La Force de l'Art

La Force de l'Art

In 2009 I attended  La Force de l'Art 02 at the Grand Palais in Paris. One particular showing by Véronique Aubouy utterly captivated me. It was her project Proust lu: to film Proust's, A la Recherche du Temps perdu, or more particularly, to have two pages of text read by a single volunteer in a setting of their choice. "The one I film lends their face and voice to the narrator who does not." She had commenced the project in 1993 and by 2009 had eighty hours screening continuously in a small, purpose built cinema. One reader sat on her bed in a soft, light drenched apartment, a cat stretching and climbing up her back, patiently absorbed in quiet reverie. There is a timeless, translucent quality to the work. As if each reader is both present in their environment while simultaneously, intimately, giving themselves to us. Véronique estimates she will have completed her wondrous undertaking in another twenty two years.

Two startling revelations presented themselves to me. The rendering of three temporal positions in union: the reader, text and viewer, and the opportunity for a viewer to enter the work at multiple points and encounter an entirely different reader and setting. The sheer scale gave an almost self generative quality to the experience. It is a persistent and available world.

That same year I began a series of experiments placing an unattended camera at a cafe table. The context provided by the cafe scene in Louis Malle's, Le feu follet. My interest was in what surrounded the narrative. The unforced, unpremeditated and unscripted life. Between 2009 and 2013 I shot at a number of different locations around Paris, always retaining the original principle of frame as borderless space.

In 2014 I was working on a film clip for the Jean Seberg Film Festival in Marshalltown, Iowa. There were many archival stills of Jean, some donated by her family, that were used to complete the work. About half way through the edit we experimented with a glacially slow pan. It completely transformed the relationship between image and viewer, imparting a deep intimacy and unlocking a mysterious, luminous presence.

The temporal equivalent in Le Pick Clops is the slowing of the frame rate that transforms the original sixteen minutes of footage into sixty three minutes. Suddenly a gesture becomes divinatory, a glance intimate, a movement -or stillness- filled with meaning. Conventional narrative is replaced by generative narrative. A thousand flowers bloom, each holding promise and secrets.