Clean with me (After Dark), Gabrielle Stemmer

Title : Clean with me (After Dark)
Artist : Stemmer, Gabrielle
Date : 2019
Medium : Film


On YouTube, hundreds of women are filming themselves cleaning their homes. The director, a graduate of the editing section of La Fémis, assembles the videos of Clean With Me, a community of women who film themselves cleaning. In this graduation film, the incongruity of these video gives way to a fine analysis of certain mechanisms of oppression that looks like of possible emancipations at the first glance.



Quotations :



“As soon as I started watching these videos that are made with a lot of music, and are accelerated by the editing, I asked myself: what happens if I replay these videos at real speed and remove the music ? […] As soon as it is put in silence and at real speed, you realize how much it takes them all day and how lonely they are at home. This makes it possible to get behind the appearance of these videos. […] That’s what it’s all about: speeding up to make it look easier. And then to stop you from thinking and realizing what’s going on. When I saw these videos, I thought a lot about a movie I really like, which is Jeanne Dielman by Chantal Akerman. We have a woman who, at real speed, does her chores all day long. For me, it’s exactly the same concern that she has, it’s to chain her gestures one after the other, so as not to think too much about her life, which is the case with these YouTube.” (Gabrielle Stemmer, France Culture, March 2020)



“In Clean With Me, director and editor Gabrielle Stemmer, from La Fémis, has taken over a stunning material of images, those of American youtube girls struggling to clean up almost happily: for this activity is not only remunerative, thanks to the income of the advertisers, but it also allows them to dissipate their anxiety – some of these young women are lonely, because they are married to soldiers on missions. Clean With Me could have sounded like a slogan – “the army washes whiter” – but the filmmaker goes further and turns the glove of feminism upside down. Gabrielle Stemmer questions the image of the housewife: emancipated or neurotic? These YouTube women can be seen as fighters or collateral victims of US foreign policy.” (Clarisse Fabre, Le Monde, February 2020).



Clean with me (After Dark) is in no way this ironic puzzle about our relationship to the hyper-connection that its material could call. The filmmaker’s project is much more complex, profound and establishes a network of connections between these different solitudes which, under jovial faces, reveal all the distress generated by their intangible condition of wife and mother. Ingenuity of a device, crumbling of a social construction, mechanisms of alienation and pernicious consent… The film is of great formal and theoretical power. Faced with these everyday heroines, one could only think of the domestic and mechanical choreography of Chantal Ackerman’s Jeanne Dielman and the welcome shadow of this edition.” (Marilou Duponchel, Les Inrocks, February 2020)



“Thanks to an original filming and editing technique (called “desktop documentary”), the director guides us on screen, directly from her computer, in her investigation, from YouTube to Instagram via Google Images. In the 20 minutes of the short film, there is not the slightest interview or narration. All the material is raw, directly from the web, and very skillfully edited (with eloquent slow-motion replays).” (Silvia Galipeau, La Presse, November 2020)


Author : Natacha Seweryn

À propos de Lanzarote et de Michel Houellebecq en particulier, Vincent Tricon

Title : À propos de Lanzarote et de Michel Houellebecq en particulier
Artist : Tricon, Vincent
Date : 2020
Medium : Film


Michel Houellebecq remembers his vacation in Lanzarote in January 1999 and in particular a love encounter. Combined with images found on Google, this assemblage forms a contemporary visual poetry, which questions each person’s memories, to the point of being superimposed on the vacation memories of the director himself. This film draws the map and the mental territory of a place irrigated by multiple subjectivities, setting up the true and the false, without them ever being identified – except the emotion they will bring to the viewer.





“From my vacation in Lanzarote in 2018, I brought back 5 hours filmed on my cell phone. In order not to bother anyone, I needed a special way to show them. So I made Michel Houellebecq the author of my images. This has advantages: you will recognize that his vacations are more interesting than mine. In videos found on the Internet, I extracted sounds and voices from Houellebecq and then edited them into the images. Now, behind the camera, it’s Michel we hear talking, smoking, sighing. Here, no big thoughts about literature, no scoop, nothing scandalous. Michel is on vacation like the others and films what he sees with irony, tenderness and lucidity. Houellebecq really came to Lanzarote. Everything else is an invention. An act of forgery, a sincere homage, a kitsch parody, the film fabricates the intimacy of a sacred monster and questions the possibility of happiness: these poor vacation images will have fixed it for a short moment. » (Vincent Tricon, in his film presentation presskit).



