Drapés is a recent visual and sound installation. This project was supported by the Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Québec within the framework of a grant for research and creation. A part of the project was realized during a research and creation residency at Daïmon media art centre in Gatineau, Québec and presented at Centre d'exposition L'Imagier (also in Gatineau).
The starting point of the project was my recent work in digital prints, in painting, in performance and in sculpture, which are all inhabited by a specific element: the drape (le drapé).
The research and creation of images started in November 2010 during an artist residency at Centre Sagamie in Alma, Qc, specialized in large scale prints, with the financial support of Sherbrooke City.
The drape is charged with historic, mythological references, or religious likened as symbols, more or less consciously, by the popular culture. I wish to open reflections on the appearance, the distribution and the transformation of stereotypes through popular imaginary. From the Greek statue, which engraved in the stone the artillery of beauty standards at that time, passing by the uncountable representations of the Saint-Marie, to the popular representations of Death (the Grim Reaper or a corpse lying under a sheet), the drape - predecessor of the sewn and assembled garment - takes place and hides bodies to protect them, to dress them, to mask them, but always by creating a certain mystery, what maintains also, paradoxically, a fascination for the destitution of the hidden body.
For Drapés, the intention is to evoke and to question the solidity and the origin of the current Occidental stereotypes where the drape, alone or near bodies, is the central visual element. How are the current stereotypes still bearers of original symbols? How does information propagation mediatized in masses influence these same simplified symbols? What are the parallels? How, and in which manner, can we reference cohabitation in the context of installation and remind the viewer of the generic variety of senses of an object and so by-pass the fields of influence and the syncretism of the large-scale medias?
With this project I look at fragments of the Occidental history of the drape and its representation.
The guiding axis of this project was the creation of a new series of digital images printed on fabrics, and it, to transform these images into long curtains, into flags, into banners, into shrouds (linceuls), etc. The large-scale soft images are blown by the wind produced by industrial ventilators (fans). To revitalize the temporality of interactions between the movements of the air and the drapes, ventilators are connected to a system of control in real time which allows to engage or to interrupt some of the ventilators. Through this windy landscape one finds some emergency vehicle revolving lights. The later being, with the video, the only light source in the installation.
Sound was approached as follows: composition is one of silences, acoustic sounds and light sonifications of the electric devices present in the installation. We wished to leave a place with the acoustic sounds: beating and banging of fabric, curtains and flags. Then, we used electromagnetic sensors to make slightly audible the humming from the sources of movement of the soft images, added to an irregular electroacoustic crackling of the revolving lights.
Finally, a digital stop motion video was created during an artist residency at Daïmon media art centre to be projected inside the installation.
Drapés relies on finding a balance between the coexistence of different types of representation within a global perspective. The project wants, above all, to be considered as a new research in installation in which the main objective is to create a whole ensemble which appears as a rich and opened evocation of symbols, references and positioning.