The "Inverted Cone" 2010, is my latest installation presented for the first time during the Transmediale 2010

The "inverted cone" is a "memory station": a slide projection is reduced on a digital mirror as well as in the previous installation " the memory cone" 2009 ( Pdf )

Here the mirror is a very low resolution "digital mirror" made with a stack of pieces of aluminium . Each of the 48 pieces or "pixels" are put in motion by shape memory alloy wires. A software changes the shape of the mirror and deconstructs or reconstructs the projected image .

Produced by DOCK Berlin e.V, supported by Haupstadkulturfonds. Team : Jana Linke , Niklas Roy , Yacine Sebdi and Sukandar Kartadinata for the next new versions ,"Liquid Memory" , and "R-A-Memory"

All pictures Transmediale 2010, © Roman Maerz

“There is no story behind this Picture”

The effect and meaning of technical images are on their surface. We can seize them with a single glance and remain satisfied with what we have got: a superficial meaning. To probe into a deeper sense of an image we have to reconstruct its encoded dimensions.

For this purpose we should allow our gaze to move across the image surface. “Scanning” one element after another or “touching” them with our eyes, we establish time relations between them. We can return to a previously viewed element and then “after” becomes “before”. The longer we look at the picture the more we encage its time in the endless return of the same. After a while we stop perceiving the motionless surface altogether. Our vision erases it from its field, awaiting a new event that would break its inertia.

Is then a movement, alterability of a surface, a strategy to preserve an image? The attempt to transform the “time of an image” into the “time of a thought” unfolding the linearity of its sense?

In Julien Maire’s installation, the “time of an image” is not defined by the unconstrained movement of our gaze. This movement is programmed and driven by alterations of the image surface.

Here, the image does not constitute a solid and motionless area. Its reading is not restricted to a “frozen scene” or an “embalmed” moment evoking the sentimental Past. The initial, personal value of the photographic portrait, expressed in the locality of its time and space, recedes into the background. The picture exposes itself not as a “window onto the world” but precisely as an image: a post-historic and programmed surface.

Its secret lies in an apparatus - an intermediary between the reality and its representation. The black interior of the camera conceals in itself the event of “passage”: conversion and coding of information. Nevertheless the device that “made” the portrait is no more available, similarly to the reality it encoded. Julien Maire constructs his own instrument in order to get through to the dimensions hidden in the picture. The function of this new, complex apparatus is not to produce an image but to process given information. Analogously the artist can be called “Homo Ludens” rather than “Homo Faber”. Julien Maire plays with the apparatus and its magic. With child-like curiosity he sneaks into the “black box”, lights up its interior, de-composes its components to investigate processes responsible for our visual perception and memory. He indicates that the magic of the apparatus does not consist in affecting the external world, but in the way we imagine and think about it. Entering the zone of “Inverted Cone” we become one with the apparatus blurring the border between natural/human and artificial/technological. We start to see through the apparatus or maybe the other way round it is the apparatus that “sees” through our eyes.

The apparatus, this creation of human intelligence, is no longer an extension of a natural sense organ but its programmed simulation.

Julien Maire’s apparatus does not produce a picture but gives it back to us as its own effigy – a programmed game of modules. The image, divided into even fields, loses its integrity. It serves as a partite screen, a luminous board on which the apparatus plays its game with the viewer. Moving sectors allure us with allusions to some reality we cannot access directly. However, instead of the “other side of a looking glass”, they offer us only their flatness, disguised in a three-dimensional illusion. Mesmerized by the animated projection, we become more and more aware of this omnipotent process that transforms everything that exists into a “status quo”: the ubiquity of surfaces which has possessed us already.

Submitted to the focused atmosphere of Maire’s installation we observe how the world of tangible things, filled up with our emotions, thoughts and desires, is translated into a ephemeral entity: a game, a programmed piece of information. We leave the exhibition room with the photographic memory of the watched scene, now processed in the recesses of our minds, questioning our freedom in the face of apparatus, which form our perception/vision of the world and prompt us its meanings.

Dr hab. Joanna Hoffmann