Pratiques I: La Pesanteur

Public Commission for the new Mediathèque in Sorgues



In April 2010, we re-enacted  Muybridge’s experiment with a group of school children from Sorgues, under the direction of Cecile Proust, a choreographer we had the pleasure of working with in the Pompidou Centre. We worked with a costume and a stool—just as Muybridge did—and we photographed several young people performing the stool-jump in costume.

The final image is a playful pastiche of Muybridge’s black and white photograph—in colour and made with local kids—it is an exploration of motion at the limits of photography, video & dance. The eye’s perception is challenged, skipping along the series to discern what is happening—each figure in the series is a different child from the one preceding it.

For the Dance School we were inspired by chronophotography, the 19th Century predecessor of cinematography developed by Eadweard Muybridge & Etienne Jules Marey. We focused on this particular chronophotograph by Eadweard Muybridge, which examines a very modest little jump, in which it is clear that the lady has no illusions that she can escape gravity—la pesanteur. The photo expresses the inevitable attraction to the ground at the beginning and the end of the jump. We see that the young lady—after an optimistic start—hang her head sadly after the jump, which gives quite a comical effect, unusual in chronophotography, which tends towards scientific sobriety.