2023 / DCI 4K / 11:00
Owens Lake lies to the east of Sierra Nevada mountain chain in California. The Paiute tribes called it Patsiata. This body of water once covered an area of 280 square kilometres and had an average depth of 12 metres. The first explorers in the region reported that it sustained abundant aquatic life. Agricultural irrigation, followed by the diversion of the Owens River to the Los Angeles aqueduct, caused a gradual drop in the water level, until the lake dried up completely. Owens Lake was transformed into a vast arid and desolate plain; when the desert winds blew across the deposits of soda ash, huge dust clouds formed. Sand storms became a problem as toxic particles gave rise to respiratory diseases among the populace. To keep this under control, gravel was spread across the basin and the sediment kept damp. Today, nearly half of the aqueduct’s water is rechanneled toward Owens Lake in order to re-start plant growth in the lacustrine clay and restore the depleted ecosystems. Ponds have been created for migratory birds.
2022 / DCI 4K / 05:00
Dollar Tree is a short reflection on the themes of consumption, pollution and poverty. This video was filmed at a garbage dump on the San Carlos Indian Reservation in Arizona, one of the poorest Native American communities in the United States. Dollar Tree focuses mainly on the problem of plastic pollution. Widely distributed in stores and supermarkets, plastic bags have a negative impact on the environment. They are found almost everywhere, because they fly away easily, accumulate on the sides of roads and in waterways. They are dumped in large quantities in landfills that occupy vast lands and take years to decompose. Plastic bag waste is also a danger to animal health since animals often mistake it for food and consume it, thus blocking their digestive processes.
2022 / HD / 04:39
A few moments from the People’s Convoy in Adelanto, California, on February 23rd, 2022.
2021 / HD / 17:45
Anomie was inspired by the disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. It also concerns the excesses of capitalism, which have brought us to an unstable and uncertain period in history. Neo-liberal policies and economic globalization have exacerbated the social inequalities we see today. As its title suggests, the video explores the concept of anomie – in the broadest sense of the term – developed by Émile Durkheim. This concept defines the state of a society characterized by the disintegration or disappearance of shared values and norms. Periods of anomie are chaotic and often laden with conflict. Among human beings they produce feelings of disconnection, alienation, worthlessness and futility. The result is a state of disruption that can lead to despair and deviance. The current pandemic has transformed our individual and collective rituals. The social distancing measures imposed by our governments have altered many aspects of our collective life. Will these changes turn out to be reversible, and what will be their impact on society? In the aftermath of this public health crisis, will we be living in a state of anomie?
2021 / HD / 14:30
Hygieia takes a critical look at the fear of illness and the obsession with cleanliness in Western societies. This experimental video was created using archival sequences that were reworked and assembled to form a Memento mori. How can we deal with the precariousness of existence and reclaim death in the era of transhumanism? Completed during the transition from 2020 to 2021, this piece was inspired by the Coronavirus and the related public health emergency. The work looks at the safety measures that have since become a part of our new normal. It calls into question our blind faith in a health care industry that has transformed (and distorted) our approach to medicine. Our lives are much more than the mere monitoring of bodies. Are we confined in a “state of emergency” that denies the importance of community life? What are the psychological consequences of social distancing and isolation? What does the daily use of disinfectants and antibacterial gels, which are just as toxic as pollutants, expose us to? We seem to be confused and divided over these questions. To fully understand this pandemic, we need to first of all remember that it derives from a political crisis that goes beyond these questions.
2020 / HD / 11:50
This video explores man-made landscapes and the effects of human intervention on the environment. The work draws a parallel between the lush golf courses of Palm Desert and the desolate landscapes surrounding the Salton Sea. It investigates how water is used in California, where water rights are among the state’s divisive political issues.
2019 / HD / 20:00
This video was filmed in Australia, in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. The title refers to “Dreamtime” as the central theme of Aboriginal culture. In their conception of the world, all forms of life are part of a dynamic system of complex interactions. The earth, men, animals and plants are only parts of the same whole.
