Jacques Perconte

Marée métal

In the opening paragraphs of an article published in 2010,1 Jacques Perconte states: “I compose with the radical strength of the digital.” He goes on to clarify: “I have difficulty with approaches that assume that the mechanics of thought armed with technology can have a hold over the world… I try to go against speed.”

In Perconte’s work, everything stems from a focus on the representations produced with today’s tools and media. Images created and disseminated on digital media, computers, smartphones, and networks, captured by sensors and calculated by algorithms, which translate the world into data.

This technical framework is the field from which Jacques Perconte’s works are produced, in a way that is his very own, since it involves freeing himself from the constraints imposed by digital video and to reinvent its rules. In Perconte’s approach, the mathematical determination of images is confronted with a way of filming that is first and foremost

a way of listening to the world, of feeling it and receiving it, without any other expectations than the expression of the power of natural elements. To do this, the artist needs to free himself from the statistical choices made by computer image encoding algorithms, despite the fact that the signal processing in his chosen medium, video, is one of the most substantial.

This is why his work—with cameras, with code, with editing software—deliberately deviates from the expected processes of filmmaking. Instead, it takes the form of a succession of experiments with digital material in which he seeks what he calls the “magic of nature”, of a landscape, a light, a sound, by inventing methods that are his alone.

He achieves this through a process of tinkering. By delving into compression protocols—black boxes created by the industry. By inventing new rules of the game. By using machines to perform actions that do not conform to the specifications. Above all, by seeking out situations where he can see and feel nature, which means forgetting the other images, those in our minds, those of other films, those that sometimes hide what is there in front of us. Forgetting, therefore, what we expect to see because we have already seen it. To make pictures that are also a space in which to pay attention to the world, in a broader context in which the contemporary regime of the image is pushing in the opposite direction.

Jacques Perconte began filming nature some twenty years ago. This new orientation did not come from an imperative inner need to record the sea, the mountains, the forest. Rather, his interest in landscape was the result of his pictorial practice, at a time when he was asking himself new questions in his explorations of the digital image.

It was through filming nature over time that he opened up to what he calls a “love affair with the world”, rooted in an attention to landscapes, to things, to beings. It was also along this trajectory that Jacques Perconte made the observation that “it has become impossible to film nature without seeing that the images we know of it are disappearing”.

These are the two points of origin of the present exhibition, conceived as a single film organised in six chapters broadcast on as many screens, where it is up to each viewer to find their way through the images and sounds. And perhaps, in this way, to go a little against speed.

Eli Commins, Director of Le Lieu Unique and curator of the exhibition