To close your eyes is to see yet again
By way of focus
"The darkest place is beneath the lamp."
The people who work with me are fully aware of what I try to achieve with their help: I always explain the nature of my devices, their exploratory potential, without presupposing a limit as to how far the people involved in these undertaking will be able to take them. Darkness and Light. Appearance and disappearance of images that stem from both the real and the imaginary. Produced by subjects who are also protagonists of these images.
Setting up a photography project with a group of visually impaired people.
In the context of a residency alongside the Groupe de Recherche et d'Animation Photographique-Centre Méditerranéen de l'image, GRAPh-CMi
, I was acquainted with visually impaired people, who had, for the last four years, been taking part in photography workshops designed and supervised by the photographer Karine Bossavy.
During an improvised workshop, once it was acknowledged that these people were rather accustomed to shooting in natural light, I ask eight of them – aged between 40 and 80 years old – whose involvement in the workshop begged sensitive questions on visual perception: "Would you be interested in the experience of working in the dark? »
A perimeter of tactile perception is delimited with the help of adaptable panels. In this way, these participants - none of whom are visually impaired from birth - can intuit the configuration of the space around them, recreate it mentally and “end up seeing", to quote them directly.
To this perimeter designed to frame the space of artistic action, I add a single bare light bulb. Hanging on a wire. At head height. Mobile. Following the impulses given, heat and varying light intensity make this light source perceptible and almost visible to any visually impaired person.
The camera, on the other hand, remains fixed. No operator is appointed. I point out that the rather long exposure times - this is the pace at which I work most often - will allow us to imprint both the potential oscillations of the bulb and the movements that we might be tempted to explore by ourselves. In this pendular motion, light attracts faces and bodies alike. It illuminates whilst leaving a mark. A visual code seems to emerge. Programming the automatic triggering of the shot liberates from the concern of capture.
The formal rigour of this device aims to frame, without restraining it, the spontaneity of improvised gestures. Such a system is also conducive to chance effects or happenings, whether given or provoked, without preventing the participant from expressing varied forms of intentionality.
As a general rule, I did my best to interfere as little as possible to allow creativity to flow freely. In the pleasure of seeking and building together, a feeling of freedom arose, to which a certain number of social conventions ended up surrendering, such that the yearning to change skin became a desire to bare skin.
I observe then that being deprived of sight can awaken new images.
I am never certain of what comes out.
Therein precisely lies my interest.