Video, 12'30'', 2004
This video is part of the collections of Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Frac Champagne-Ardenne
Bonneville is the name of my hometown. It is a small town located in the French Alps. I lived there during my childhood. Then I moved when I was a teenager and never came back. Thinking about Bonneville several years after I left it, I realized the uncanniness of Time and Memory. I never really liked this city, yet it was my only reality for many years. I had no other horizon during my childhood; the mountains that surrounded it seemed to be the borders of my own existence. And then, as time went by, the reality of the streets, of the buildings, of the near forest, slowly faded away and, for me, Bonneville became no more than a vague and intangible memory.When thinking about it, that's the image of a ruined city that come into my mind. Just like the foundations are often the only remains of an antic city, my memory retains a group of mental imprints that once were linked to some concrete and vivid referents but that dried out over the years until it became no more than empty shells. The video Bonneville can be seen as an attempt to restore a physical dimension to this disembodied memory. I was also interested in the idea of literally projecting on screen something as subjective and intimate as memory and thus to transform it into an experience that can be shared with other people. Indeed, this visualization of my inner landscapes as been seen by a lot of people in France, in Switzerland, in Spain, in Italy, in Germany, in the United Kingdom, in Romania, in Russia, in Brazil, in Japan, in China and even somewhere across the air on-board of the new Airbus A380. But to transform a mental view into a cinematographic experience is different than to make it a show. I wanted the experience of the video to be as close as possible to a mental, if not spiritual, journey. That's why I opted for slowness and silence. To realize this video, I made a sort of visual inventory of the various objects I remembered. I drew around a thousand elements: buildings, trees, roads... The style was extremely simple because I drew very quickly with a thick black marker. The idea was to "write" more than to draw. When I then used a computer to create the animation, I tried not to make the 3D structure visible so as to keep the original aspect of these clumsy drawings. The video consists in a slow and silent walk inside my memory, amongst the black ideograms of this new kind of script that tries to prevent an inner landscape from sinking into oblivion.
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