the Point of Departure (2006)
video, 6 min
Filmed within the vast Paris sewage system and the catacombs, the work becomes an intimate journey tracing a downward voyage through time into a mythic space below central Paris. Inspired by the Romantics' concept of mines, caves and underground spaces as living entities, the video is intended to act as an aperture through the gallery into a parallel, subterranean world.
The film begins inside a museum, an institute representing the cultural authority through which art is already "digested". At this point a real, and metaphorical, journey starts through the underground floors of the museum, through its tubular bowels and sewage tunnels to which it is connected, then down into a labyrinthine universe.
The descent slowly becomes an escape journey. Is this a hiding place or a death trap? Along the way the real and literary characters that once inhabited the Paris sewers come to mind: Jean Valjan, Phantomas and Javert. The resistance fighters of the Second World War planned to make use of it, and more recently, the staging of illegal parties has become popular. From time to time the body of someone is discovered who entered the catacomb tunnels alone and lost their way.
The Paris sewage system spreads out in various and intersecting layers parallel to the city above it. In a certain sense it is another Paris, black and rank, a cynical doppelganger of a parallel world of streets and houses on the surface. The work refers to the sewer as the arena of the individual, a journey to the middle of the earth evoking memory, rebirth and self -discovery and as a portal where one could move from one dimension to another.