Interview with one of the best French video artist. Worker and gay, political and ironical.


Part of your work is directly connected with your sexuality. Have you planned to do that or it was a natural part of the process?

I thing it is quite "natural". I'm gay, so, if I want to make a movie about love, or sexuality, I do one with gay themes. I don't know heterosexuality, so I can't work on it. And as homosexuality is always a "problem" in our world, so to talk about homosexuality and about others non-heterosexuals is a way to talk about the violence done by the WASP normality against all the non-wasp.


Female issues are also a constant in your videos, particularly Eût-Elle Été Criminelle…, which is pretty chocking, by the way. How has the idea of this work come out from your mind?

I work on a video installation and I saw those images of shaved women in France. After the liberation of France by Americans, in all the country there is violence against peoples supposed to have collaborated with Germans. The problem is that you can't do the same thing as your enemies. Germans don't care about justice, and the French did the same just after the Liberation. Even if those people did bad things, they had to be judged, not just killed or hanged or shaved by the crowd. For the women, it's worth because they were supposed to be in love with Germans, they were publicly shaved, like that they "can't hide" what they did. But, almost the time, the people who shaved the women weren't the ones that directly fought the Germans, they were only quiet peoples who wait for the ending of the war and that avenged themselves on the weakest: the women.

I thing also that this world will be better if we give power to the women. Feminism, with ecology, are two of the last way to this about politic.


Your video-confession Gay?, it's not only very personal, but it's also a breakthrough. In your opinion, when society accepts a gay person, they tend to forget that he or she is a sexual being? 

Yes I thing that. Society accept "strangers" (homosexuals are only a part of the peoples that are not "normal") only if they seems to be "normal". We can do what we want only if we look like the majority of people. For gay people, we can be gay, but only if we are a sissy (because a sissy is "funny") or "normal" people (living genteelly with our boyfriend or girlfriend). A real integration will happened only when the society that integrated "stranger" changes itself. It's not to the "stranger" to change; it's the "normality".


In Journal intime, your body is the leading role. How do you deal with your own image and body in videoart?

Usually, I don't really like to use my own body, because I'm a shy person! This movie is particular because it was a strange period for me. I'm a healthy person, but when I done the movie I had a lot of problems with my body. So to be like a Frankenstein during two or three weeks allowed me to make this movie about appearance and about death. I introduced myself like a normal person, but behind this image there is the reality, I was a freak also, and a vulnerable being.

Like spectator, artists who deal with the bodies, their own ones or another’s ones, interest me. I thing Bodies can say a lot of thing about our world, sometimes more that discourses.


Far beyond of the gay issue, there's the social issue in your work. What are your concepts concerning modern society, capitalism and globalization?

I hate capitalism! I thing we always need utopias, even if capitalism destroy them. Revolution is the only solution to all the actual problems. But which revolution? That is our dilemma. But you know, us, European people, are very impressed by the return of radicalism in South America. We thing that could be the beginning of something new.


How your passion for image and movement took place in your life? In which moment you realized that this was going to be your job?

When I was 15 years old. I always gone to theatre and looked a lot of video (it was the beginning of the VHS tapes). When I told that to my father, he just told me: "but only fags and Jews work on cinema". He doesn't know at this time I was gay!


Music is also a very important part in your videos. What are your favorite songs?

I listen a lot of music. Music is probably the most important things for me. But I haven't favorite style or singer. I listen from pop music (very very bad one, but I'm gay, you know the cliché!) to minimalist electronic music… Actually I really enjoy the constellation records with bands like "Godspeed You! Black Emperor" or "A Silver Mount Zion". They make something like "post-rock", very abstract one, but their music is intrinsically politic, and that motivate me to dream, and to work.


In your video Lovers, pornography is shown in a poetic and artistic way. What do you think about the role of pornography nowadays?

Pornography is a strange thing. It's almost the time cheap and dirty (even sexual things considered "dirty" can be shown like beautiful things, fundamentally they are no "dirty" things but they are showed dirty), but sometimes, beautiful moments appear. A hand, a kiss, a dick, a sound… For those moments, I can't say nothing for or against pornography even if I thing that in our society there is too much pornography. When pornography is used to sell clothes or cake, and in that way degrade the image of the woman, that is condemnable.


Irony is also present in your work. This is a trace of your personality or an artistic skill?

It's not an artistic skill. Humor is important in life. Like pleasure. We can say with humor something that could be pretentious without it.


In my opinion, your best video is 21.04.02, that's a large approach on human history and your life as well. Can you give me some details of its creation process?

When Jean-Marie Le Pen, extremely right candidate, succeeded to be second during the French presidential elections, it's was a choc. How, us, the French people, we experience that? So I imagined this movie, made by collecting all the images that I had, thousands of images (pop, history, arts) and thousand of private pictures. And I mixed them up, just to make a focus on this crash of the history.


Considering the videos you have created so far, under the emotional point of view, what was the easiest in preparation? And the most difficult one?

The easiest is to pick up the images, the most difficult is to retouched all of them. It's not very complicated but when I have several thousand of pictures, everything's become very long to do!


Do you consider yourself an artist who works with video or a video maker who works with art? Or none of them?

I thing I'm in cinema, doing sometimes visual art things, but I do films (even if I often use video).


In cinema, what's your favorite director and film?
Dziga Vertov. And Guy Debord (I just discovered his movies, amazing…)


I'm a great fan of yours. Whom are you fan of? 

Freaks ? Gays ? It's a just a joke… I don't really know.


Today, in a world full of labels, speculation and lack of identity, what's your definition of gay?

An asshole!


interview by Tino Monetti
Mix Brasil 2006