Our present-day cities are in a state of transition: from a post-industrial space to a technological era. Ln the highly mediatized space that we now inhabit the physical and temporal boundaries, which define the real world, are disappearing. Our perceptions are conditioned by the mechanisms of a technical culture, one that transforms, condenses and draws these perceptions into a world in which reality and fiction are melding to the point of inextricability. Gradually a new world order is unfolding, and the landscape that springs from it is beyond time and space, both everywhere and nowhere. These non-specific landscapes, these non-sites, reveal much about this transitional state. As sites of instability and change, lacking roots, they are infused with both our presence and absence: we transform them but do not inhabit them. Proliferating around the city’s edges are vague and chaotic spaces full of disconnected events. Hesitating between city and country without opting for either, these unclassifiable areas often go unnoticed. And yet they illustrate the tensions, clashes and disappearances that characterize the soda and urban fabric. These forms of urban disorganization are reflections of our era and expose certain ills of our societies. Sources of revelations and challenges, they appear to vacillate between several possible courses, awaiting a new plan. This notion is central in my recent work. 1 document wastelands, urban fringes, abandoned industrial sites and modified “natural” environments. I track down the signs, traces and artefacts which reveal the contradictions and ruptures in contemporary landscapes. Vertige has been produced from shots in an Asbestos mine (Black Lake, Quebec, Canada). My approach goes beyond the simple documentation of such sites as I alter my photographs and footages to extend their meaning. I use digital photo montage and compositing to create a world on the edge of two realities: between nature and civilization, between documentary and fiction. These constructions reiterate the constant interference that human activities enact upon landscape creating disturbing new possible worlds. The reconstruction of the landscapes by image-transformation techniques underscores our ability to act upon the world and to intervene in the course of events. They should be seen as expressions requiring deeper analysis, as visions that inform us about the state of the world and ourselves.
- Isabelle Hayeur is a Montreal-based artist born in 1969 working primarily in digital photography and video. Her works questions the impact of western development models on environment and invites us to think about the states of the landscape and the numerous mutations (real or simulated) it can undergo through technology. She has shown her video at numerous festivals and video presentations including Vid6oformes (France), Le Festival d’Estavar-Lllvia (France), Transrnediale (Germany), Videonale (Germany), The Toronto International Video Art Biennial (Canada), Le Festival des nouveaux media et de la video de Montreal (Canada) and The 9th International Media Alt Biennale (Poland).