Shelters for facts— Composite— Sniper Tv
Julien Maire (FR)
Shelters for facts— Composite— Sniper Tv

In 1977 the Eames studios produced a short film that has become famous, Power of Ten. This film explores the limits of the infinitely big and the infinitely small in an optical travelling shot-to-the-power-of-ten. We see a couple on the shore of Lake Michigan, and the camera gradually zooms out into the most distant galaxy and then back in dizzyingly into the molecular structure of the man’s hand. Well before satellite and microscope images became banal, this encyclopaedic film explored two of the schemes of human knowledge.

Freely inspired by this short film, Shelters for fact presents elements and figures printed by means of stereolithography which are placed directly on the image sensors of the cameras. By playing on the relations of scale and getting rid of effects of perspective, these micro-sculpture produce a rayogram effect. They are later video-projected within the exhibition space. The monochrome projection of Shelter for facts is deployed around elementary sets: the furniture, figure and buildings seem to exist in a latent way inside the video image. The installation reveals singular images that are at once frozen and set in motion by variations in the light around the sensors.

The installation Composite forms around the same protocol but develops a procedure that alters the surface of the image sensor even more. A micrometric engraver draws on the sensors. By making a definitive alteration to the sensitive surface of the sensor, the digital engraver introduces immobility and creates a tiny relief on the digital capture area. The engraver continues its work throughout the exhibition, consequently producing a considerable number of drawings. On the edge of the installation is a device comprising several screens set out in the manner of a private collector’s cabinet. Once they are reconstituted and connected, and although permanently altered by the process, these sensors become functioning cameras again. While displaying the spectral and immobile image of the previously engraved drawings, they also film the spectators. By injecting immobility into the sensor surface, the images thus obtained place the viewer, de facto, at the heart of the image.

The last part of this videographic research, Snipper tv, consists in an alteration that is intended to be radical and definitive. A hole made on either side of the sensor pulverises its core electronics. This takes the form of a black cross that the viewer instinctively likens to a sniper’s viewfinder. The camera thus altered captures a continuous and random flow of images of current evens. This incrustation mirrors the permanent and undifferentiated content of images subjected to an immanent violence.

Thanks to the teams and collaborators at Le Fresnoy, to Olivier Gain, Imal Brussels and to the Chantal Akerman year for their support.

Julien Maire
Julien Maire France

Since the mid-90s Julien Maire (born 1969) has been working at the intersection of several disciplines: performance, installation, media and cinema, producing live, hybrid works.
His works have been shown at Transmediale, Ars Electronica, Digital Art Festival, European Media Art Festival, Film Festival Rotterdam, Film Festival Oberhausen, Sonar, ZKM, ICC Tokyo, Empac, Powerstation Shanghai. Julien Maire won the Biennale Update_2 prize in 2008 and was nominated for the World Technology Award, New York in 2009. He has received three special mentions for the Ars Electronica Prize.

Crédit photos / Photo credit
Aurélie Brouet

Production : Le Fresnoy, Studio national des arts contemporains