By the Sea



(by the author)

By the Sea, originally named “Abord de Mer” in French,  is an interactive installation with digital sound and images. It presents a continuously projected film, a frontal vision of a seascape, as well as a spatial arrangement of seaside sounds. The images projected onto the screen contain as many characters as there are people in the room. Each new visitor triggers the appearance of an actor on the seaside scene of the film, who then disappears when they exit.

The visitors are all turned towards the sea, and their gazes never meet each other. The subject is not the beach as such, but the anonymous bathers enacting banal beach scenes and the unremarkable seaside scenario. Our memory recalls our own story, our own confrontation with the sea; our memory sees it face to face and enters into a dialogue with the diminutive stories enacted in By the Sea. The presence of the other visitors in the room provides a possible narration which is totally dependent on the  presence and movements of those visitors. Our viewing pleasure is partly frustrated by our dependence on this random element. This reveals the influence of others on our perception, on the quality of our feelings, as our gaze is irresistibility drawn to the horizon of the sea, our ears are filled with the human voices, the cries of the seagulls, our bodies are surrounded by the wind, while the relentless sound of the waves fills our ears and we feel the pulse of time passing. The nearness of this immutable seascape offers us a moment of engaged viewing, and more precisely, in our contemporary beachside context, a view on others, their bodies, their movements, their presence –next to ours– in a feeling of endlessness. With this installation, which restricts the spectators to see a landscape whose occupation depends on the effective presence of the others, I wish to put the visitors facing the influence of the other in their perception of the world.

By the Sea oscillates between frustration and imagination while questioning our desire to be a spectator, the curiosity we have in a particular environment and the purpose of an exhibition space creating an experience that evokes a whole range of feelings from happy contemplation to melancholy to the reassurance of belonging to a social group or community.  With this immutable landscape marking the rhythm of time, I hope to stimulate an emotional dialogue between the individual and the world while encountering the chance occurrence of the other.


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