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“Op-Film: An Archaeology of Optics”, an exhibition around optical technologies by Filipa César and Louis Henderson at Khiasma in Paris

From March 29 to April 28, Khiasma located in Les Lilas near Paris presents « Op-Film: An Archaeology of Optics », a joint exhibition by artists and filmmakers Filipa César and Louis Henderson.

The exhibition comprises a film and installation based on ongoing research that explores how optical technologies of military and colonial design – from lighthouse Fresnel lenses to global satellite navigation systems – both inform and are informed by Western models of knowledge. Taking a critical approach to the ideologies behind the development of these instruments of guidance and surveillance, the artists consider how imperial gestures of discovery, revelation and possession are embedded in associations between seeing and understanding, light projection and enlightenment.

The film tracks Fresnel lenses from their site of production to their exhibition in a museum of lighthouses and navigational devices. It also examines the diverse social contexts in which optics are implicated, contrasting the system of triangular trade that followed the first European arrivals in the ‘New World’ with the political potential seen in Op art in post-revolutionary Cuba. Incorporating 16mm celluloid images, digital desktop captures and 3D CGI, the film also maps a technological trajectory: from historical methods of optical navigation to new algorithms of locating, from singular projection to multi-perspectival satellitic visions. Registering these technical advances progressively through their film’s materials and means of production, the artists develop what they describe as “a cinema of affect, a cinema of experience – an Op-Film.”

The exhibition is thought of as a platform for ongoing research by both artists and creates in each context public events, screenings and conversations that extend the exhibition.

More information here

1. Installation view 8è Biennale Contour: “Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium”, Malines, 2017. Courtesy artists and Contour Biennale 8. Photo: Kristof Vrancken.
2. Installation view 8è Biennale Contour: “Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium”, Malines, 2017. Courtesy artists and Contour Biennale 8. Photo: Kristof Vrancken.
3. Installation view film «Sunstone» de Filipa César & Louis Henderson à Gasworks, Londres. Command Gasworks and 8è Biennale Contour, Malines. Courtesy art. Photo: Andy Keate.