lundi 8 septembre 2014

Pixel Sunrise

Drawing of a bionic eye device after a 3D model found in google images
(c) Second Sight Medical Products

My project came out from a questionning about utopias of post-humanism. Investigating about technologies of retinal prothesis and their pionneer patients, I discovered a perception of a new kind as long as limitations in its expression. Limitation in the transcription of the visual perception itself (something that we all share) as well as limitation in the transmissions of elements leaking industrial secrets on the product. The line between the persons and the product becomes thin when post-human people are bound to the constructor of their implants, as part of the product experiment themselves. Their new glance is then subordinate to the imperatives of the industry. Out some months before the Google glasses what can those special smart glasses are made with the same goal to improve connection, orientation, surveillance and  efficiency of user in citylife. Though, unlike Google Glasses users, people equipped with Second Sight still have to hold on with patience in order to read the world through their new eyesight. As Stephen Hawking used to run on his legs, people getting the artificial retina lost their retinal cells step by step. Therefore they were operated with hope to reconnect to the world, to catch a lighthouse in the fog - finding back their eyes at night, in dreams of colorful memories. The happy few who handle the device are trying to relay on their capacity of projection and synesthesia in order to give a meaning to the light signal their brain receives. A perception which was described as a watercolor process ( cf Science et vie). 

Lightpainting with LED lamps.

The lost and found of visual perception raises the issue of our presence to the world,  to oneself but also loneliness and difficulty of connecting and transmitting perception. My original project for "Pixel Sunrise" was to establish a collaboration with a patient and a therapist around a transcription of the perception. The goal of this meeting would have been to confront the external objective scientific approach to the subjective interpretation of the patient. Blurring the lines, the piece would have transform biosignals into images. We would have confuse the inside and the outside, a lightened electrode with the moon.  A sunrise after sunset as the dream of a sunrise in the daytime. 



Those aesthetic researches were made in collaboration with Delphine Menoret (cinematographer) and Raphaël Thibault (colorist-former student at Le Fresnoy Studio National), who formerly worked on "A radiant Life". We put our interest in a meeting in between numeric and analogic compositing ; the connection between film 16mm and numeric. Unfortunatly, the contract Second Sight made me sign was both allowing me to meet patients and forbidding me then to communicate via an installation or a film what we would discover. 
I then took the decision to give up the collaboration and set up a new work which could quote them from afar : an interactive installation bringing up relationships in between screens and damaged retinas, loss of vision and numeric innovation. 

Pixel sunrise - installation  interactive 
Prog : Johan Lescure (c) Le Fresnoy Studio National
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To leave one’s shadow is to cease being in the world between the earth and sun, the electric light bulb and the wall. The empty cavities left by the bodies of the inhabitants of Pompeii and the shadows on the ground captured by the view camera in Hiroshima bear witness to our precariousness and to nature’s ability to fix our most everyday moments. In a digital tense flow, the installation refers to the early days of photography, blind gazes of subjects petrified in their patience, the wait to be immortalised. Death is above all an image that is lacking, the end of the tape or return to the start. Navigating between several dimensions, as if teleported, we often say, “I didn’t see the time go by.” 


My project came out from a questionning of post-shumanism, man-machine interaction, along which I got interest into biotechnologies of retinal implants. The installation enables a single visitor or group to experience a movement back and forth between the fixation and dissolution of their form. Each occurrence in the white cube is interconnected and the movement of one affect on the representation of the other on the screen. On a white background, white cube and white light, the installation questions the binary and essentialist revelation of the image.

The keystone of the installation is to be found in the dissociation of a screen and its polarising filter that has been removed, a distancing which reveals a LED screen as a monochrome of white light. A path leading to the delay of the image, subject to a gradual, fragile revelation, through a hung filter, as a square lense-prothesis.