Director: Anouk De Clercq

Italy, France, 2013, animation, 18 min., english with english and lithuanian subtitles, V

An architect talks about the city he has built. Gradually we realise that the city is imaginary. His account is an attempt to give his ideas a fixed shape. This, in a nutshell, is the story of Thing.

In previous works, such as Pixelspleen –where two pixels meet in a dark and vast space– , or Swan Song –a speculation about a pixel’s last song, or last dance before death– Anouk De Clercq draws on what might be called “the smallest unit” that makes up the digital image. In Thing, it is no longer about the pixel, but rather about the dot, or more accurately, about the scale interplay between the dot and its multiplication and organization in the digital image and space. Screened at a very large scale, Thing, is an architectural universe that ceaselessly reveals its own virtuality for it exists only as a nebula of points wherein the camera, or actually, the point of view, wanders.

Indeed, the technology used in Thing does not allow talking about a camera since it is made of 3D scans of urban spaces. Instead, we could talk about a point of view, a gaze, or even a body (that wanders). Thereby, a tension is generated between the mechanical register of space and its embodied perception. A tension or overlap between two sensing interfaces: the scanner and the body, without any need to determine whether there is a desire to reproduce the mode of sensing of the latter through the technology of the former.

Unlike other works in which the animation is for the artist an occasion to create spaces without memory (precisely because animation does not capture anything), in Thing, the virtual universe does have a memory; the scanner does capture. The same memory that a body has or that is required in the learning of perception.

Calling it Thing is a resistance to provide connotation beyond the signalling of a paradoxical –for it is virtual– materiality. Notwithstanding the nuances between authors and periods, the word "thing" in philosophical and psychoanalytic traditions has often been used to refer to the inaccessible, a stronghold of inexplicable emptiness on which meaning is built. Thing, is a film that is built from a text that progressively describes, creates, or builds a space. The dot and the word become thereby, parallel compositional elements. 

Text by Anna Manubens

About the director:

Anouk De Clercq (born 1971 in Ghent) studied piano in Ghent and film at the Sint Lukas Brussels University College of Art and Design. Her films explore the audiovisual potential of computer language to create possible worlds, many of which have a strongly architectonic character. She has received several awards, including an award from the Future Imprint International Animation Competition, Taipei (2003), the International Backup Award New Media in Film, Weimar (2004) and the Illy Prize at Art Brussels (2005). Her works have been shown in Tate Modern, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Centre Pompidou, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Transmediale, Ars Electronica, Biennale de l'Image en Mouvement, among others. Anouk De Clercq is affiliated to KASK, School of Arts University College Ghent as an artistic researcher. She lives and works in Brussels.

Section: Main programme

Producer: Auguste Orts