Long ago in a soft lightChristophe Fellay / Marie-Noële Guex
Feb 11th - April 2, 2023
601Artspace, 88 Eldridge Street
Sound Worksop - Saturday March 18th, read about it here
Long ago in a soft light, by Marie-Noële Guex and Christophe Fellay, is an installation of interconnected sound and visual artworks created from “traces” recorded during a series of performances at 601Artspace in 2019. Through a collaborative generative process that deconstructs their work into granular entities, Guex and Fellay privilege structure and process over content to create meaning.
The artists happened upon a playful illustration for their methodology in the French nursery rhyme “Trois petits chats” in which the last syllable of one line is the first sound/syllable of the next:
The works in the exhibition are methodically generated from one another in a similar way. A sound becomes a still image, a still image becomes a video, the video is deconstructed into frames, those frames are put in motion, that motion becomes a sound. While Guex and Fellay’s source materials memorialize a specific moment and space,, their temporal birthplace is just the starting point on a long journey. In Long ago in a soft light, these traces initiate new work and new connections that the artists and the audience discover and shape together.
From Marie-Noële Guex:
My practice questions the very essence of what motion is and how we perceive it. It can be a sequence evolving through time (a video of a horse galloping) or it can be observed all at once in deconstructed units (a set of images each showing a different moment of the horse galloping).
Real-time interaction with other time-based artists has long been a goal of mine. However, unlike performative arts, the production of images requires heavy mechanical intervention in its creation, process, and display. While there can be improvisation in video recording, it is always followed by a phase of post-production. I am looking for tools similar to musical instruments that could be used to improvise and perform with video images. I work in a non-linear fashion, creating the possibility for choice throughout the progression of a video, something like a “choose your own adventure” book but on a much more granular scale. Breaking down the process of image-making brings me closer to creating a dialogue with sound, putting the two media in a complementary structure where they enhance rather than compete with each other.
From Christophe Fellay:
As a sound artist, drummer, composer, and improviser, I am interested in finding the means to engage with the hidden worlds of sounds, instruments, images, and objects. The question is: how can I best explore things that might exist independently of human thought? I think answers can be found by building ecosystems capable of transforming our perceptions.
For my collaboration with Marie-Noële, I started with the idea that sound is a material with limitless potential. I set out to uncover the “un-actualized” possibilities of sounds by creating new relational networks for them to exist within. I think of many of the works within the show as artifacts, dense repositories of information that connect us to both the memories of the past and the possibilities of the future. Central to this exhibition is the notion of “becoming” - a state of constant evolution, both spatial and temporal, which applies to the collaborative process of making this installation, to the nature of the artworks themselves, and to the audience’s experience.
Over the last three decades, I have developed a multifaceted practice and an openness towards possible combinations, articulations, and interactions of musical and non-musical elements. Technology is transforming the way I perform and compose, making sound events that defy expectations possible. I see evolving technologies allowing for an exchange of electronic stimuli between humans and non-humans (instruments and/or objects), fostering unexpected new connections. My creative exchange with Marie-Noële is like an ever-evolving feedback loop. The work we create together provides a continuous flow of information for me to respond to, like an ongoing conversation.
Image: Marie-Noële Guex, Improv on Black Vinyl No4, Frame 32854, 2023. Digital image, 1200px1200px.
This exhibition was created with the support of Swiss Arts Council ProHelvetia and Etat du Valais.