PARCOURS

2021



In the summer of 2021, I had the opportunity to be a Diaphane Artist in Residence in Clermont-de-l'Oise, as winner of the European Residency Award. The result of my commitment is the “Parcours” image series and it was inspired by a particular form of disorientation called “spatial cognitive deskilling”: as we grow more and more dependent on cognitive artifacts like mobile navigation technologies, we lose our ability to orient ourselves in unexplored environments. We become what the Japanese call "hōkō onchi", or "deaf to direction". When the algorithms will be enough evolved, will we still trust our senses?

Visiting an unfamiliar place such as the small town of Clermont was the opportunity to discover the surroundings by adopting an unconventional navigation tool: its people. The goal was to build an itinerary of the city from the personal experiences of Clermont inhabitants and where each successive step was the result of a previous encounter. Starting from my first personal contacts in Clermont, I asked the participants to choose the site where they wanted to be photographed, within the city limits. It could be a special place linked to a memory or an emotion, whether public or private. Each person could eventually indicate me the next subject to follow. Inhabitants were thus both subjects and creators of a collective map.


During my stay I also explored the city without a precise route. I let myself be seduced by my disorientation in order to distill images that could fill the lack of a personal imaginary about Clermont.

The combination of the portraits and the images born from my wanderings gives us a picture of Clermont where the loss of direction is compensated by the beauty of an encounter.

The creation of a map of Clermont is indirectly a tribute to the Cassini dynasty of cartographers and astronomers, who moved to France from Italy in the 17th century, to whom the city of Clermont named a high school, a street and dedicated a monument: the bust of César-François Cassini. His first map of France, completed by his son, provided the most accurate representation of the country whose realization took more than fifty years of work.

The “Parcours” series will be exhibited at Photaumnales 2022 festival in Clermont-de-l'Oise.