The art of displacement – video interview >>
Parжour is an alternative practice of Urban Writing carried out through the most common mobile device’s geo-reference systems. Smartphone/Ipad and the connected georeference systems are used to write aphorisms from the Tao Te Ching, by taking pictures to syllables and words found along the way from advertising, sign-boards and any other kind of writings in the urbanscape. Words, letters and other elements to form the phrases, are shot with the mobile device and geolocalized; the focus on unexpected details, is thus linked to the subtile variation in the everyday’s forced paths, and a more extended idea of displacement comes into action.
The title. Parkour, a discipline that can be described as “the act of moving from point A to point B using the obstacles in your path to increase your efficiency” takes its origin from the French “parcours” which means, “the way through”, or “the path”; Parжour by changing a second time the central letter from “K” to “Ж” (the Cyrillic letter “zhe” which sounds like the French “J”) is pronounced like “parjour” and it reflects through the sound the act of wandering.
Tao Te Ching. Is an ancient philosophical Chinese text, that is considered in the western culture as a mean of meditation. However it was born as a manual for the emperors to the good government of the worldly things. Literally the word Tao can be translated as “the path”, or again “parcours” in French. Translating the Tao by means of the Parжour practice is a way to underline the coincidence of political and poetical intention.
Parжour is a wayfaring project in its initial stage, carried out in different countries and languages: the phrases written with this process and the paths covered along the time are initially documented through videos on the same mobile devices used to record them (Smartphone, iPhone etc…); in a second time, following a site specific approach, they can be displayed with different shapes – video installation, photography, artist books or web platform – according to the context.
In order to bridge the virtuality of the video with a more tangible cut in the relation with matter (but also, ideally, eastern and western approach to representation), the work has recently extended to working with clay: the original ideograms of each phrase are laser cut on wood branches hidden inside a ceramic coating: when the ceramic piece cooks in the oven, the wood burns away: the « negative » of the unknown ideograms remains invisibly inside each ceramic sculpture. In parallel, the urban maps covered in search of the syllables for the Tao are collected in an artist book, where each map is traced with China ink on the imprints of the cracked glass covering the clay.