The audiovisual installation “Les cycles solastalgiques” is part of a contemporary approach designed to illustrate the artist’s intimate journey in its quest for a renewed relationship with nature and the Living. This aesthetic experience transcends simple visual representation to engage the Other in a profound introspection on the transformation of inner landscapes. This project is a continuation of Catherine D’Amours’ [student member, NAD-UQAC] research-creation project, that started in the fall of 2022 under the supervision of professors Yan Breuleux [co-researcher member, NAD-UQAC] and Louis-Philippe Rondeau [co-researcher member, NAD-UQAC].
These solastalgic cycles refer to “solastalgia,” a concept introduced and problematized by Glenn Albrecht that could be defined as a feeling of “nostalgia and distress in the face of an environment that has undergone several upheavals” (Glenn Albrecht, 2019). In a methodological quest to trace and analyze the interactions between interior and exterior landscapes, the artist adopts a rigorous wandering and documentation approach. This involves the daily archiving of journeys through photographic, videographic and audio means. Following in the theoretical footsteps of “environmental identity” (Clayton & Opotow, 2003), the artist seeks to establish a systematic link with the world of the Living.
The first stage of the project involves the production of video and audio recordings of walks. These recordings are then processed using machine learning techniques, with the aim of exploring the visual representation of the feeling of solastalgia and its aesthetic qualities. Through movement and slowness, Catherine seeks to share her nostalgia for her transformed environment. While the use of this technology has enriched her artistic lexicon, it also makes a critical comment: these same technological tools can be the instigators of environmental upheaval.
A central element of Catherine’s work is sound recording. She has built up a sound archive, incorporating footsteps, birdsong and urban vibrations, to document her process of reconnection with the biotic world. As part of this process, she collaborated with sound artist Jean-Marc Poirier to develop melodies that reflect her transformation of identity in relation to the environment. Sound loops resulting from this collaboration were incorporated into her installation.
Born out of her research-creation residency in Hexagram’s experimental studio and her graduation project, the installation is the first prototype of the aesthetic experience Catherine wishes to take further and share. The metal structure symbolizes her built-up home, which she left to move closer to her true home: the natural world. Printed silk evokes the delicacy and intrinsic beauty of the natural world, while recomposed landscapes suggest human intervention. This choice of materials and prints reveals a reflection on how humans perceive, modify and ultimately integrate into the natural landscape. Poems scattered across the floor guide visitors’ steps, inviting them to walk to the rhythm of the artist’s sound imprints, audible in the space.
Catherine D’Amours is a multidisciplinary artist and newly appointed professor-researcher at UQAM’s École de design. She is particularly interested in the relationship between humans and their changing environment, and the evolution of the complex sets of factors and values that construct environmental identity. Through the exploration of different technologies, she addresses the concepts of solastalgia, the ecosphere and positive Earth emotions, with the aim of creating aesthetic experiences that dialogue with the Other. Recently, she has begun investigating the concept of biomimicry and its potential impact on design projects.
- Research directors: Yan Breuleux and Louis-Philippe Rondeau (NAD-UQAC)
- Sound composition: Jean-Marc Poirier
- Technical support: Victor Brayant
- Photos: Léa Martin, Catherine D’Amours
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