from the transmediale archives: Julien Maire - Time of an Image

Julien Maire at iMAL (photo: Alexandre Causin)
Julien Maire at iMAL (photo: Alexandre Causin)


In the course of the various editions of transmediale, there have been a number of individual artists frequently presenting their work in the festival's program. In this context, the transmediale archive with its building up index of photo, video and audio materials also intends to contribute to the general documentation ressources of these projects. Julien Maire is one of the artists who has been participating in several editions of the festival in recent years. The type of his projects spans from performance and installation art to intrinsically format transcending works. The image and its representation by means of machinic processing and manipulation thereby form central aspects, with which Julien Maire has been working both meticulously and virtuosically.


One of his latest projects in the festival program so far was the 2010 presentation of The Inverted Cone as a new installation with its premier at the festival then. This installation used digital and analog images in the disorientating electronic composite of an "inverted light cone", referring to the famous metaphor of Henri Bergson's "memory cone" model of human memories and memorising, creating a literal translation of the original metaphor into an actual optical process.


An earlier work that was presented at the 2008 edition of the festival was entitled Digit - a live performance event as well as "a piece of living art", where a person is sitting at a table writing a text simply by sliding his finger over a blank piece of paper. With no visible hardware nor projection, the text seems to appear by magic, turning the simple performance into a sort of a disturbing act. It looks as if there is a shortcut somewhere, where the thought of the "writer" instantaneously seems to become the printed words on the sheet of paper in front of him.


Julien Maire's 2004 award nominated Demi-pas (Half-step) is a 20 minute film consisting only of three dimensional projected objects: a collection of "Diapositives" or "projection modules". They are constructed with laser cut ektachromes, motors, electrics and electronics devises, in order to animate the pictures directly inside the projectors, or to produce the movements by adjusting the depth of field (the focus is made on different layers of the slide). Demi-pas is a projection using only still pictures, animated in a ameliorated magic lantern process and synchronized with sound - a film performance that re-invents the moving image and its apparatus. Based on this experimental form of projection, the film narrates a tale that has an extremely simple storyline: one man's daily routine. Demi-Pas is a short film that constructs an everyday reality, thus highlighting simultaneously both the simplicity and the complexity of this reality.


In the preceding project, Diapositives, some of the later in Demi-pas used technique and technology has already been invented and developed. By directly projecting a three dimensional object in order to create a picture, the work is experimenting with a different kind of cinema, where the presence of objects and elements in the slide creates its own live action. The spectator constantly shifts between his view of the projected object and his supposition of what is really contained in the projector. This first work with slides describes a short story in each of the slides and the projection (with an adapted slide projector) juxtaposing them in an experimental production.


* "Time of an Image" is a reference to a text by Joanna Hoffmann about Julien Maire's work appearing at

** Photo credit: Alexandre Causin



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