Since 2006 Claire Savoie documents her life. Her ongoing project Aujourd’hui (Dates-Vidéos) is currently on display at SBC Gallery as part of the Mois de la Photo. Savoie creates poetic still lives by capturing the world around her on video: colorful toys strewn on the floor, hands folded in a lap, a drive down a country road. The shots range from a few seconds to a few mintues, all are dated, all have been edited by the artist. The sound track accompanying each clip may stem from a different audio recording made that day, sometimes texts are superimposed on the images. There is a progression in the aesthetics of the video clips as we travel through time from 2006 to the present. In her early work the videos are buzzing with texts, running across the screen like a mad ticker tape: news clips, personal diary entries, poetry. It’s disorienting, and the busy flow of information contrasts with the quiet videos which are relegated to mere background decoration. As the years pass Savoie masters her medium and her concept. The texts slowly vanish from the clips until only the dates remain. The visual imagery becomes more potent. Savoie has a talent for honing in on a lyrical interlude in her bustling day: a gesture, a shadow, an empty room. Sometimes the videos take on an abstract quality which transcends the medium.
Savoie’s practice of video journaling is not a rigorous daily exercise, but one that is random yet constant. The artist may take a few videos on consecutive days and then pause for a week or so, sometimes even a month. (Note: actually it is a daily exercise – please see the artist’s comment below.) This is beautifully visualized in the main gallery space, where we see video stills from the movies Savioe has edited so far. The images are grouped together by month, leaving empty spaces on the dates where no video was edited. The result is a stunning snapshot of five years of the artist’s work.
The large, horizontal white frames containing the video stills form an elegant grid pattern which inhabits the gallery space. Savoie’s live seems to envelope us as we step closer to examine the small prints. It is utterly absorbing to probe into the details of Savoie’s life as she leaves us clues to her personal narrative. None of the images are particularly personal or intimate, but they do make us part of her life – to the extend that she permits.
This body of work shows us what happens when we take a step back and become observers of our own lives. It’s a fascinating exercise, and an intriguing exhibition.
SBC Gallery, space 507
September 10 – December 3, 2011