“Playing mischievously on this somewhat implausible synopsis, the true/false documentary About Lanzarote in general and Michel Houellebecq in particular (presented in the FIFIB Contrebandes competition) is brilliantly inspired by Houellebecq’s universe (the author’s taste for popular and impersonal urban structures, here illustrated by immersions in an All-Inclusive hotel; his cold and clinical view of life…) to take us on a stroll, in all senses of the word. Through video excerpts filmed on the phone or inserts of images captured on Google Maps, this short mental journey, both intriguing and funny (as can be the dropping phrasing and the tongue-in-cheek humour of Houellebecq), is a very well executed exercise in style”. (Joséphine Leroy, Trois Couleurs, October 20, 2020)


Author : Natacha Seweryn

Les Nouveaux Dieux, Loïc Hobi

Title : Les Nouveaux Dieux
Artist : Hobi, Loïc
Date : 2020
Medium : Film


Like hundreds of thousands of men, an incel, this “involuntary celibate”, who here bears the pseudonym “LonerWolf68 “, shares his loneliness and his hatred of women on the Internet. An artificial intelligence has the mission to eliminate him for publishing violent and extremist content. In a world that is less virtual than it seems, the film draws the solitary navigations of this user at the heart of the Internet’s ramifications. Unlike these “new gods”, Loic Hobi’s film questions the culture of rape and masculinity in crisis.






« In Les Nouveaux Dieux, we evoke a real character, or rather the image of a real character. I don’t draw the portrait of a human being but from his digital trace. Obviously, the most dangerous thing in evoking real characters is to feed them, to give them power, which is obviously one of the subjects of the film. Returning these videos and covering the character with a nickname was therefore for me the only way to avoid having this story go up in search engine algorithms. » (Loïc Hobi, interviewed by Joffrey Speno, Diacritik, November 9, 2020).



« The achievement of the film is there: cracking the frontier that separates the images that we would like to confine to experimental cinema by sliding them towards that of a certain art of storytelling. At the heart of it, obsessions that Loïc Hobi explores with variations: notably solitude, masculinity, violence, virtual relationships. » (Joffrey Speno, Diacritik, November 9, 2020)


Author : Natacha Seweryn

Psychosis, Steve Giasson

Title : Psychosis, The YouTube series 1

Author : Giasson, Steve

Date : 2010

Medium : Poésie conceptuelle, document PDF, 44 pages.

Links : artist’s website and PDF 



Psychosis, The YouTube series 1 is a conceptual poetry text, in the form of a PDF document, consisting of an excerpt of comments published under a YouTube video of the cult scene of the murder of Marion Crane, a character played by Janet Leigh, in her shower from Alfred Hitchcok’s Psycho. The book is dedicated to the American poet Robert Fitterman. In the text, all the information of the messages are put on the same level. The temporality of the publication of the message, the pseudonym of its author, the content of the messages are given in a continuous text. The lack of layout of the book allows us to see how texts on social networks are always staged by architexts.



 Author : Allan Deneuville

Sitting in Darkness, Graeme Arnfield

Title : Sitting in Darkness

Author : Arnfield, Graeme

Date : 2015

Medium : Film

Link: Film available online

Sitting in Darkness was born out of a serendipity inherent in the politics of distraction governing our virtual drift: Arnfield’s hazardous discovery of vernacular videos of many users recording their surroundings to attest to a strange enveloping sound they heard in the sky of their small town in the middle of Canada. Arnfield found several dozen of these videos on YouTube: their authors, unable to determine the origin of the sound, pointed their cameras at the sky and accompanied the image with comments of surprise and incomprehension, asking their audience for a possible explanation for the strange acoustic phenomenon they were witnessing.

Sitting in Darkness is a video essay offering a reflection on the Internet and the dynamics that govern it: traffic, hyperspeed, virality and the diversity of spectatoriality regimes.




“One of these films that just get stuck in your head and certainly a perfect comment on our ‘post-factic’ times. No need to believe anything you see (especially if it’s on YouTube).”


Sven Schwarz, Cineuropa



Author: Gala Hernández

Sedated Army Crazy Mirror, Miquel Martí Freixas and Joan Tisminetzky

Title : Sedated Army Crazy Mirror

Author : Martí Freixas, Miquel ; Tisminetzky, Joan

Date : 2014

Medium : Film

Link: Film available online


28 minutes short-film remixing hooligans YouTube videos, Sedated Army Crazy Mirror is a musical collage about violence, mass dynamics, masculinities and fanaticism.


