On day, HE called on the phone landline, and Yan asked nosily, who’s that guy, he is you blockey? In my broken english, I heard « bollockey ». For the next few weeks, happy to know a new word, I used « bollockey » as often as I could.
Our house was a nice but old Victorian mansion, owned by a vicar. He would always come uninvited the day before the rent was due, then on the day. I thought it was really odd: why would he fear that we would not pay him, he was a vicar…
Our house was cold and damp. In the shower you had one of these annoying hot water electrical heater. I had never seen anything like it before. It was never really hot, it was never powerful enough. I had the idea to ask the vicar if he could do something about it. He looked at me strangely, and then blushed. I turned red too, immediately realizing my mistake. You wouldn’t ask things like that to your landlord if he were a vicar.
One day, the heater in my room broke down and Yan and Mary told me they had to go to the vicar the next day: It was only 5 mns away from the house, they would show me where it was. On the way, they explained to me that he owned a few houses around this side of Edgbaston, all pretty much in the same state. I kept thinking, how can this guy rent such dives,… when we arrived to his house, I went mute. His looked exactly in the same condition as ours.
In the spring, during the night, you could hear the baby foxes’ cries, it sounded like slaughtering a baby.
The house kitchen was a big square room with a bow window on the huge beautiful messy garden. Looking outside was looking at every possible shades of green.
Inside, all was green too, and brown, and grey, and yellow.
A kitchen with plastic floor on one side of the room, and a living area on the other side, with a blue-grey carpet, a few comfy armchairs and a table that I was the only one to use.
It was a pain to heat, and often smelled of greasy sausages.
After a couple of months sharing the house with those 11 guys and one girl, I came to the conclusion that it was statistically impossible for British people to peel a potato without dropping more than 50 % of the peelings on the floor.
A very high ceiling, the downstairs bathroom was impossible to heat and remained freezing cold. Its grey-ish coat of paint gave it a grim look. One Monday, Yan, who was the most resourceful, and always had good ideas, took upon himself to buy some nice 70’s orange paint for the walls, and creamy white for the doors and window…. We were all really excited about this new improvement on our floor.
I came back from school that day really cheerful, to enter a half painted bathroom: having no ladder, he had painted the bottom part of the walls, leaving an undetermined coloured zone: an addition of orange strokes and the grey colour beneath it.
Toilette paper. Meeting somebody in the hallway with a toilet roll.. and you knew their destination.
One the house, I soon discovered, there was an unspoken rule about loo paper: Buy some and leave it in the bathroom, and by the end of the day, it would have been used. Put a new one on the next day. Same fate. Try again if you wish. Fate.
So everyone would go to the bathroom with their own roll, and bring it back to their bedroom with them.
Except when one of the boys would stole heavy industrial toilet rolls from the university bathroom, then you were safe for a week or so.. safe from those loo paper encounters.
For Xmas break, everybody went home, to Liverpool, Newcastle, Cheltenham, Grimsby, Reading, and Portsmouth… My flight was on the 22nd of December, so I had a few days alone in the house. On the second day of being on my own, I decided to make the place nice for myself. I cleaned the bathroom, scrubbed the kitchen, got the few decent Xmas decorations out of the box, went to Tesco and bought candles and groceries to make a Dauphinois potato dish and a piece of duck to cook in the pot.
On my way back it started snowing. By the time I was home, waiting for the dish to cook slowly in the oven, the garden was a field of white heavy moss.
I took my drawing book, made myself a cup of tea and smiled in the half darkness of the candle lights.
I had a cat. The important one, the first one, I haven’t owned a cat since actually, but I will, I am positive about it. I had a white cat. I was 12, we had just moved into a new flat, and I was surprised that my mum accepted.
Nobody liked it. And it was cool, cause he was mine only and didn’t seem to like anybody anyway. Me, I loved it, he was sleeping on my bed during the day, playing at night and eating ungratefully whatever was available. I had it for nearly 10 years, and then I moved to England for studying, and I left the cat behind, and my mum took care of it for a while. After a couple of years, she called me and said I should think about what I wanted to do with it, cause really it was mine, and she was tired of having to take care of it, arrange for somebody to come and feed him during holidays and everything. She said she had found an old woman in the country who was happy to take care of it, if I wanted to. I said it was fine by me, it seemed a good solution, it was getting old, and I looked at it a bit like a retirement home in the country. My mum took it to the women and I never saw it again.