2019 / HD / 23:25
This experimental video was filmed in the polluted waters of the Staten Island boat graveyard. Located near the former Fresh Kills landfill, these toxic shores have been affected by floods, coastal erosion and by Hurricane Sandy.
2015 / HD / 03:00
This short video is inspired by the student strike of spring 2015 and the social struggles associated with it. It denounces the neoliberal austerity measures and the erosion of political freedoms.
2014 / Site-specific installation
Blind Walls (Murs aveugles) is an architectural projection presented on a building adjoining the Saint-Laurent metro station in Montreal. This work was inspired by the Occupy movement of peaceful protest and draws a portrait of our current political horizon. From October 15 to November 25, 2011, numerous citizens gathered and established the Occupons Montréal camp on Victoria Square, renamed Place du peuple for the duration. I regularly came to this public forum, taking pictures of the indignés, the tents, the posters, listening to public statements… There was a wonderful energy about this place, bringing back hope: a fairer world, with more solidarity, was possible. This movement provided a glimpse of what our societies will become when citizens participate more in the political life of their countries.
Blind Walls was commissioned by La Biennale de Montréal and produced for BNLMTL 2014, L’avenir / looking forward. This artwork was censored.
2014 / HD / 09:50
Mirages was filmed in a residential development on Montreal’s South Shore and in the surrounding agricultural lands. We are gradually transported from one site to another, going from a fertile meadow to a desolate construction site. Transitory spaces appear, ephemeral places are set up; these metamorphoses evoke the urban sprawl that replaces rural life with suburban conditions. Those landscapes in mutation reflect the upheavals affecting our living environments and our ecosystems. They hold a mirror to the illusion of having the capacity to build when we do not even have the ability to dwell.
2013 / HD / 08:45
This video probes our relation to water, underscoring both its vital importance and the troubling recurrence of industrial disasters and the contamination of water bodies.
2012 / HD / 10:45
Recent technological changes have transformed natural and rural environments, to the point of producing uniform, ever-more polluted environments in their stead. Uprooted probes these territories fashioned by man, deciphering in them his relationship to his environment, thereby questioning his ways of being. Critical of environmental and urban developments, this video explores the peripheries of some North American cities, strangely alike from one to the next, in that none of them feels like somewhere. Their excessively wide spaces, standardized and shapeless, generate a sense of uneasiness. Urban upheavals can turn the most familiar locale into an unrecognizable, anonymous, even forbidding place. On this blank slate, local memory is forever erased.
2010 / Site-specific installation
The Downtown Eastside is the oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver; it is also the most run-down. This historic area is infamous for being plagued by social problems due to poverty. Before falling prey to serious urban decay, it has known brighter days, and was even the city’s business hub until the 1980s. Derelict for over twenty years, in more recent ones, it has started to be sought after again. The Downtown Eastside is undergoing a major mutation —witness the newly renovated buildings and the constructions sites that now dot the area.
The coming of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games is accelerating the Downtown Eastside’s transformation by heightening real estate speculation and gentrification; new condo towers and big box stores are appearing. The revamping of the neighbourhood seems more responsive to the expectations of people who are better-off. Tensions between real estate developers and members of the community are palpable, with fears of a form of implicit “social cleansing”.
It is striking that the history of the Downtown Eastside began in destruction and disappearance. In 1886, soon after the city was incorporated, the Great Vancouver Fire swept down on the neighbourhood and razed almost all of it to the ground. The video installation Fire with Fire recalls this troubled period of Vancouver’s history. It also alludes to the neighbourhood’s present conditions by reminding us that many lives have been consumed there, worn down by years of homelessness, drug use, street prostitution, and violence.
3 channels video installation commissioned by The Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad, Marlene Madison curator. The work was presented at W2 Community Arts Building, 112 West Hastings Street, Vancouver.