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DIGITAL ALCHEMY – RETROSPECTIVE OF JACQUES PERCONTE

• 2023-10-07 SAT • 8pm CEST (UTC/GMT+2) • GLITCH FILM screening MaMa + ONLINE

Dubbed as a contemporary alchemist who “bewitches pixels”, French visual artist Jacques Perconte has been disrupting video and digital signals since his student years at the University of Bordeaux in the 1990s when he discovered the world of net art. Fascinated by possibilities of the digital medium and informed by the history of experimental filmmaking, DIY and hacker culture, Perconte has been developing for the last 20 years a unique aesthetic and ethical approach to digital filmmaking, with an aim to reveal the hidden landscape beneath the surface of the digital image. Much like filmmakers such as Stan Brakhage, Emmanuel Lefrant or Jürgen Reble who subjected the photochemical film to physical, mechanical or chemical modifications in order to reveal the material properties of the medium, Perconte utilizes a wide range of digital tools to explore and deconstruct the basic constituents of the digital image, approaching the medium, as he once said, more like a handyman that an engineer or a mathematician.
Opposed to dominant uses of digital technology in cinema as well as to “high definition ideology” which strives for constant improvement of image quality, his works purposely seek to destroy the figurative image as a way of constructing something different – in his case – abstract, impressionistic, vibrant visions which offer spectators a new perceptual experience. As Vincent Deville argues, we deal here with a paradoxical situation – “putative act of deconstruction reveals itself to be an act of creative liberation”. Perconte’s primary tool of destruction is compression which he often uses intuitively, by trial and error, leaving the pixels to move, merge, superimpose or dissolve in the seemingly endless flux. In this short retrospective, we will see seven of his works spanning from early 2000s to present, with Nature being his constant motive and source of inspiration. These landscapes comprising forests, sky, sea and mountains are gradually pixelated and transformed into a vision of pure color, where, as Perconte says, “we no longer see the image of the landscape, we see the landscape of the image”.
His works thus not only seek to question the ontology of the digital image, but also of nature. Glitch tools are then used to “force nature to reveal itself, to access and explore its mysterious origins and functions, just like alchemists tried to comprehend nature by making the invisible visible, whether through mythology, science, alchemy or arts” (Manon Thiery). Perconte, finally, invites us to renew our own perception of reality, to feel rather than see the image, immersing us in an emotional transtemporal experience – a true glitch spectacle.

Text by Ejla Kovačević


Program: 

nszra (2002, 5′)

A few dozen images slide over each other. Transparency plays with the textures of the skin. Sensuality turns from red to white.

isz (2003, 16’41”)

A bouquet of roses for her. Petals brush up against each other. And this goes on as the image traces the feelings which invade me. The forms mingle, blend, and caress one another. Sixteen minutes to let oneself be carried off in this swirl of pink clouds.

Passage (Le passage, 2009, 5’45”)

“And Airs Grown Calm When White The Dawn Appeareth And White Snow Falling Where No Wind Is Bent . . .“ (Guido Cavalcanti). From black to brown to white, red and yellow, the light of this snowy dawn was astonishing. I had this phrase from Guido Cavalcanti in mind. I wanted to color it. I wanted to film a landscape in movement, an unfolded landscape, a landscape which would pass into our hearts through the play of the fragile material of pictorial poetry.

Or / Or, Hawick (2018, 9’33’’) 

In the Klimt’s gold brought to the melting point by a flaming afternoon sky above Hawick, in the south of Scotland, one bird is crossing the sky. From one end of the horizon to the other, its flight defies space and time, to the extent of making them bend and overlap into each other. The journey to the light is to waive the appearances to embrace a mystical dimension where all become love-light-gold. This infinite flux evolves into harmony of existence and unity of life, where all colors join together, kiss and blend. In Hawick, in the middle of the Teviot River, May 4, 2018. 

Tree of life (Árvore Da Vida, 2013, 9’57″)

The tree of life, an almost monochromatic cycle where the dominant is not an absolute rule. Here is a tree in the forest. It is from it that life arises full of wisdom. The awakening of a simple presence for the story of a life. From one green to another, an entire cycle awaits us.

Before the collapse of Mont Blanc (Avant l’effondrement du Mont Blanc, 2020, 16’08’’)

Are we the very last to see the peaks of Mont Blanc? The heat of the summers and the mild winters have a lot to do with the rock falls, which have multiplied over the last twenty years or so. The mountains are collapsing. If this is a sign of climate change, it is also a sign of our attachment to the landscape, which we would like to be able to classify as a heritage site.

The Mont Blanc massif is not ours, the mountain is a state, it is a moment, it wasn’t there millions years ago, and it will change in any case. The problem here would be that of speed of change. Because the equilibrium of these peaks defying the void, the longevity of these glaciers is only our point of view. On the scale of the planet’s motion, it’s a vibration.

Mountains are falling, and there’s nothing we can do about it. And even if we have the means to rise to their height to admire them, to surpass those inaccessible peaks where many explorers lost their lives trying to gain the privilege of overcoming them, the mountains will continue to fall as they continue to rise. If Mount Blanc falls, it also rises.

Libres (2012, 4’31”) 

Misappropriation of the background from the 2012 N.S poster: “A Strong France”. The poster is once more subverted. But this time, it is up to you to hear, to see, and to understand what it means. The future belongs to us!


Jacques Peronte

A French visual artist (b.1974 in Paris) who has actively works in the field of digital art and avant-garde film since the 1990s. Considered to be one of the pioneers of digital and internet art in France, he presents his works in the form of film, audiovisual performance, photography and installation. His primary focus is to examine our ongoing cultural and technical relationships with nature, which he expresses through his known abstract and impressionistic works whose materiality references the history of painting. Through reverse engineering and expert manipulation of the encoding and storage technologies of digital video, Jacques Perconte crafts magical landscapes as colorful fairytales whose critical and popular success is growing.
https://www.jacquesperconte.com/


This program is part of the Fubar GLITCH FILM project, financially supported by the Kultura nova Foundation and the City of Zagreb.

GLI▏TCH A ▝RT — ZAGREB × ONLINE — 2k24 ~ UPCOMING — CALLS × EVENTS — GLITCH A▛T — ZAGREB × ONLINE — 2k24 ~ UPCOMING — CALLS × EVENTS — G▁ITC▚▀ ART — ZAGREB × ONLINE — 2k24 ~ UPCOMING — CALLS × EVENTS — G▗LITC▞▞ ▞▚RT — ZAGREB × ONLINE — 2k24 ~ UPCOMING — CALLS × EVENTS — GLI▔▔H ▀RT — ZAGREB × ONLINE — 2k24 ~ UPCOMING — CALLS × EVENTS — GLI▕TC▘ ART — ZAGREB × ONLINE — 2k24 ~ UPCOMING — CALLS × EVENTS —

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GLITCH ART FESTIVAL

GLI▏TCH A ▝RT — ZAGREB × ONLINE — 2k24 ~ UPCOMING — CALLS × EVENTS — GLITCH A▛T — ZAGREB × ONLINE — 2k24 ~ UPCOMING — CALLS × EVENTS — G▁ITC▚▀ ART — ZAGREB × ONLINE — 2k24 ~ UPCOMING — CALLS × EVENTS — G▗LITC▞▞ ▞▚RT — ZAGREB × ONLINE — 2k24 ~ UPCOMING — CALLS × EVENTS — GLI▔▔H ▀RT — ZAGREB × ONLINE — 2k24 ~ UPCOMING — CALLS × EVENTS — GLI▕TC▘ ART — ZAGREB × ONLINE — 2k24 ~ UPCOMING — CALLS × EVENTS —