Catalina Lozano: The agency of images and of the media that produces them has been a constant in your work from the beginning. The notion of what is political about it however has mutated over time. Could you elaborate on this shift?
François Bucher: I have often thought about this. I had, and still have a very strong interest in the image. The question about what is an image, how it circulates, how it is produced, how it is programmed. So my politics were all about emphasizing the image as an image, before the intrinsic seduction of each image blinds us to the forces that have generated it and set it in motion in the world. This was generally being thought about regarding the media, regarding the apparatus of cinema and television. Then there was a shift, so this same question went all the way to a question about reality; the world itself as an image that we may see through; something that comes from the experience, the intuition of an underlying matrix, always expressed in a paradox, in a Universal singularity. Fractal Access Totems (2012) expresses the same shift, something akin to travelling from Newtonian physics to quantum; nothing is erased, the paradigm is expanded.
CL: How has this shift manifested formally in your work? I guess such a shift must have meant a change in methodology as well, which produces a different form, a different understanding of the agency of images which, if I understand correctly, are now devices, gateways.
FB: Yes, true… once the images become like portals, everything changes. If one is faithful to the event that generated the image then there is no real methodology, nothing to be applied. A methodology would imply a law, NOMOS—the image as reference, bound to a previous knowledge, justified—but here instead it is about keeping on recognizing the light that an event has shed; or the image it produced. So in a sense it means to be a militant of that Truth, which incarnates and is Universal to you (a paradox, again). So instead of NOMOS we are in the dimension of LOGOS: an order outside of language has incarnated in language, and you are faithful to it. The work comes from there.
CL: I’m going to risk asserting that with European modernity and with modern science, there was an epistemological flattening of reality. The observational paradigm annihilated to a certain degree many other layers of knowledge. It seems that this realization came to you in the form of a transformative experience that has led you to produce a series of works that explore the many dimensions of the universe. Fractal Access Totems, together with other recent works on video like The Man Who Disappeared (2011), explores this multidimensionality. The very notion of fractality brings about a universal, yet radically diverse potential for knowledge.
FB: Your comment leads to a room that has a thousand and one entry points. That is what this fractal or totemic knowledge that we speak about here entails: there is no single line that could be described without this line always being entangled with another one, and therefore being something other than a line. The quality of this kind of knowledge—the one that I try to express in some way in this video—has to do with vision, with an experience or an event that one is oriented by. This is the fundamental part: it cannot be described solely as the achievement of intellectual activity, nor is it the conclusion of some kind of hypothesis. We can also say that this kind of knowledge corresponds to that which one doesn’t own, it is knowledge that just takes place. The body is attained, a non-local intelligence that is always already in the body plays itself out; some kind of connection appears, and this connection is not born in the mind of an author, in the terms that modernity would envisage an author—someone who has a mastery over a text. We speak here about a contingent text, a primeval chant, whose sole purpose or intentionality is to be one more mirror to a mystery whose layers are infinite… the mystery of Language. It is a reflection of that which cannot be perceived in any other way other than as reflection...
CL: What are fractal access totems in your work?
FB: There is one easy way to explain the concept of fractal access totems: reality is always a crossbreed between the particular and the timeless, between the now and the always, and the work of art does the job of playing this infinite multi-track in the present tense
CL: The very existence of Regina or the very nature of who she is seems difficult to grasp; you struggle as well with this in terms of the narrative of the video, and yet, Regina, not the medical student who got killed on the 2nd of October (Ana Maria Regina Teuscher Kruger), but the other Regina does appear as a multi-layered entity… The medium of the moving image seems to facilitate your endeavors; to a certain degree it becomes a tool to enter into these contested spaces and narratives.
FB: The vision, the one that drives the book on which the video is based, is not by any means springing from anyone’s own concoction. The Regina of the book is not the Historical Regina from Elena Poniatowska’s accounts of the massacre at Tlatelolco (La noche de Tlatelolco, 1971), and the video is not an account of the book either: in each fractal event an experience is channeled to the present tense, and it carries all the code of its forerunners. Even if the vision that brings about Regina might be a resampling of the events lived by Antonio Velasco in 1968, it cannot be reduced to the anecdotal, it is suspended above it or buried underneath it. Regina is, after all, a LIVE text, acting on the world, and Antonio, will earnestly tell you that he is the witness of this live text.
From the modern perspective that you speak about, the matter is settled, Regina is a fiction, a figment of Antonio’s imagination; from another level of consciousness, his novel (Regina: Dos de octubre no se olvida, 1987) expresses a universal truth, it is active, an action, whose matrix is unknowable. It is clear that in this dimension, which isn’t flat, but rather totemic, the hierarchy of knowledge tumbles, one doesn’t know how one comes to know, and, again, that which one knows doesn’t have a form other than its reflection. The author is a reflective surface; his words and his images produce reflections on the real.
For the proper modern mind this vision means nothing, it is the heart of modernity’s darkness.
Regarding the moving image: cinema and poetry are essentially silence, they are nowhere to be found but in the instant in which they are played out, in the moment of their reception, they skid between rhythm and meaning, they are entangled with breathing, with the way the body moves. They are expressed through that which sets it all again in motion, the vital thrust, human e-motion. E-motion is analogical to the apparatus that runs the film, so that what is otherwise mute speaks! Like the perfume in Allah Djin’s lamp, cinema takes over the room (the world) when the lamp is uncorked, and it can sleep forever in the darkness when it isn’t stirring the emotion of a live being.