The work of French artist Stéphanie Lagarde deals with strategies and systems with which to occupy narrative spaces, as well as analyzing who controls these and by which means. The film investigates vertical structures and how territories are claimed and may be reclaimed.
»Up. Accelerating at 6 meters per second. Just wanted to let you know that Iʼm running smoothly. No need for maintenance. I am performing like I should.«
These words derive from a live feed on which high-tech elevators from all over the world transmit data into an intelligent cloud and translate it into human language. While the elevator is traveling through vertical worlds as well as the metaphysical discrepancies of economic power systems, fears, doubts, and needs vanish into a monologue. On its way up at a speed of 6,9 meters per second, visible and invisible connections and systems are revealed: a steady symmetry of up and down. The more the economic structures reach up, the deeper their roots burrow into the ground.
The principle of the elevator offers the easiest opportunity for claiming vertical space. This is where political and economic challenges culminate in absurd competitions. In symbolic and efficient terms, it is the majestic buildings that reach staggering heights which constitute these spaces of economic and social speculation. With their smooth facades, every new mega tower reflects economic dominance as well as social and cultural hegemony.
A sudden change in direction leads into extreme depths, the elevator duct connects to the underground tunnels of a mine — a place of natural abundance and economic success that still visibly carries the mark of colonial exploitation. An uneasy feeling of contradiction surfaces. Is it due to the waste of natural resources, which have become immaterial objects of speculation despite having a material existence? MINIMAL SWAY WHILE STARTING MY WAY UP shows possibilities for conceiving of economic growth in a less materialistic way and for critically questioning our understanding of materials and resources. (Miriam Hausner)
Supported by Kone Foundation and SCAM Brouillon d'un rêve
Images: Stéphanie Lagarde, Minimal Sway While Starting My Way Up, 2021 © Stéphanie Lagarde / Courtesy Video Power