18 Seconds (Les dix-huit secondes) / vs02 was inspired by a screenplay by Antonin Artaud. The work uses imagery – digital and organic – as metaphors to capture the psychological state – in flux – of the protagonist and his relationship to the viewer and the world he occupies.
The video was conceived as a performance work. Shot in one take, the artist’s presence is filtered and manipulated (simultaneously by the artist) via a digital based interactive software and live TV imagery. This performative gesture creates a paradoxical unveiling of the artist’s state of mind, and his expression towards becoming human, but in so doing he is inadvertently deconstructing his identity and the reality in which he occupies.
As Susan Sontag points out about Artaud’s intent;
The language that Artaud uses is profoundly contradictory. His imagery is materialistic (making the mind into a thing or object), but his demand on the mind amounts to the purest philosophical idealism. He refuses to consider consciousness except as a process. Yet it is the process character of consciousness—its unseizability and flux—that he experiences as hell. “The real pain,” says Artaud, “is to feel one’s thought shift within oneself.
The first version of 18 Seconds (Les dix-huit secondes) was created in 2005, in the artist’s living room in Montreal, Quebec. The second final version, which is seen here, was re-edited in 2016, to create an alternative interpretation to Antonin Artaud’s vision.