Quotations :


“From different sources coming from the internet, numerous groups of men are shown animating, singing, jumping and moving around following their favorite sports group. In Sedated Army Crazy Mirror, clips of congregations of passionate European fans are shown, masses of exalted followers. The soundtrack, played with voice and guitar, contrasts with the images and gives the video a counterpoint of peace and serenity. In spite of this, the images are powerful enough to frighten, giving the impression that the singers are trying to make their songs stand out from that fanaticism. A competition in which the melody loses out. […]

The different clips compiled offer multiple points of view of the complex, sometimes conflicting, phenomenon of the soccer fan in Europe. An amalgam of sources that consolidate the bustle of an unleashed and completely revived herd. Most of the images are taken with mobiles, which in many cases are of people participating in the melee and parading around the crowd. The large groups are joined by more and more people until they form a demonstration, a fight or a pack. These are acts of public demonstration of power, for reasons that are incomprehensible if one does not belong to this type of group or does not share their hobbies, which are even more strange when contrasted with this type of melancholic song.The sound of the sequences that do not carry the original audio is that of music that progresses incongruously to action. To the individual act of the self-portrait to sing, it is opposed by the collective fight in which all singularity is lost. This is a document in which image is confronted against sound, the mob against the individual being. The title of the video Sedated Army Crazy Mirror comes from the words that compose the titles of the four songs that are interpreted, accompanied by guitar, by youtubers. As a response to the sung self-portraits, two masked men make a manifesto in front of their webcam encouraging the collective struggle and rejecting any kind of conciliation with the others or the police, but demanding justice for their own.”

Carlos Trigueiros, HamacaOnline (


Author: Gala Hernández

de l’amour, Franck Leibovici

Title : de l’amour
Author : Leibovici, Franck
Date : 2019
Medium : livre
Link : editor’s website and third part




de l’amour is a book by the poet and artist franck leibovici published on February 14, 2019, in the collection “uncreative writings” of Jean Boite editions. The book contains four independent parts. The first “stay real, stay right” is a selection of messages published in an online chat room where men talk about their sexual experiences. The second “catfish” consists of screenshots of a discussion on the dating application Tinder. The third “love poem” is a conversational analysis transcription of the soundtrack of an amateur sex tape found online. The latest “love letters” is a love correspondence by email between several people based on the author’s responses to spam emails. 


Author: Allan Deneuville


New Portraits, Richard Prince

Title : New Portraits
Author : Prince, Richard
Date : 2015
Medium : Photography
Link : artist’s site

New portraits is a series of thirty-eight self-portraits, mainly of young women, found on the social network Instagram and first exhibited in 2014 at the Gagosian Gallery in New York by artist Richard Prince. The works are screenshots made up not only of the original photographs printed in large format, but also of signs referring to the Instagram platform (name of the Instagram account that first posted the photograph, the number of “like”, comments from other Instagram accounts). Like many of Richard Prince’s works, this one was at the center of a lively controversy on the notions of copyright and image rights in the age of social networks.


New Portraits (2015) is the most recent work of the American artist Richard Prince, known since 1975 for his “rephotography” works. Faithful to the creative protocol of taking over images produced by others, Prince draws this time his iconography from a new type of visual repertoire, Instagram. This sharing service provides him with the raw material – in this case selfies – for his New Portraits. Through his own Instagram account, Prince makes screenshots that he then stores in his cell phone. This is how he has built up a veritable image bank of portraits of strangers, the vast majority of whom have never been informed of the artist’s intentions and whose artistic reuse of his images has never been the subject of any request for authorization, in accordance with the precepts defended by the apostles of the “culture” of sharing. But the artist’s intervention does not stop there. From these screenshots, Prince makes enlargements printed on canvas that he exhibits and sells at high prices. The works in question also show that Prince commented on the portraits in the form of short humorous or sibylline sentences, as evidenced by the presence at the bottom of them of his user details, richardprince1234 – a veritable signature sealing the act of appropriation. Ultimate revival of personal images that were in any case conceived and put online in order to be retweeted, reliked and redistributed on the Web, Prince’s New Portraits extend and complete in a magnified form this logic of exacerbated self-exposure.”
(LEGAULT, Sara. 2016. « New Portraits », Captures, vol. 1, no 1 (mai), section contrepoints « Post-photographie? ». En ligne :

Author : Allan Deneuville

Mass Ornament, Natalie Bookchin

Title : Mass Ornament

Author : Bookchin, Natalie

Date : 2009

Medium : Video installation, video



Mass Ornament is a 7-minute looped video, a split-screen montage of YouTube videos of dozens of amateur dancers filming themselves in their bedrooms and living rooms dancing Beyoncé’s Single Ladies. Through the montage, Bookchin transforms these solitary performances into collective, synchronized dance and triggers a reflection on contemporary pop culture, virality and subjectivities.



