chant [dans les muscules du chant] (1) is a video composed primarily of film archives from the first half of the twentieth century. The product of careful and selective research literally enflamed by the conceptual motor “film flame”, these images, when I screened them, were experienced as a powerful fuel for the contemporary imagination.
Burning matter, here the archive summons up the past in the present, polarising memory and oblivion, the documented and the fantasized, the collective and the private. chant [dans les muscules du chant] is also an archival laboratory, which seeks to make us experience the full range of heterogeneous constellations of images (and sounds), “ to embrace figures unfamiliar to each other, to imagine crystallisations of analogies, even deficient ones” (2), run through with a strong desire for formal experiments and linguistic inventions capable of restoring meaning to the past and giving it back its dynamic memory.
This video, which will unfold in several sequences–echo chambers which are both autonomous and unfolding in a series of excerpts – echo chambers both autonomous and attractive–calls up the forgotten, the buried, the ruined, the similar in difference. Using a variety of techniques (cut-ups, superimposition, deconstruction, the association of images), I attempt to re-activate buried visibilities and transfers inducing upheavals, both spatio-temporal and aesthetic, which produce affect. Sudden appearances, luminous spectres, fortuitous and/or vanishing images: I call up the phantoms of history and choreograph thaumatropic dances.
I cast a proximate and (madly) loving gaze, sometimes grazing the threshold of the invisibility of the vanishing matter. The insistence of a gaze which brushes up against this nitrate black velvet, brings in its fall(s) the entire mythology of the image.
I light fires in which each image is in exile, each sequence a burning desire.
(1) Excerpt from a poem by Zéno Bianu, who used the word «muscules» in place of «muscles» for poetic reasons.
(2) Marc Mercier, Le Temps à l’œuvre (Marseille : Incidences, 2006)