Blindspot Gallery is pleased to present “FRAGMENTS OF FUTURE HISTORIES”, a solo show featuring the works of Cédric Maridet. The collection of videos, objects, installations, photographs and sculptures on display embodies Maridet’s practice that relies on intensive fieldwork and research from literature, science or history.
The exhibition – which takes its title from Gabriel Tarde’s post-apocalyptic novella – induces an investigation in the connections between man and the exploration of his environment. Inspired by fieldwork in the Arctic Circle and especially in the abandoned Russian mining town of Pyramida in the Archipelago of Svalbard, the works unfold a mesh of narratives based on the poles and Mars’ explorations, creating different possible narrative trajectories through reenactments, simulations, interventions, and documentation.
The series of crystallised book pages entitled Last Words form an ice archived set of material that can be interpreted as fictitious found diaries. The quotes, taken from the last sentences or epitaphs from science fiction novels from the 19th and 20th centuries, frame the journey with particular psychological postures. A similar thread resonates in the installation Rise, Fall, a revisiting of Admiral Fitzroy’s weather forecast invention used on Darwin’s expeditions, where the crystals represent a three dimensional model of a possible fluctuating geologic terrain to be constantly scrutinised.
The two landscape reductions installed on equilateral triangular tables as parts of a larger Buckmeister Fuller’s map projection are attempts to conquer a territory. Fast Kill (consists of an insecticide can and metal scrap) deploys a strategy of technological control, while Pyramida (consists of coal, glacier water and air from the Arctic) shows a mere scientific approach. The Last Image of Kosmos 1154 is a reenactment of the first close-up TV image of Mars as done by NASA scientists in 1964, who used a real-time data translator machine to convert a Mariner 4 digital image data into numbers printed on strips of paper. With the contemporary context of witnessing the re-entry into space of Russian rocket Kosmos 1154 launched in January 1980, the work reenacts a similar making, yet reverses the process of revealing an image thro ugh the slow process of drawing according to the brightn ess values of the last image of the rocket bursting into flames on the evening of the 12 October 2014 in the sky of Svalbard.
The kinetic sculptures of Parhelia are machines that simulate sun halos created by spinning ice crystals in the atmosphere. These early cinema devices, whose shapes have been inspired by metallic poles or towers in Ny-Ålesund and Pyramida, create an undefined planetarium. Interventions, a series of photographic documentation of projection of texts, responds to the literary quotes from Last Words. Either invented or quoted from Tarde’s novel and Tennyson’s Ulysses, the texts projected in the Arctic landscape are interventions pointing at contemporary attitudes toward the anthropocene, and which also allude to larger contexts of different postures of being in the world.
The two videos that open and end the exhibition present two different takes on a more direct documentation. Horizontal Drift is a long derive into the slowly changing landscape that recalls the Soviet and Russian manned drifting ice stations that have contributed extensively to exploration of the Arctic since 1936. The three-channel video Chrono-synclastic takes a direct reference to Kurt Vonnegut's neologism, and explores the possibility of scrutinising past and present through microscopic images into floating ice, opening up a new spatio-temporal dimension for explorations.