Quotes :


« While each individual dances on his or her own and then posts it on YouTube, Bookchin, through her editing, choreographs the mass dance. Our perception of intentional disparity derives from the fact that Bookchin has clearly taken all of these solo performances and turned them into a collective dance, transforming individual, isolated performers into a dance troupe. When the dancers suddenly come into synch, much of the pleasure of watching the film derives from the fact that this synchronicity could not have been anticipated by these performers, that Bookchin « found » the pieces and brought them together as one. »


(Jaimie Baron, «Subverted intentions and the potential for ‘found’ collectivity in Natalie Bookchin’s Mass Ornament », Maska Performing Arts Journal 26, no.143-144, Winter 2011, 303–314)



« The work features ambient sound and selections from the sound tracks of two films of the 1930s, Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of theWill and Busby Berkeley’s Gold Diggers of 1935.The sounds encircle the viewer, creating a rhythmic soundscape that displaces, without replacing, the architectural certainty of the cinematic black box.The piece begins with noise from the home videos that make up the material of the work, but this is quickly intercut with a few bars of a popular tune from the Berkeley film. As the dancing figures appear a few seconds into the piece, one recalls the industrialized dancing “girl-units” of the Siegfried Kracauer critical text from which the piece takes its name. About halfway through the piece, bodies disappear, and a computer screen takes center stage, potentially standing in for the dancing human; a clip from the sound track to Triumph of theWill resonates through the space.The sym- phonic grandeur of this track portends doomed pathos that seems considerably overstated in comparison with the blurred, inhuman precariousness of the laptop pictured.This section quickly gives way to scenes of dancing bodies collapsing against large furniture or closet doors in domestic settings, resonating with the trace of the laptop image and appearing ultimately as embarrassing anticlimax, when the bodies and architectures in the images deflate.»


(April Durham, “Networked Bodies in Cyberspace: Orchestrating the Trans-Subjective in the Video Artworks of Natalie Bookchin”, Art Journal Vol. 72, no. 3 Fall 2013)



« In Mass Ornament, Bookchin uses a noninteractive database aesthetic to evoke a feminist reading of Siegfried Kracauer, investigating the way that the technologically mediated body in movement— that of the dancer—appears to us today. Unlike the mechanized female chorus lines that Kracauer wrote about in the 1920s such as the Tiller Girls, today’s dancers are not visible as aesthetic embodiments of the machinery of capitalism. However, technology is just as essential to this form of expression. Whereas the rationalized bodies of the Tiller Girls and their ilk express the operation of the machine as a mirror of sorts to the watching masses “themselves arranged by the stands in tier upon ordered tier”, Bookchin’s dancers are isolated in their rooms contributing—as are their viewers—to the functioning of what Jodi Dean calls “communicative capitalism,” watching, clicking, liking, and commenting. In other words, the pieces allow us to imagine the isomorphism of the cultural form at different registers of life—from work to socializing and entertainment. […] In choosing to showcase the widespread popularity of the virtuosic dance moves of Beyoncé’s video (though separated from the original song), Bookchin explores a part of mass culture usually derided for encapsulating high-production popular dance music and antifeminist sentiment. But, unpredictably, Bookchin finds in these gyrating bodies the expression of a kind of embodied politics, as teenagers and young adults of both genders try performing this particular script with all its contradictions and, by broadcasting themselves, bring a little swing to the machine. What moves these individuals to capture themselves awkwardly dancing and then to broadcast and archive the footage on YouTube speaks to the vlog form, the fantasy of what Dean calls “exposure without exposure.” »


(Zoë Druick, « Small Effects from Big Causes: The Dialogic Documentary Practice of Natalie Bookchin», Camera Obscura, (2016) 31 (2 (92)): 1–25)


Author: Gala Hernández

McNugget, Chris Alexander

Title : McNugget
Author : Alexander, Chris
Date : 2013
Medium : Book
Link : PDF and POD

McNugget is a book of tweets with the word “McNugget” in the body of the text, referring to McDonald’s famous fast food product “Chicken McNuggets”. The book currently exists in two forms. A first version of 528 pages that can be downloaded for free in PDF format from the website. A second version of 124 pages, called McNugget mini, which is sold in paper format. To create his work, the author used scrapping software from February 6, 2012 to March 4, 2012 for McNugget and three days, between January 29, 2012 and January 31, 2012, for McNugget mini.


