Matheline Marmy (CH, 1993)
Residency Period: September 2020
“You have a specific interest in cyanobacteria, and so do I but for different reasons: they are amongst the oldest organisms on the planet. They gave us oxygen. They pose problems because they are toxic. They are interesting organisms, and yes, we have them in Lake Geneva. Specifically, we have one dominant species called Planktothrix rubescens. I can write it down for you. What is different about this dominant species is that first, it is a little bit of a different organism from cyanobacteria as spirulina also is. Plants normally have green pigments only, and as you know, cyanobacteria are known to be blue-green algae, because they have blue pigments in addition to the green ones that all algae (and plants) have. These are red-purple in colour rather than blue-green, which is a clever idea because of where they live in the lake, at some depth below the surface.”
Transcript of a conversation with Bastiaan Ibelings, University of Geneva, F.-A. Forel, 8/9/2020
At la Becque, the starting point of the project was to collect documentation on local types of algae and their habitat. Time was spent exploring the lake area, reading books, collecting algae cells to form a new culture, and sparking conversations with biologists about the life, broad conditions of survival and blooming of algae. The documentation, consisting of conversations, photographs and process work, will be assembled in a printed edition and used as a foundation for a new work.
Matheline Marmy studied Photography at ECAL/Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne, before graduating with a Master’s degree in Visual Arts from the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. Through process-based modes of production, her photographic work takes on a plastic and experimental dimension, involving the transformation of materials linked to phenomena such as growth, invasion, corrosion or sedimentation. Winner of the 2019 Pro Helvetia Emerging Artist Award for Photography, she also co-directs the artist-run publications Exhibitions on Paper.