• Nicolas Carrier And The Roving Eye

    Date posted: April 23, 2012 Author: jolanta

    The work of Nicolas Carrier is mainly composed of videos. His videos are of two types: some are “written” films with a synopsis and a direction, others reuse found footage. In both cases, the question is to attain the borders of the narration and to see how, by referencing cinema, to get out of the constraints of traditional models. In the junction of documentary, fiction, and the abstract, Carrier takes a voluntarily unstable position, offering suspension as a main line in his work.

    Theodora Domenech: For a few years, you have developed several research fields. We can distinguish three major ones: filmed videos, found footage videos, and installation art.

    “I began to completely transform the images I reused by playing on the frame, the definition, the pacing…”


    Nicolas Carrier, Grand Tour, 2011.  Video 3G and DivX, 7:35 min.

     

     

    Nicolas Carrier And The Roving Eye
    By Theodora Domenech

    The work of Nicolas Carrier is mainly composed of videos. His videos are of two types: some are “written” films with a synopsis and a direction, others reuse found footage. In both cases, the question is to attain the borders of the narration and to see how, by referencing cinema, to get out of the constraints of traditional models. In the junction of documentary, fiction, and the abstract, Carrier takes a voluntarily unstable position, offering suspension as a main line in his work.

    Theodora Domenech: For a few years, you have developed several research fields. We can distinguish three major ones: filmed videos, found footage videos, and installation art. Can you highlight the boundaries among these three practices and how you pass from one to the other?

    Nicolas Carrier
    : My main idea with found footage was to reuse images from the same body of work, a movie, movies from a same director, or a TV series in order to create a new narration focused on anecdotal elements. At the beginning I considered this practice isolated from the videos I filmed. I began to completely transform the images I reused by playing on the frame, the definition, the pacing, and especially by getting out of the narration induced by these images.   

    I wanted to introduce this practice of reshaping in my way of filming. This allowed me to leave the traditional direction, though it was very diluted, that was in my previous videos. A form of strolling, of route, and above all of roving, is in both of my types of work. Visible in my videos as the mise-en-scène, it is now linked to the production process. The roving is also present in my installations. For me, it is the way to transform our apprehension of a space by setting up some obstacles, by banning some points of access.

    TD: But can we not see in this progressive erasing of the narration and of your old filming practice, the will to erase yourself, to be isolated, as an “author’? The change of rhythm in the pacing of the video Grand Tour brings a supernatural and fictional register in images that are partly documentaries. Do we not have a transformation of the narrative register rather than its total absence?

    NC: For this video, I wanted to start with something more abstract and indeed to keep a “narrative tension,” a mystery. Staying in a cinematographic atmosphere but without the “idea of narration.” For a while, it has seemed important to me to merge these two video practices by mixing found footage with new footage. In Grand Tour, I added some images from movies shot in Venice to those that I shot with my iPhone. I mixed different supports and formats. Whether I film my own images or sample images, or both, it is the same for me. This change in my practice is not really a way of erasing myself because I think my method is still recognizable. It is more about making it evolve by putting down my cinematographic burdens and taking more distance, standing back. The narration was the first point of departure of my videos. Now it is reintroduced during the editing under an abstract, fragmented form, that creates fiction.

    Nicolas Carrier, Blind, 2012. White adhesive tape.

     

     

    TD: And the installations? With adhesive tape at the Abbaye de Maubuisson in Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône or at the Projekt- und Hörgalerie AundV in Leipzig ?

    NC: I am developing this practice little by little. In Leipzig it was only my second installation. These projects need a specific space, an opportunity… In my piece Blind, in Leipzig, I blocked the access to the main door of the gallery. The visitors had to enter through the door of the building and then through the back door of the gallery. It was a new course in which they would not have access otherwise. Those white adhesive tapes gave the impression of a big outside screen, without anything screened on, but that blocked one from seeing through the windows. It is very important to me to define a space. In Maubuisson, the piece Do Not Cross was a delimited zone. I am interested in the composition, both in video editing and in a real space.

    TD: Did the Leipzig exhibition permit you to fix things in your work, to see where you were? Did it serve as a “step”? NC: It was my first solo show, so yes, of course. Because it was the first time that I could show an installation and a video together. Here, the narration is presented in the sequence of the pieces, the route, more than in the videos.

    TD
    : It is some kind of a transfer that you make. The narration is taken off the video to be brought elsewhere, in the scenography. There is something theatrical: the pieces and the media answer and complete each other. Are you looking for some kind of a “total” form of art in the layout of these elements?

    NC: Maybe. It plays at least on a certain form of composition in space. For me, however, it is more cinematographic than theatrical because it is more a temporal apprehension of the space. It is again a kind of roving. Between what I did before and what I do now, some things linger, but all are moving. Before I was very interested by thrillers, now it is something…

    TD: Something that has abated or that stays ?

    NC: Thriller? I think it will always stay in a way. [Laughs.] It is still present in the idea of tension and mystery that I am looking for.


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