Approaching fluidity as both a topic and a method
Rotta Fluida is a series of cinematographic works resulting from my artistic research on the notion fluidity. The films are each made of single 35mm animated image, shifting through time and space. Thought as a flow, this labile image aims to offer the spectator a singular rhythmic and temporal experience. Each image was constructed in a particular area of Rotterdam, materially and symbolically connected to the notion of fluidity. Among others, the series includes works on The Rotte River, The Industrial Port and Het Park.
The fluidity present in my work is not extracted from a world standing in reserve but rather manu-factured with the complicity of this world. In a way, shutter removal can restore muted light-flow regimes and reopen the imagistic system to new relations and participations.
Within my artistic practice I started to question dominant form of image production through a critic of the fragmentation logic present in certain photographic mechanisms. I wondered about the legitimacy and pertinence of that fragmentary logic to represent or express the fluid and continuous quality of phenomena. Assuming that instant photography has been historically established on a solid and discontinuous logic, the aim of the research is to examine the possible implementation of a logic based on fluidity and continuity. In a way, my work consist in approaching fluidity as both a topic and a method.
Could the fluidity expressed outside of photography’s fragmentation logic inform different ways of thinking and relating to the world ?
At the core of my practice is the drive to look for new type of relations in photography and cinema. I am particularly interested in the ways we construct our images and the relations between the modes of construction and the subjects they represent. Following the artist and philosopher Aïm Duëlle Lüski, I believe that if reality keeps changing, the tools that we use to grasp and connect with this real should be allowed to change. It is in that sense that I started questioning the hegemony of instant photography through the modification and construction of cameras.
I derive my technique from strip-photography, building upon its particular approach of time to bypass the mechanisms of fragmentation. I remove the shutter of the camera to expose the photosensitive film continuously by moving it in front of the aperture. The film is wound manually by a circular gesture operated with a rotating lever. The process ends when the film ends. What is represented is impacted by the movement of my body and my hand. Because the hand produces the film’s movement, the control of representation is transferred to the body.
By dismantling the shutter and the intermittent mechanism of the camera, I argue that it is possible to approach exposure as a continuous event rather than a discontinuous instant. Reconsidering exposure as fluid and dynamic allow for gestures and intentions to be imprinted over time which in turn yield new relations to representation and expression.
Through opening, exposure loses its attachment to truth and regain its potential to engage with vulnerability and change.
Furthermore, this technical transition increases both the performative engagement and the participative presence of the operator. By removing the shutter we remove the part that allow the program to function automatically. More precisely, we avoid the photographic process to operate without human mediation. When we manually move the film to perform the exposure, the conventions of representation have changed and the automaticity has been limited. The movement of the body and the circular gesture becomes new points of connection with the real. The gestural engagement increase the constructive aspect of the image.
This research leans on three interconnected axis: the technical, the gestural and the metaphorical. I assume these dimensions to be articulated through circularity, where each has the potential to generate the other. But this is still an open question:
how does the technical, the gestural and the metaphorical interact in the practices of art and cinema?