David Knight - 5th Feb 2009

A naked girl in a hotel room taking a pregnancy test; a bubble floating in an empty airport building; the girl stroking a gasping fish with a needle; the needle piercing flesh.

According to ArtForum Cyrille de Vignemont aka Danakil's photography and video installation work "are subtly unsettling and exude an eerie sense of stillness... though immediately arresting, the real meaning of his pictures unfolds in time."

Having directed videos for The Micronauts, The Penelopes, and Y.A.S/Mirwais in the past year or so, his latest for French rock band Poni Hoax's fabulous Antibodies has exactly that arresting imagery and quietly unsettling, provocative quality.

Gets under your skin, in fact.

Cyrille de Vignemont on making the video for Poni Hoax's Antibodies

"3 minutes and 17 seconds was the perfect duration to tell the intimate story of a girl waiting for the result of her pregnancy test, I wanted to explore how these few minutes can be so strange and scary. I'm fascinated by empty places that we usually know as crowded, so the airport and the hotel room overlooking the runways were the ideal places to evoke her loneliness.

"Then I had this obsession for bubbles. Maybe it comes from paintings: Homo Bulla (aka "the man is like a bubble", usually represented by a young boy making or bursting bubbles) was one of the vanitas in all this sixteenth and seventeenth centuries art that I love. I was wondering how we could make a giant bubble, was it possible or not

"We finally found a recipe, that was so cool that we were like a bunch of kids mixing dishwashing liquid and water, trying to make the biggest bubbles in the middle of the airport. We were shooting on 16mm film, and Orly airport at night was an amazing playground for our very small team. The film is pretty dramatic and personal but during the shooting I was just a grown-up kid playing with his new toys.

"The rest of the shooting night was in a room at the Roissy Hilton, with two fishes and a half-naked model. Using a fish as some kind of surreal embryo came from a childhood memory: I had that fish gasping for air in my hand, close to death but still struggling, and it was so disturbing and beautiful at the same time. Animal and human muscles, skin, bones, are very important in my work as a contemporary art photographer. The "abortion" scene at the end is really similar to the stuff I have exhibited.

"After watching the film for the first time, my producer put his hand on my shoulder and told me: 'still not ready for fatherhood'."

Credits

Production CompanyWanda Productions
DirectorDanakil
ProducerGregory Escure
1st ADClaire Lance
EditorMark Maborough
PostMikros

David Knight - 5th Feb 2009

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