Inabitual – Uncanny

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Uncanny is a video installation developed as an artistic response to the philosophical fiction Vampyroteuthis infernallis, published by Vilém Flusser and Louis Bec in 1987. In this intriguing text, the authors analyse a giant molluscan creature, the vampire squid, which is almost entirely covered in light-producing organs, capable of producing disorienting flashes of light in the deep-sea. Starting from a biological perspective, the text turn into a historical and social critic of human behaviour, blurring boundaries between culture and nature to create a non-anthropocentric viewpoint on art and communication.

Provoked and inspired by this book, our work consists in a video projection on a dark room. Inside this “black box” images are projected continuously, in loop. Nevertheless, they can only be seen when someone enters the room and keep on moving inside the space, revealing, through the captured shape of his own body, scenes hidden behind the darkness. The projection results then in a mix of the visitor’s image (captured by a infrared camera) and the undercover video loop, producing a hybrid and phantasmagoric screen, haunted by a furious figure which eventually shows up entirely.

Thus, in this vampyroteuthic cinema, the projection is conceived as a communicational process, in which the I and the other merge to produce the images to be seen.

Since dialogue is a capital concept in Flusser’s philosophy, we propose within the work the contamination with another author, french dramaturge Valère Novarina. The recorded scenes inside the system are performed by actress Ana Kfouri, who adapted his text Discours aux animaux (1993), as a counterpoint to the flusserian fable.

 

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