"If I could drag myself down to the sea! I'd make a pillow of sand for my head and the tide would come."
Endgame, S. Beckett
Excroissance (translated as Growth) is an experimental short film, a digital stroll that explores the idea of traveling. This project is written and created by Léo Pacquelet and produced by Fresnoy - Studio national des arts contemporains.
A man is handicaped by a digital tumor that grows on his back. The tumor looks like an embossed smudge, a sort of growth that continuously generates a swirl of pixels. As a sort of hunchback or a failed cyborg, the man is seeking a completely remote and wild landscape in order to disappear and get rid of his digital tumor. He slowly walks with crutches in a very dark and pared-down environment. Every time he stops he finds himself in the middle of the same space with one wall and a window through which he can see the forever distant landscape he's longing for.
"Any technique, engaged in a culture, conveys an imaginary world; it is crossed by tales that are present both in its process of conception as well as in its social inscription. Every technique is engaged in a process of symbolisation." (Le golem et la cybernétique, Michel Faucheux)
This project originates from an interest in the relationship between the human body and new technologies. From the touch screens which allow you to have the world at the tips of your fingers, to the prothesis which offers an ability that your body has lost or has never had. The marriage between the body and the machine seems to get stronger and is even more remarkable in cyber and biohacking trends.
For this film I wanted to create a man that embodies a weakness and to push the idea of the cybernetic into an absurd dimension.
The mise en scene will happen in two parts that are very different from each other. The first part will be shot with the actors in a studio using a constructed set. I want this set to materialise the mental space of the main character: a drifting, pessimistic, escapist, desperate and worried mind. The second part will be shot in situ, amongst real landscapes, either wild, urban or part quotidian. This footage will then be inserted into the studio footage as the views seen from the window of the constructed set.
(Possible aspect of the digital tumor)
The degeneration of the tumor
The moment when the tumor degenerates will look like a glitch in the encoding of a video file, recalling the dysfunction of a digital device: at first there will seem to be an irreversible chaos, and then things that we can relate to will slowly appear, things that create new shapes, new colours, and a new narration.
During the tumors degeneration, the body of the man will generate its own environment (see references below).
Aesthetically, the degeneration of the growth will be obtained by video compression errors, particularly by time-based predictions of pixel movements between one layer of images and another (see the video above). The idea is to create a poetic link between the hunchback (who wants to free himself from the control of the technology embedded in his body) and the pixel (that defies the conventions of the video compression and generates unexpected forms and colours).
In addition, a substantial amount of work in special effects will be undertaken. Particularly for the 3D modelling of the digital tumor imbedded in the back of the main character.
Sound for the scenes shot in the studio will have several characteristics. In some parts it will be faithful to the original ambience and movements creating a dark and minimalist atmosphere. Sometimes the sound will have an unrealistic presence by highlighting the crack of the hunchbacks spine or the clatter of his crutches. At times it will be entirely free from the present image, creating a spacious atmosphere (eg. nature sounds, the rain). These sounds will evoke the long lost sensation of the natural world for the characters. In total, the sound will be composed in a minimalist manner and will feature small repetitious elements.
In addition, there will be a voice-over that depicts the hunchback's voyage. This will be read in the form of a travel diary and will recount each day as similar to the last, highlighting his difficulty to both access and leave a place.
Under the skin, Jonathan Glazer, 2014
Fat shades, Takao Minami, 2008
Mountain Tour, Kim Asendorf
I might, in the end, be no more than a reflection of your imagination, Rosa Menkman
Alpi, Jacques Perconte, 2014
from the 23rd to the 26th of february
from the beginning of january to the beginning of march
from the 2nd of march to the 2nd of april
from the 5th of april to the 10th of may