– Autumn/Winter 2003

The Multi-Faceted Cinema of Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

Alexis Vaillant

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster seems to have constructed her cinematic work whilst hopping from one island to another. She travelled from Corsica to Japan to Brazil, making seven films in seven years with the support of independent production companies and the French government.1 The works include two films made in collaboration with Ange Leccia, four made by the artist alone, and a 'cartoon' produced within the framework of the Annlee project, a truly collective enterprise.

In 1996 'home cinema' appeared on the hi-fi/high-tech scene. Although a brilliant future was predicted, the product never really caught on. Price was a deterrent. However, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and her friends Philippe Parreno and Pierre Huyghe saw in home cinema the possibility of placing the viewer not in front of but inside the film. The underlying idea was that as soon as we are in a room equipped with the appropriate projection equipment, we are contained both within the room and within the image that invades the same space. We are both at home and at one with our new surroundings - a Dolby surround-sound system and a metallic, panoramic, digital image providing almost 3D visual and aural effects. The obvious way to experience it all is from the comfort of a good sofa. Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster was convinced. Why, she asked herself, do we need to go through the effort of going into town to a cinema when we can go to the movies in our own home and experience a whole array of different spaces and stories?2 So the scene was set. The potential of home cinema was to provide the metaphoric structure for the

  1. Ile de beauté, made in collaboration with Ange Leccia, 75mins, 35mm, Caméra Lucida Productions, 1996; Riyo, 10mins, 35mm, Anna Sanders Films, 1999; Ipanema Théories, 90mins, video, Centre National des Arts Plastiques, Paris, 1999; Annlee in Anzen Zone, 3mins, DVD, Antefilms/Anna Sanders Films, 2000; Gold, made in collaboration with Ange Leccia, 43mins, 35mm, Caméra Lucida productions, 2001; Central, 10mins, 35mm film, Anna Sanders Films, 2001; Plages, 15mins, 35mm, Anna SandersFilms/ Le Fresnoy, 2001

  2. Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, 'Home Cinema', in Films, Dijon: Les Presses du réel, 2003, p.99

  3. Stéphanie Moisdon-Trembley, 'M.M.M. (moments, mondes, modernités)', in Films, op. cit., p.82

  4. Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Exotourisme, booklet published by Centre George Pompidou to coincide with the Prize.

  5. Ibid., p.88