Wasteland is exploring the Bimont Dam retention basin near Aix-en-Provence during its restoration phase between 2017 and 2019. Dry, the basin is dry for dam reinforcement operations. Deprived of its artificial gallery campane, the basin sees the Cause (natural river of the site) run from the north face of the Sainte Victoire and traverse this landscape discovered, usually invisible. The space revealed by the withdrawal of the waters of the Bimont Dam reveals a kind of fragile and isolated desert, both precisely located and curiously similar to another place, another space and another way of existing, where the appearance of witnesses of another time manifest themselves as a body troubled and transformed by the human kingdom.
“We’ve always thought of the landscape as what stands in front of us, at a distance. Here, the landscape is built in a relationship of belonging or interiority. Sébastien Arrighiadvances through the space discovered by the withdrawal of the waters of the Bimont dam as he advances into the virtual world of a video game. The video game offers a setting for an adventure and a role-playing game. In Simile, Sébastien stops the image, freezes the scenery, transforms it into a landscape that he fixes and proposes to the eye, far from any action and competition, as a silent presence. All that remains of the interaction device that ensured the gameplay was a kind of quivering, a breath, an enigmatic anchorage in an imprecise but surprisingly present corporality. The landscape is then invented by the “photographic” operation which consists of choosing the place and the moment and freezing the movement in the video game. It is projected by this only in a “before us” that is not enough to evacuate the place of the “take”, which is well “in” in the game, if not in the action. The analogy can be drawn with what is being played at the Bimont Dam. Here too the landscape is invented by the shooting, by the time of the pose, by the play of the gaze. And the closed horizon of the Bimont Basin opens to other dimensions, to other presences and other memories, something that evokes, far away – very close, an American West populated by forgotten dreams.” (Jean Cristofol, excerpt – read more of the text, here)
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