It is a well-known fact that Finns are not afraid of anything. They often love unusual sport events: mobile throwing Olympics, wife carrying contests, mosquito killing competitions, sauna world championships. In the same spirit, every year, not far from the Polar circle, is held the Air Guitar World Championships to which Anne-Julie Raccoursier has dedicated a video work. Entitled Noodling (2006, 7’20’’), it reveals, in close-up, stylish contestants, unlikely clones of Frank Zappa or Billy Idol. They ape the gestures of these musicians at the climax of their shows. The state of exaltation of the candidates is tempered by the absence of soundtrack. An additional distance is created between them and us: in slow motion, their gestures, sometimes hidden out of shot, seem loaded with affect and could equally suggest (solitary) pleasure or pain, ecstasy or hysteria.
Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame finds here an unexpected echo. It certainly is about the cult of performance, of the image and the senses exuded by our “society of the spectacle.” But the general competition and the ardent desire to exist in the eyes of others run on empty in this mockery of an event, as if the goal was to transform the lack of content into a spectacle.
In a recent photograph, Anne-Julie Raccoursier observes a gated community, a real estate phenomenon that is gain in importance nowadays. The ideal landscape, which layout and clinical cleanliness look very much like a model, offers to the happy few of these “golden ghettos” parks, swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses and private landing fields. But the flip side of fiercely maintaining these privileges resides out of sight: numerous guardians, security cameras and wire fences protect this truncated paradise. These spaces of simulated freedom, worthy of The Truman Show, symbolize social achievement and maximized pleasure manufactured by the American Dream and compose one of the “symptoms of urban pathologies” (Renaud Le Gloix), guided by the logic of social exclusion and of a “security first” environment.
The Centre d’édition contemporaine presents at the Bac – Bâtiment d’art contemporain, from October 13 to December 16, 2007, the first solo show of Anne-Julie Raccoursier (born in 1974 in Lausanne, lives and works in Lausanne and Geneva). On that occasion, a recent video and an edition (Remote Viewer 2 and Remote Viewer 3, two color photographs, 121 x 200 cm, edition of 3 each, 1 A.P., 1 H.C., numbered, dated and signed, edition of the Centre d’édition contemporaine, Geneva, 2007), will be exhibited.