, Jemaine tries speaking a bit of French and they launch into a 1960s French style music video singing “Foux Du Fafa”. The song sung in French consists almost entirely of beginner French phrases such as “Où est la piscine?” (Where is the swimming pool?), many of which contain grammatical errors. Flight of the Conchords’ “Foux du Fafa” is lots of fun as a parody of what happens if you don’t know French grammar and just memorize phrases. Great as a discussion starter of stereotypes. The title itself, “Foux Du Fafa”, is just a nonsense phrase and has no meaning in French. It’s here because humor might be one of the underutilized resources we really need, at work and in art.


Cover Illustration: Maria Herreros: Metropolitain, 2018