Old New World
From March to May 2020, when France entered into lockdown due to Covid-19, I decided to stage the sudden halt of a model that had reached its limits, lived then so intensely. Inspired by a literary genre specific to those times worried about dystopian futures (1984 – Orwell, A Brave New World – Huxley, La nuit des temps – Barjavel), I wandered in an empty Paris, pondering on our hopes for renewal. I became increasingly interested in the frontier between the possible and the impossible, which has nevertheless happened.
In order to give an account of the supernatural character felt at the time, I choose to divert the expected role of documentary photography by a process that blurs our reference points between past, present and future, reality and fiction. I used a Japanese paper negative in my medium format camera, resulting in a look from a past century. Prone to accidents, it reveals mysterious objects that descend from the sky and turn our certainties upside down, casting doubt over the very rationality of what we are witnessing. The black and white emulsion laid directly on this paper reveals its delicate texture, made of flower and mulberry tree fibers. I liked that these fragile natural elements were for a moment the very witnesses of a world that was believed to be indestructible, but which beliefs finally proved to be quite fragile.
These photographs were envisioned to be printed by a lithography process in order to physically confront the material elements that allowed their existence with the strange and wavering times that we lived through.