And then a few days ago I woke up sweating in the morning, remembering a dream I was sure I had many, many times. It was clear to me that I did have that dream periodically. Or it was more like I was dreaming something and then that piece of dream inserted itself in the main feature. The insertion was my cat. In the kitchen. Coming out of nowhere. Skinny, I mean not really skinny, but enough to make you think « what’s wrong with it?�? and in my dream, I just remember thinking, « fuck! I forgot to feed the cat », and as fast as could, I would grab a box of dry cat food, or if there wasn’t any left, I would open a can of tuna, or cut pieces of the fat around ham and spill it in a plate near the washing machine, and look at it throw itself on the food, eating greedily, and I would feel really relieved. Every time, it was as if it has been on the barge of getting bad, but hadn’t. I had that fucking dream over and over again, and every time I felt so relieved after it had eaten up. But the dream would eventually come back. Until a few days ago, I woke up sweating in the morning.
I never dreamt of it again.
Like any Victorian mansion, ours had its own damp, musty brick basement. You could access through a door situated behind the main staircase, next to the kitchen.
Christmas was coming and we decided to through a party between us. Ian suggested we cleaned the basement to have it as a dance and party hall.
As usual, I went to school, and they stayed behind, absorbed by their new project.
When I came back, eager to see what joke was going to be this experiment, I was thrown: you couldn’t recognise the place: they had store all the rubbish in one of the smallest basement room, cleaned it as much as it could, put Christmas light all over. Tables were dressed with gaudy paper cloth, candles were lit and Paul had carried his stereo down.. The party was due at 10PM.
Mary and Ian continued their cleaning and decorating, I made cakes, Paul a music compilation, the others went to buy booze..
We had the best time, music as loud as the stereo could handle, drunk. Dancing like monkeys…
I had far too much too drink and needed a rest, my head was spinning a little so I sat on a trunk in the small room next to the « party hall ». It was cooler there, and darker too.
I listened to the others, cheering and shouting the lyrics of one of the many perfect pop song that Paul had gathered…
« Julie? Juliiie? caaaaaam on, come back in here and daaaaaaance! » I heard from the other room…
I smiled. Got up.
And that’s when I saw it. And froze.
“Julie, Hey!�? Paul was next to me now. “Hey! Cat got your tongue?�? Paul asked looking at me… I swallowed… « no but the rat might have I said », pointing at the biggest son of a rat I had seen in my life.
When I went back in the other room, I was no more in a party mood. I told what I had just seen and Mary went quiet too.
To cheer us up, Paul told us how once in Liverpool, during a rave party in basement, somebody had discovered a decomposing body in a locked trunk.
I went to bed.
So few words… it began in Africa, setting sun, Julie and Candy, Rony Size’s paper bag, psychic caramel, plants and rags, my mate Paul, you and me always, nothing but you and me, dancing in the moon light, over and over, one more time….
Ten days interval :
On a Wendesday
Friday, i’m in love
On a Saturday
Everyday is like Sunday
Sunny sundae smile
I took the plane in Paris. It was warm and nice. The sun was setting down.
15 minutes after the plane took off, the stewardesses started rushing around.
To help waiting for the packed bright and multicolour lunch box, I opened my book, « on the road », and started reading…
That’s when it happen. First i heard a big « brrrom », then my stomack went numb. i closed my eyes. A baby started crying, then the girl next to me too. Then the stewardess.
..I drank the sparkling water.
My back was still hurting from the plane first shock. I tried to relax: I observed the passengers recovering from the incident. Some were crying afterward, the pretty black girl smiled at me, relieved. The fat French woman sitting by me was still groaning in her friends’ arms. The staff gathered the untouched packed lunches, some of them on the floor.
I felt really peaceful and lonely…and the film title « n’oublie-pas que tu vas mourir » came to my mind.
I told myself that I had been dreaming, that this couldn’t happen to me.
La scénarisation et la fictionnalisation de l’intime effacent l’ampleur de la vie. Ma vie n’est pas un film mais un générique. Ce générique, cette définition énumérative de ce qu’est ma vie intérieure est le produit d’une génération incessante d’énergie : j’émets de la chaleur, je me consume, j’implose à chaque seconde, il n’en restera bientôt plus rien. Je saisis la lumière et je la dis. Et cette énergie, je la canalise quand je travaille sur mon ordinateur.
Bien que de racines différentes, « générique » et « générer » me paraissent deux mots intimement liés. Leur proximité sonore m’a permis de les rapprocher et de leur trouver un point commun : les mots.
Julie’s journey, Jeu vidéo, ISEA 2000.
D’une expérience réelle (l’aterrissage en catastrophe d’un avion), une fiction est construite. Elle prend la forme d’un jeu vidéo en plusieurs tableaux.
Une collaboration avec Garrett Lynch.
> Vidéo de 5mn10, en boucle.
