Françoise Chambefort: I am on the bus II. Gwangju – Suncheon

 
  • ©2016, Françoise Chambefort

Artist(s):


Title:


    I am on the bus II. Gwangju – Suncheon

Exhibition:


Creation Year:


    2016

Category:



Artist Statement:


    I am on the bus is a series of videos questioning our perception of reality in a world of ubiquitous digital technologies. After I landed in Quebec for the first time, I took the bus and expected to see fantastic landscapes beyond the window throughout the ride. The glass panels were yet covered with a thick layer of grime, smears of dirty, dried out snow, through which I could see absolutely nothing. While the outdoor space could not be seen through the window, it was paradoxically thoroughly accessible through WiFi and Google Street View. I could see what was outside the bus by geolocating myself and displaying the view of the outside world on my iPhone.

    This experience gave birth to the first installment of I am on the bus. In South Korea I conceived a second installment: I am on the bus II. Gwangju – Suncheon.

    In the foreground on the left is an iPhone screen displaying the picture of a place in Daum (the korean Google Street View equivalent) whereas on the right one can see an image that is hard to describe at first sight, a coloured fuzziness covered in droplets, the contours of which are pronounced. This second image bears an obvious relation with the first one, in the forms and colours. It is the same place, photographed through the bus window, with the focus on the glass panel itself.

    Pairs of images are displayed on the screen at an irregular, broken pace, making it difficult for the viewer to perceive anything. The black and white left background is blurred at first. Then, it gradually shows a picture of a subject, arms raised in a selfie stance. This “I” person who is on the bus and whose gaze, both on the iPhone and bus window, make up the foreground. Concurrently with the picture, the music unfolds to its own asynchronous rhythm. It was composed from an audio-recording of buddhist ceremony. Just like the image, the sound is fragmented.

    It is on a daily basis that one struggles with this fragmentation of perceptions, which is inherent to the hybridization of our sensitive experiences as they are multiplied through the use of smartphones and other 21st century technologies. I am on the bus shows the absurd and poetic dimension of our condition as connected human beings. Digital technologies transform our comprehension of reality, in this case of space. But what is most real? That which is displayed on our iPhone screen? That which we can see through the window? The image that we order our digital camera lens to capture, supposed to render what we can see? That which we can feel? Would the image in the dirty window have the same emotional weight, were it not confronted with such a clean picture as that on Google Street View or Daum? In contrast, digital technologies lead us to pay specific attention to the imperfect materiality which our senses can grasp, and to cherish it.


Video:

 

I am on the bus II. Gwangju – Suncheon from ACM SIGGRAPH on Vimeo.



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