The video “White Rhythm” is at the same time one of my first art videos, and also the first group performance that I have ever initiated by myself. It was born as a commemorative act in the memory of an artist that I have very much admired, Dennis Oppenheim (born in 1938 in the state of Washington, died 2011), whom I discovered at the Museum of Modern Art in St-Etienne (http://www.mam-st-etienne.fr/ ), in the context of the exhibition “Islands never found” showcased in 2011, and soon after at the Abbatoirs of Toulouse (http://www.lesabattoirs.org/ ) .
In his work “Drawing transfer in two stages” or “Feedback Situation” – Dennis Oppenheim tries along with his son to restitute the drawing which one traces on the other’s body, using only the tactile sense (” il essaie avec son fils de restituer par le seul sens tactile le dessin que l’un trace sur le corps de l’autre”- . Jean-Marc Poinsot, Dennis Oppenheim , ARC Paris/Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1979).
Reffering to the performance he made with his son, he stated the following: “As I run a marker along Eric’s back he attempts to duplicate the movement on the wall…My activity stimulates a kinetic response from his sensory system. I am, therefore, Drawing Through Him.” (http://www.dennis-oppenheim.com/works/1971/153 accésé le 6 Mai 2011).
I myself have reinserted the idea in another network, comprising eight artists performers, keeping the same staging of receivers. The video created thereafter, “White Rhythm” retranslated these sensory phenomena abstractly, an idea that came only after the form of the performance and the implicit drawings had been implemented ! Relating to this I found something that Suzzane Pagé, former director of MAMVP (Musee d’art moderne de la ville de Paris), wrote around the work of Dennis Oppenheim. Something very inspiring that describes so well the working process that I used on editing this video. I will try to translate from the french version as well as possible: “The reduction process used in the pursuit of form has always been a dilemma and poses the problem of whether the power is not, in fact, lost during the journey of ideas throughout the form. Why not reverse the process and allow the thought to insert itself after the form has been set up? The goal would then be to objectify the spirit, to show it in terms of constructions which are almost visual. These constructions would then have an energy, a force which would be in itself similar to that thought. ” (french version:“Le procédé réducteur employé dans la poursuite de la forme a toujours été un dilemme et pose le problème de savoir si le pouvoir, en fait, ne se perd pas au cours du trajet des idées à travers la forme. Pourquoi ne pas inverser le procédé et permettre à la pensée de s’insérer après que la forme ait été mise en place? Le but serait alors d’objectiver l’esprit, de le rendre en termes de constructions qui soient presque visuelles. Ces constructions recevraient alors une énergie, une force qui serait elle-même similaire à celle de cette pensée.”-Suzanne Pagé, Dennis Oppenheim ( ARC Paris/Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris), 1979 ).
No content of the performance is thus noticeable in the video, which remains in its abstract final form. Maybe one day I will decide also to show the precise real point of departure for the videos, as a sort of performance documentation (that being, the whole row of 10 people bowing and leaning one against each other as if dancing ….while at the same time drawing on the person ahead of them what they themselves felt on their backs) in photographs. I personally prefer that this remains invisible, so that each of you can imagine it differently. An invisible time transfer should be mentally implicit, the thought process thus incorporating the artwork after its construction.
“The presence of an object can be guessed by its mark, its mark, but nothing comes, strictly speaking, to materialize what occurs in these strange places “ (an approximation of an extract that I remembered from some letters of Dennis Oppenheim) .