WorldWide Video Festival
Thé au Riz, 2002 Video, 15’30 min., colour
“You see stuff and, at the same time, hear other stuff. For example, you see a guy's butt in the street and you hear someone talking about his taxes. Totally unrelated”, ponders the voice-over in Thé au Riz. Pierre Yves Clouin juxtaposes a sound recording of an intimate conversation in bed with his lover with lengthy images of public spaces — a shopping mall, a café, a street in New York City.
The conversation meanders along, as a wide view of a landscape filmed through an airplane window passes by. The altitude of the plane reduces rivers and mountains to mere cracks and crevices. All sense of proportion is lost. The scene changes, so does the conversation.
- What do you mean, the bar that’s higher than you?
- You said: on the bar, which is higher than you.
- Oh yeah, when you’re sitting on the bed here the bar over there is higher than me.
There doesn’t appear to be any sense of logic or direction in this conversation, nor do the changing scenes seem in any way related to each other. It appears to be just pillow talk accompanied by random images shot with a handycam. The man continues to speak in a soft voice about some friends, the places in Paris they visited, which route they took to get there, and where they had lunch. We see a kid wearing an Adidas jacket waiting for his dad who’s using a public phone in some mall while a voice-over discusses a female duck and her ducklings. Totally unrelated. When he asks his friend about the leftover pasta we see the image of someone reading a paper in an outdoor café. What remains however throughout the entire fifteen minutes of the video is the strong sense of intimacy. Clouin immerses you in a dream-like state where the apparent absence of logic is not questioned.
Thé au Riz is a thought-provoking and challenging work that raises a number of questions about the blurring of the boundaries between public and private space, in particular about the relationship between the individual and the media, which are increasingly invading people’s private lives, just like we see more and more of people’s private lives reflected in the media.
Strong Enough, 2001 Video, 1’5 min, colour
“I don't need your sympathy There's nothing you can say or do for me…” Cher in Strong Enough
Out of all the bug video’s that were sent in to the World Wide Video Festival this year Pierre Yves Clouin's Strong Enough made a lasting impression. The short clip only lasts one-and-a-half minute and is arguably the world’s shortest and sweetest musical ever made. The leading lady is a June Bug lying upside-down on its back, struggling in a desperate attempt to get back up on its feet again.
It is remarkable how Clouin manages to transform such a simple everyday life scene into a larger-than-life event by effectively utilizing the essence of comedy: the careful orchestration of tension and relief. The viewer is parachuted into a top dramatic moment. You immediately identify and sympathize with the struggling bug. Then Clouin injects a bit of humour to relieve the heavy tension of this tragic event: the first two verses of Cher’s song Strong enough kick in. Relief. Cher is basically saying that you can be strong and rule your life and make the choices you want to make. Then Cher stops... We wait for the climax. But there is no climax, there is no turning point in the plot. Remco Vlaanderen