Contemporary And: Your video installation is titled oxygène (oxygen) and the projection features nude women in a bathtub. Is there a relationship between the title and the subjects filmed?
Amine Oulmakki: Oxygen is vital to the body’s energy flow. I wanted to work with female friends who are involved in art and join them in asking how to curb the pressure they undergo as women in their work. So the launching point was this exercise of curbing that energy, that pressure exerted by society, and seeking to extricate oneself. There were two instructions: don’t talk, only underwater, and be on your own without externalizing for the other person’s gaze. The three-dimensional installation of the bathtub accompanying the video projection questions our perception of water as a metaphor for our own cycle of existence.
C&: The underwater gazes define the camera: a representation that places the subjects you filmed back at the surface of the image rather than in the depths of their interiority. Is it possible to be truly oneself on camera?
AO: Those very penetrating gazes are what I call « gazes that tear the veil of the image ». If you try to present an image of yourself on camera, it becomes a fiction, as in an adaptation of yourself. The image, as a representation, always has a certain fictionality because every representation emerges from a subjectivity that is in turn built upon fictions.