« I think the work I’ve done points in a direction, not the direction; it’s some kind of bridge between. I look at some of these writers data scraping and publishing, you talk about untenable, ridiculous works, they’re publishing all in PDF and their publisher is Lulu, they can make the most ridiculous things; there’s this guy named Chris Alexander who made a work called McNugget where he scraped all of Twitter for every mention of the word McNugget and made like a six hundred page book. […] Now you can buy that book for 30 dollars, and I don’t know how many people will buy that book, but it’s wonderful, it blows open weird notions of authorship, poetry, publishing, code, distribution. I think a lot of the younger writers are moving toward this. » 

(Kenneth Goldsmith, goldsmith/) 



Author: Allan Deneuville

Another Picture of Me as Dracula, Ludovic Burel

Title : Another Picture of Me as Dracula
Author: Ludovic Burel
Design: Regular & Matthieu Mermillon
Date : 2007
Medium : Book, 288 pages, format : 148 x 210 mm.
Link : editor’s website
Consultation places  : Cabinet du livre d’artiste (Rennes) ; Bibliothèque Kandinsky (Paris)



As in his magazine Page sucker founded in 2003, Ludovic Burel collects images on the Internet by carrying out a massive search by terms. Here, he focuses on the word “me”, accompanied by an action, a state or an object. Each of the 280 black and white (auto)portraits selected is followed by its initial title, i.e. the raw file name (me_drunk.jpeg for example), a detail that transforms a personal memory into just one of thousands of data.

Citations :

« “Me.” The two letters “m” and “e” that make up the English word “me” / “moi” entered into an image search engine will generate a batch of 2,390,000 portraits of Internet users in just 0.11 seconds. More than two million images that Internet users will have taken of themselves or had taken by a third party; then taken care to sign “me”. Images that they will have entered into “home pages”; “home pages” themselves “hosted” on Web servers around the world. This database of photographic portraits deposited by Internet users on Web servers and named by them “moi_something” (“me with a real gun”, “me relaxing in hotel bed in Marrakech”, “me jumping”, “me drunk”, etc.) touches on the question of self-representation today. Upon examination of the images collected, we can see that this representation most often translates into the valorization of oneself and generally has a performative character linked to entertainment shows, sports, travel, etc.). This is why the picture book Another picture of me as Dracula was later able to constitute the photo-partition of a performance which, as in the phenomenon of “multiple personalities” very much in vogue today in North America, resembles “a skillful sequence of varied parades of a hysterical type. » (Clément Rosset, Loin de moi. Étude sur l’identité, Minuit, 1999, p. 76.)


«With Another picture of me as Dracula, performed by Isabelle Prim, Ludovic Burel chooses to reappropriate “images of self” of anonymous subjects found on the internet to build up a vocabulary and an inventory of postures that will be used in the writing of future scores. This readymade language represents a repertoire of gestures to be reinterpreted, for delegated performance, based on the modelling of the interpretation of a role, an image of oneself and of others. » (Pascale Cassagnau, Art press n° 331, février 2007, p. 58-59.)


Author : Andrée Ospina 

RIP in Pieces America, Dominic Gagnon

Title: RIP in Pieces America

Author : Gagnon, Dominic

Date : 2008-09

Medium : Film

Link : Trailer

Often filmed by their webcams, characters come one after the other. Their common points: they are males, described as “preppers”, survivalists or supporters of conspiracy theories. During one hour they tell us how state order is going to collapse, as well as how they’re preparing themselves to it.


MacDonald: What were the various factors that led to your doing RIP?

D. Gagnon: A disappearance! One night I found a disturbing video of a guy named Bumpertapper. He’s the one who stockpiles food in RIP in Pieces America. The next day I wanted to show the video to a friend and it had been removed from the platform. This was one week before the election of Obama. The Web had become a political battleground and the fear was that Bush would declare martial law in the wake of the financial crisis. I started to save all kinds of videos, and a week after saving each one, I would check to see if it was still online, and in most cases they’d already disappeared.

