By Jérôme Delgado
No matter what the adage says, all cats are not grey in the dark. Night-time brings out a throng of personalities, countless activities, and – without a shadow of a doubt – a rich colour palette. More often than not, it suits us to close our eyes to what’s happening once the light of day is extinguished. In nature, that’s when the wild animals finally take over. In the city, it brings out the ever-more-precarious side of the work world. And between these two poles, on the road, isolated outposts become welcoming refuges. The artists in this issue, as worthy observers, use various technological strategies to remind us of the importance of acting, living, and thinking in other ways.
Éliane Excoffier’s images in Nightlife au mont Pinacle were captured in the forest, beyond her view. She placed infrared hunting cameras, triggered by the slightest movement, at places where animals might pass through. The thousands of pictures accumulated over a year reveal the diversity of a population that, among other things, crosses a stream. This intersection, both source and reference point, is part of a whole, as is each animal observed. Beyond being a bestiary or an environmental manifesto, the project calls for a healthy encounter – indirect and unobtrusive – between animals and humans.
During the pandemic, and especially during the curfews imposed as a health measure, we became much more (nutritionally) dependent on ordering ready-to-eat meals. In Black Out : Les livreurs / The Deliverers, Emmanuelle Léonard attends to the nocturnal workers who make sure we’re well fed. Using both thermal devices and late-model digital cam- eras, she photographed delivery people at work. Overall a view of a community rather than individual portraits, her images scan the energy released by each body, target the issue of time imposed on each delivery, and bring to light a too-often-overlooked social and economic sector.
Travel is integral to Neón, a video project conceived, paradoxically, for Web broadcast, to be viewed while comfortably at home. It is an imaginary route that Santiago Tamayo Soler traced from images of Colombia harvested from a popular virtual navigation service. By modifying the images indifferent ways, he amplifies the sense of mystery around places passed on the way (bars, motels, garages, and so on), while highlighting them with neon signs. He uses these signs, beacons in the night, to override cultural clichés and go beyond what might be associated with clandestine spaces and night life. Translated by Käthe Roth