The Study

Super-8 film digitized, Color, 11 min, 2009

Voice : Nicky Dingwall-Main
Production : Museum of Fine Arts, Houston ; Maison Dora Maar, Ménerbes

The story of an experiment conducted on the corpse of a young man condemned to die by guillotine. The left eye’s retina revealed an image that was deemed “precise yet ambiguous”. The film enacts this incident by way of captions interspersed with series of images seen through a Super-8 viewer, to a rhythm that resembles blinking. The images bear no apparent relationship to the experiment. A female voice-over reminisces about the written text while the captions and images are screened, thereby creating a strange polysemy. The account of this experiment draws inspiration from photo-optical research on the optogram carried out by the German physiologist Wilhelm Kühne as well as by Dr. Auguste Gabriel Maxime Vernois, who had published an article in the medical photo-journal of the Hospitals of Paris entitled Étude photographique sur la rétine des sujets assassinés (1870).