RIP involved around ten days of capturing videos and one month of editing. It was the fastest edit I’d ever performed. I didn’t really question why exactly I was doing what I was doing; it just worked for me.”

(Scott MacDonald, The Sublimity of Document, p. 257)


“Throughout the film, the protagonists use the pronoun ‘they’ which is never really identified. Is it the US government? Or rather a threat upon the US territory? One can get the feeling of a huge conspiracy. But the spectator doesn’t really how s.he has to receive these informations. After 15 minutes, the claims of conspiracy start repeating themselves, showing the anxiety and fear inhabiting theses characters. But, is the film not going in circles? There is no narrative structure with a beginning and an end, it’s like an insight of affrayed Americans’ feelings. At the end of the film one might feel puzzled. […] Anyway it’s a critical observation of the world really able to disturb! One might feel a Sci-Fi world is going to fall down on us.”

(Lucile Foujanet,


RIP in Pieces America sheds light on a radical America whose existence one might assume, yet refusing to see it or think it. An America denied by Internet’s system itself whose censorship (consciously or not) keeps on both preventing the spread of these discourses (understood as dangerous) and erasing even the traces of its existence (just as if controlling the access to such speeches would eliminate those uttering it).”

(Marcel Jean, « Fragments d’une Amérique en morceaux »)


Author: Johan Lanoé

of the North, Dominic Gagnon

Title : of the North

Author : Gagnon, Dominic

Date : 2015

Medium : Film

Link: Trailer


of the North opens a new phase in Gagnon’s career. This new series of films includes Going South (2018) and Big in China (2020). of the North stands as a digital portrait of northern, polar or cold regions. The shots come one after the other, without constructing any character (contrary to the American series – RIP in Pieces America, Pieces and Love All to Hell, Big Kiss and Goodnight, and Hoax_Canular – or to Going South). The way the film depicts Inuits populations created a large controversy, particularly the binge drinking/vomiting scenes and the two pornographic shots.



Quotations :


As a regular spectator of Gagnon’s films, I first thought it was normal that people that also were regular spectators of Gagnon’s films spoke and wrote in order to contextualise the film, analysing it as the latest piece of a whole career. [Yet] we had first missed this reality, that was nonetheless obvious: everybody cannot receive a film such as of the North in the way young scholars or cinephiles – familiar with avant-garde and the theoretical industry that commented it since its glory days in the 60s and 70s.”

(Simon Galiero, « Un peu à l’ouest »)


“Through the controversy, the identification Gagnon developed with his characters, and the familiarity he built with the images are confronted to the real presence of the vloggers themselves. Through the controversy, the filmmaker got out of his personal relation to the images: they respond, take shape, are embodied and able to act in return.”

(Alice Lenay, upcoming PhD thesis)



Author: Johan Lanoé

Coming out, Denis Parrot

Title : Coming Out

Author : Parrot, Denis

Medium : Film

Date : 2018

Link: Trailer



Documentary entirely composed of videos found on YouTube. Young LGBT people from different countries film or tell their coming out.





“The simplicity of the process echoes the frontality of each of these self-affirmations, filmed on camera and experienced as confessions, with the exception of a handful of bright and funny sequences. It’s a delicate craft that Parrot does, weaving together contradictory emotions, all of which express the reality of marginalized sexualities: joy and sadness, astonishment and indifference, empathy and anger. By preserving the integrity of each testimony in their length, their hesitations, and even their violence during a tetanizing sequence in which a young gay man films his banishment from the family home with a hidden camera, the director makes faces the basis of his aesthetic and the central subject of his film, offering the dimensions of a cinema screen to upsetting close-ups of the relief or pain of these anonymous heroes, held up like mirrors to each one of us, and giving back to the documentary genre all its evocative power”.

(Emmanuel Raspiengas, Positif, May 2019)



“Semi-private semi-public announcement, the choice of these girls and boys to accept to appear today in the film, that is to say out of context (the saturated flow of online videos) proclaims their determination to appear (oneself) and simultaneously disappear (in the middle of others) : private faces, identifiable and unknown, moving, which become anonymous through the spoken word whose voice carries elsewhere and for others – and for whom filming is a way of protecting and projecting oneself, of putting oneself at a distance in a decisive happening, under the protection of the neutral eye of the camera, which does not judge.”

