Il Était une Fois... Demain
At the dawn of the twenty-first century, following a catastrophic event of an unknown nature, human beings have disappeared from our planet. Gradually, nature has regained its power in the most urban of areas, giving birth to a transfigured world.
While walking through the temples of Angkor, I was fascinated by the way nature had reappropriated these spaces. Even disregarding any aesthetic notion, these temples must have been awe-inspiring at the height of their splendor, in the middle of the jungle, as the gigantic buildings of multinationals are today. They are signs of humankind asserting dominion over nature - a nature that we control and push further and further back, imposing a hyper-coded, planned, engineered and urbanized concrete universe, often both beautiful and rather arrogant.
At a time when many questions are being asked about ecology, global warming and the future of our planet, I felt keenly aware of the transitory and perishable nature of all human endeavour, and wondered how all of these monumental buildings of our own time, rivalling each other in grandeur, could evolve in the future to be like the Angkor temples.
Today, it is Angkor that is invaded by creepers and sublime poetry, with a distant presence that can still be felt. And tomorrow - Dubai, Shanghai, New York? Rome, Paris? What will become of these urban spaces, these grand metropolises, these civilisations now at their height but no doubt doomed to disappear someday, like Maya or Khmer ?
This is by no means a pessimistic end-of-the-world vision, but, on the contrary, a world that I imagine to be quite idyllic: a sort of rediscovered Garden of Eden, full of life, colour, shapes and poetry, where the hierarchy of sharp right-angles and well-defined spaces will give way to the joyful madness of nature, which will push in the most unlikely directions.
Our starting point is a city I photographed, where one recognizes an iconic, rather contemporary building, which symbolizes this idea of humankind’s dominion over nature. I then rework the image by reconstructing it like a digital painter, playing with colours, shadows, textures, sharpness and perspective, with trees, animals, plants, industrial wrecks… all sorts of elements photographed during my travels, which nourish the universe I create.
Have a good trip...