The Uneasy Sleep of the Operator

  • Sébastien CLICHE
from December 13th, 2014 to Febuary 28th, 2015

Download the publication Cliche / Sarfaraz

Perched at the top of a metal staircase, a reel-to-reel audio tape plays. But instead of carefully rewinding the tape, the mechanics of the device allows it to slip slowly downwards. At the bottom of the slope, the ribbon forms arabesques that accumulate, layering on top of each other. Gradually, as they form, the first ones become undone, driven by the tape, which continues its course back to the recorder and completes the loop.  Nearby in real time, a camera connected to a data projector allows us to see the magnified, continual renewal of this process.

The issue of control is once again at the center of this practice, animating the work of Sebastien Cliche. But does control exist without its opposite: letting go? Might this loosening of control, far from generating chaos, instead leave room for a process of self-regulation, a kind of involuntary mechanism of control? This is what he is counting on, this fictional, insomniac character who is responsible for this precarious system – and who may disappear if minimal conditions for a good mode of operation are not provided.

Sébastien Cliche is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Montréal. He questions narrative forms and the place viewers can take in their construction. For over fifteen years, he has been producing installations, photographs and text, video and sound-based art. His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions, notably at Centre d’art contemporain de Meymac (France, 2008), l’Œil de poisson (Québec City, 2010), Articule (Montréal, 2014), as well as in established festivals such as MUTEK (Montréal, 2005 and 2010). As a curator, he produced the exhibition The Hearing Eye (Montréal, Ottawa and Québec, 2007-2008). In 2012, he received the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowship in Contemporary Art and exhibited his work at Optica (Montréal) and in January 2013 at Momenta Art (New York), as part of the Montréal-Brooklyn project. In 2014, he published Doulbings, a publication on La doublure project presented at Galerie de l’UQAM (2012).