(Camille Nevers, Libération, April 30, 2019)


“Two years ago, I came across a YouTube video of a young man telling his grandmother he was gay over the phone and filming himself with his webcam. It was very difficult for him to talk, and he was afraid he wouldn’t be understood or accepted. You could also guess that he had been anticipating this moment for months or even years. The video lasted ten minutes, and for nine minutes, before he could say anything, there were many silences, banal everyday sentences. This video moved me a lot, not only because of the device, which was very simple, a bit shaky, but also because of what it revealed in its silences. Then I saw that there were on YouTube, not one or two videos of this type, but thousands of them, from different countries. It’s quite an amazing phenomenon. I didn’t have the idea of making a film about it, but I knew right away that there was a subject in these images that I wanted to deal with. […] My generation has grown up, just like those before, without the Internet. It was very difficult to find positive role models to identify with, just as it was impossible for most of us teens to interact with other LGBT youth. When I saw the first video, I thought it would have been very helpful to me at the time. I chose these videos because I recognize myself in all these young people. I was thinking exactly the same things when I was a teenager, asking myself the same questions.”

(Denis Parrot, interview with Ariane Papillon, February 2020)



Author: Ariane Papillon

I wish I could be exactly what you’re looking for, Jean-Baptiste Michel

Title : I wish I could be exactly what you’re looking for
Author : Michel, Jean-Baptiste
Date : 2013
Medium : Sculpture, Oeuvre numérique
Link : artist’s website



In a sleek rectangular pink sculpture is a small LED screen on which messages published on Twitter containing the syntagm “I wish” are broadcast in real time. The piece is part of a group of sculptures built on the same device. The other installations bring together tweets containing: “I hate”, “I wonder”, “I need”, “I want” and “It’s time”.


Author: Allan Deneuville 

Present. Perfect, Shenzge Zhu

Title : Present. Perfect

Author : Zhu, Shengze

Date : 2019

Medium : Film

Link : Trailer


Present. Perfect. is an experimental documentary entirely composed of images recorded on Chinese live streaming platforms. Initially a spectator, the director recorded for months the lives of a group of ‘anchors’, netizens who broadcast their daily life on the Internet, in the form of an extimate video diary, to alleviate their loneliness.




“In China, there is a people that, broken down by the alliance of the totalitarian state and capital, would however be reconstituted into virtual communities and multitudes connected via new media, smartphones and live-streaming platforms. Present. Perfect by director Shengze Zhu is a montage film that takes note of a technological revolution in which more than 420 million Chinese people have been engulfed since 2016, drawing its heterogeneous material from visibilities that are promised to the black hole of flows, when they are not purely and simply censored. The aesthetic choice of black and white helps to homogenize the poor images which, beyond the intentions of their authors, constitute the raw archives of another, little portrayed Popular China, on which the leaden sky of the legislative and censor State weighs heavily. Yet the people are missing, even in the dustbins of the global audiovisual industry, and instead persevere in the lonely crowds of so-called social networks and selfish sticks. And if the old television has now become a matter of individual production, it is at the service of an advertising of the egos whose affects are the consenting hostages of their commodification, which is no less enslaving than the state’s freedom-destroying channels.”


(Saad Chakali,



Author: Gala Hernández

Roman National, Grégoire Beil

Title : Roman National

Author : Beil, Grégoire

Date : 2018

Medium : Film

Link : Trailer


French documentary filming fragments of video chats of young French people captured by the director on the live streaming app Periscope during the summer of 2016 by means of screen recordings. The film is built on the articulation between the intimate and the public through the assembly of the idle times characteristic of the summer period and the tragedy of a historical event with a collective dimension.



Quotations :


” The novel, writes Stendhal, is a mirror you walk along the path. With social networks, the mirror no longer reflects the world but the figure of Narcissus. Offering an image of oneself, submitting it to the appreciation of others, seems to be the most common use of the Periscope app. From the first moments of the film, a discomfort emerges: that of seeing strangers as if auctioned off, that of indiscreet questions, of sexual allusions, of insults sometimes. An outlet where everyone remains isolated, behind his or her phone. So why « Roman National »? Isn’t it rather the spectacle of a community that is breaking up? What if, on the contrary, the camera on the phone was filming the ultimate documentary, the portrait of a society composed by reality itself? The lens turned towards oneself seems to want to forget the world, but the world constantly reminds us: from the slightest hint of the unexpected to the greatest dramas of current events. Suddenly, the emotion or humour of the exchanges have lost none of their humanity.”