Un appartement. Vide. La porte s’ouvre, une jeune femme rentre, des sacs de courses à la main. Elle les vide, les lave, les met a sécher pendant la nuit. Le matin, elle les repasse… Elle les coupe en deux : ils ont maintenant la forme de sous-vêtements, elle les enfile. Elle s’habille. Elle prend ses clés, sort par la porte. L’appartement est vide. La porte s’ouvre. La jeune femme rentre, des sacs de courses à la main. Elle les vide, les lave, les met à sécher pendant la nuit. Le matin, elle les repasse… Elle les coupe en deux : ils ont maintenant la forme de sous-vêtements, qu’elle enfile. Elle s’habille. Elle prend ses clés, sort par la porte. L’appartement est vide. La porte s’ouvre…
La vidéo boucle parfaitement, il n’y a ni début ni fin.
Dans le cas d’une installation, on peut prendre l’histoire en route à n’importe quel moment.
La boucle est au centre même de la narration, elle permet d’isoler l’histoire : elle suppose l’autarcie, elle rejette le monde extérieur, soulignant ainsi le recyclage du sac plastique (et au delà, le cycle du corps), comme une expérience intime, isolée.
> Installation éphémère :
À l’occasion du mariage de mon amie Olivia, dont j’allais être le témoin, je me rends à la mairie de la ville où je suis née. Je prends le train et je me rends à l’est de Lyon. Assise à attendre mon tour dans le bureau de l’état civil, je me pose des questions sur le jour de ma naissance, le 5 novembre 1973. Poussée par la curiosité, je demande à consulter les registres des décès : qui est mort dans cette ville en ce jour de novembre ?
Mes recherches sont fructueuses : je trouve 11 noms, avec comme pour les vivants, une adresse postale de leur dernier domicile.
Je décide de pousser plus loin cette nouvelle filiation artificielle et administrative et j’écris une lettre à chacune de ses personnes. Une seule phrase-pallindrome pour entrer en contact avec les membres de cette nouvelle famille.
Les lettres m’étant toutes revenues, je me rends sur les lieux de décès de ses personnes pour prendre une photo souvenir.
L’installation comporte :
– 5000 Posters des photos des 11 bâtiments, que les spectateurs peuvent emporter avec eux, dépeuplant ainsi le lieu de ces photos.
– 11 Lettres-palindrome envoyées .
> Merci à Jean-Christophe Galmiche pour ses conseils et son aide précieuse lors des prises de vues à la Chambre.
> Vidéo de 5mn en boucle :
Classer les nombres de 0 à 100 dans l’ordre alphabétique reviendrait à les classer de Cent à Zéro.
Énumération confronte un décompte numérique (image) et un décompte alphabétique (son).
Dessin et detail préparatoire pour l’exposition au forum St Eustache, Paris 1999.
Taille du dessin final, à même le mur : 2mx1,30m.
> Site internet :
Conception et graphisme du site internet « Mac Gouby online Portfolio » pour l’agence Vragma.
> Site internet expérimental : membre actif depuis 1998.
Suspendre le flux du réseau. Un instant. Produire des perceptions, perdre du temps, en donner. Induire des différences et des dissonances, des interférences. Aucune information à trouver, suspension de l’instrumentalité : une dérive perceptive. Partir du médium et rechercher son langage, écrire. S’approprier la programmation informatique comme Logos plutôt que comme Ratio. Interroger l’articulation entre l’affectivité et la machine, notre prothèse. Articuler les paramètres plastiques, narratifs, structurels, informationnels, sociaux. Travailler seul ou à plusieurs sur une thématique donnée. Introduire l’autre dans le processus de production comme part du réseau et de l’anonymat.
Incident au sens d’incidence, l’infime résiste dans la mégapole cybernétique. Un obstacle dans l’indifférence de l’information. Construire des espaces inhabitables.
Schéma de l’arborescence pour le site internet Échosystème (1997-98).
Originellement cette arborescence était présentée sous forme d’animation dans le site. Perdue au fil du temps, il ne me reste qu’une image.
> Installation de séquence vidéos en aléatoire :
Ces vidéos (3 écrans différents) présentent des images de différents réseaux au Japon : le train, divers chemins de promenade dans un temple à Kyoto, etc…
> Vidéo de 12mn30.
Carnet de voyage filmé, sur les traces de Yasujiro Ozu (voyage à Tokyo) et Wim Wenders (Tokyo-Ga) à Tokyo et Kamakura…
Carte hypertexte du métro Londonien. Dans mon premier site internet (1996).
> Vidéo de 7mn25.
Vidéo expérimentale, « J’ai tout vu » propose un montage et une bande son rythmé sur le temps (soleil, vent, pluie…) des paysages filmés.
My first web site arborescence.