The Memory of Water, 2012

The Memory of Water, is part of Singapore Intensive, presented by Future Perfect, Gilman Barracks, Singapore

Journal of an artist who does not want to write a statement

11th of July 2012: I decided to write a journal to document the creation and thought process of the project until its finalized. The intention of the journal is humble; the ambition, non-existent. Maybe it will satisfy my personal curiosity, which is to understand the mystery of where an idea comes from. Last night I heard the story of Leopoldine, the eldest daughter of Victor Hugo. She went to a promenade on a bank on the rive Seine. Her young husband was with her. The boat tipped over and Leopoldine fell into the water. She did not know how to swim, and her husband dived to save her but could not take her out of the nets in which she got tangled. Understanding that he could not save her, he embraced her and they died in each other’s arms. The bodies were found embracing each other and Victor Hugo had them buried in the same coffin.

I just finished a book that I did not really appreciate but that inspired me to write a diary. The writer wrote a small diary at the end of his novel. I enjoyed traveling in between the two spheres, from the world of his fiction to his reality. There is an innate curiosity to find out what lies backstage.

18th of July 2012: My father asked me today, as he looked deep into my eyes, if I knew what is the most important thing in life. I had an idea but I thought I’d better listen. He said that life is short; everything passes by so it is very important that I enjoy what I am doing, and please myself. 

I hope I will not forget this. This is why I wrote it down.

10Th of August 2012: Thinking of a title. Looking for words that speak about liquids, fluidity, stains, marks, stories… 

Collection of titles: The Memory of Water - Black Milk - Blue Beard - Chinese Ink - Made of liquid (title of a song) - Le rêve entouré d’eau (title of a novel by Bernard Chapuis)

25th August 2012: I have an image in my mind: it is a small circle made out of black ink on which I’ll project a video. Will it render the image in a more fragile way?

I have decided to have three projections:  one on Chinese ink, one on a blue liquid and one on milk.

4th September 2012: The colors... Why these three colors? White is innocence, purity, symbolizing what has not yet been tainted. Blue is the color of the imagination, it reminds me of the fairy tale ‘Blue Beard’ by Charles Perrault. Black is dark and infinite, just like unhappiness.

29th September 2012: I bought three pots. Now I can start to work on the videos and see how they will interact with the pots.

18th October 2012: Only one more month left. I was asked to write a statement but for the moment my only concern is the milk. Everyday I am doing a new experiment with different types of milk. I am looking for a type of milk that does not age! What I really mean is one that does not ferment. I tried fresh milk, skinny milk, super skinny with no taste, milk in powder and condensed milk. 

20th October 2012: I tested the pots. Each pot can contain 76 liters!

21st October 2012: This morning I received an SMS from a friend: “Andrée, my friend said that you have to pasteurize the milk. Basically, heat it at high temperature, 100 Celsius for about 30 to 40 seconds then store it in a cold place. Pasteurization will kill the microbes and slow down the spoiling process, but it will still spoil. There is no other way than this one. I asked her if you still needed to pasteurize milk that comes in a carton and has already been pasteurized. She said: “yes”.

24th October 2012: I met a writer who is also a storyteller. He said, among many other things, that for him artistic creation starts with an intuition. I would say that it starts with an instinct. Intuition is much more beautiful. Each of his words were carefully chosen. I wish I could master words. With me, everything comes from spontaneity. When I speak I listen to others discovering with surprise sometimes what I am saying. My performances are like that too. I never know what I will do or what will happen and after my performance, I cannot recall some of the actions. What I like the most of when I perform is when I detach myself from my body as if I was levitating and looking at myself. This is Nirvana.

30th October 2012: I have done a few tests on small pots the few last weeks. When seeing them for the very first time, the visual was incredibly exciting and magical. The videos need to be edited in a round shape to fit into the pot. A round shape is easier said than done because there are many ways to make it and technology is never simple to me. I need help.

5th November 2012: Not happy with my new video of honey, everything is yellowish and this agitates me. There will be no peace until the color is right. Have to redo it. 

6th November 2012: Next week I am installing the work into the space and I’m still writing now… It is early morning and everybody is still sleeping. It is a strange feeling that I am working for 4 months on a project with only an image in head that I am trying to recreate and there is no work to be seen. Nothing is tangible yet. I have some pots behind me and some bottles of ink in another corner. However, the lighting is ready but nevertheless I am feeling butterflies in my stomach. I will orchestrate all these things in the space. This gives me an adrenaline high. I worry that I will not be able to re-create the magic I experienced, of the very first time I tried this.