(Sylvain Maestraggi,, our translation)


“A montage of Périscope’s continuous broadcasts which, on the one hand, depicts the impressive cross-fertilization of cultures in France, either among people seeking to adapt to the rules of what is meant by traditional French culture, or among migrants seeking to maintain a diffuse identity of their origin, or French people appropriating foreign cultures which they assume to be their own.

The sweep of different social classes and different areas of France that transmit everyday or banal ideas is interrupted by the Nice attack of 2016, in the middle of July 14th, which transforms the discourse of the film into a general portrait of how social networks deal with tragic events, where the idea of fictionalizing images can be applied […] in order to transform a reality into a discourse that seems artificial. […] The last section of Roman National proposes a change of tone through transmissions from other countries and a return to routine after the horror, denoting the increasingly thin line between the virtual world and supposed reality, which seem to mix.”


Aldo Padilla (, our translation)


Author: Gala Hernández


11, Steve Giasson

Title : 11
Author : Giasson, Steve
Date : 2012
Medium : Book, installation
Links :  PDF and Installation


11 is a literary work made up of all the comments left by Internet users under a YouTube video of the attacks on the twin towers on 9/11. The work currently exists in two forms. The first is a 2637-page PDF file that can be downloaded from the Ubuweb site. The second is an installation composed of two piles of thirty thousand sheets of paper on which are printed the comments of the video. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to take sheets that are not replaced.



“Eleven years after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, it has to be admitted that the West has not yet recovered from that event: the latent and now nameless wars in which the Coalition is engaged, a world economic crisis and a certain climate of fear and mistrust are evidence that our civilization has been shaken.
In the context of exhibition 11, the conceptual artist Steve Giasson seeks precisely – by multiplying borrowings, extensions, echoes, but also mediums – to modestly identify the repercussions and complex relationships that this “appalling spectacle” (Mondzain, 2002, p.9) and other warning signs still maintain with the image. He thus presents seven pieces that attempt, not to “revisit the event itself, but rather its consequences, its mediatized manifestations” (Enwezor, 2008. p.29), including the looping of his images, but also the galloping proliferation of comments about them. In her text accompanying the exhibition, the conceptual poet Vanessa Place writes:
“Are all tragedies uniform? And are all uniforms tragic? These are rhetorical questions, not unrelated to terrorism, war, high poetry or department store fashion. Thus, Skol: 11 gives no answers, but rather pointillistic and useless catechisms. Indeed, if we have somehow managed to understand that not all tragedies are staged, but rather atomizations, and we have lost our illusions, that adolescent hope that human history has nothing to do with human nature, we are faced with nothing, which is where we should be. »”
(, our translation)


“all these analyses become evident when poets publish texts that make visible the formats described above and the types of attention they require. in 2010, steve giasson published ii (in graphic reference to the twin towers), a book consisting solely of the comments recorded in a video of 11 september, with a clearly conspiracyist content. the book exists only in an electronic version, in the section of the ubu site entitled “the unpublishable”, as it has 2,637 pages. such a mass would, of course, be unpublishable in paper version, for economic reasons. the interest of electronic publishing is therefore to make this volume possible. but it also allows us to grasp the extent and mass of these comments, to see how a video, which is ultimately only one occurrence among dozens of others of the same event, is likely to produce, over a period of three years, as many discussions – 47,032 comments. a simple copy-paste, articulated to an editorial gesture of publication, in fact here at least as much as an academic article. not that one substitutes for the other, it rather makes possible, materializes the experience of these speaking situations. who, in reality, would read on youtube 47,032 comments? a curious reader would read a page or two, hardly more. in the presence of a finite and paginated form, it becomes possible to reach, with one gesture, the end of this range, or to go through it in several directions (chronologically, antechronologically, randomly, etc.), that is to say, to make such a mass available, manipulable, corable. a data mining becomes possible (cmd + f), an extensive reading in the mode of duration pieces, too. such a book can also become a closed corpus of study for academic disciplines (linguistics, media studies, sociology, etc.).” (des opérations d’écriture qui ne disent pas leur nom, Franck Leibovici, 2020, our translation)


Author: Allan Deneuville

Images: Guy L’Heureux