Virginie Laganière (CA, 1977) & Jean-Maxime Dufresne (CA, 1973)
Residency period: May – August 2021 / June – August 2022
Through a methodology that combines research, field documentation and speculation, our project The Radiant Mountain explores conditions associated with the legacy of modernity that shape the complex identity of the Swiss Alps. Our work seeks to unfold an imaginary of the mountain between landscape transformations, technological occurrences and therapeutic virtues of alpine environments. Overlapping documentary reality, fiction and conceptual thought in a work of image and sound, our residency project proceeds by staring to explore the myriad of anthropic facets through which we enter into relationship with the mountain. Nature, technology, architecture, history, hydrology, health, spirituality and well-being are intertwined in a heterochrony mixing human, glaciological and geological time scales. Radiant forces relating to solar radiation, energy resources, and terrestrial magnetism form a narrative arc that unites the various chapters of the project.
During the first phase of the residency (2021), location scouting, filming, and sound recordings in different places led to the realization of video chapters and photographic experiments, probing the precarious environment of the Rhone Glacier; the energy infrastructures and the vast hydroelectric works of Grande Dixence / Nendaz-Bieudron; the utopias and rituals associated with body and spirit at Monte Verità, Ascona; the curative geography linked to the sanatoriums (Davos and Leysin) and the cave of AION A, a stone with medicinal virtues, at Würenlos. The preparation of material for the Open Studios was a catalyst for the development of the project, supported by our conversations with the La Becque team.
During the second phase (2022), we produced new footage (Glacier de la Plaine Morte, etc.) and established a fruitful dialogue with scientists and researchers who contributed to the project in its videographic form. Following an interview with the researcher Guillem Carcanade, we filmed the monitoring activities of a team of glaciologists from the Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology of the ETH Zurich on the Rhone Glacier. The reflection on the status of glaciers was deepened by Jean-Baptiste Bosson, glaciologist and scientific officer, Conservatoire d’espaces naturels de Haute-Savoie (ASTERS). Jeanne Della Casa, architect, and Alexandre Grandjean, anthropologist in the sciences of religions, offered keys to the interpretation of Monte Verità, the Lebensreform movements, the eco-spirituality and the spirit of this place endowed with a particular magnetism.
At the same time, collaborations with curators Gentiane Bélanger and Aseman Sabet led to the first dissemination of the work in Canada, in the form of an exhibition at the Foreman Art Gallery of Bishop’s University (Sherbrooke) and a special program at the International Festival of Films on Art (Montreal) in collaboration with MUTEK. In Switzerland, fertile exchanges were initiated with Laurence Bonvin, artist, photographer and filmmaker, Matthieu Jaccard, art historian and architect, and Christophe Guignard, architect specialized in digital environments. The project received support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. — Virginie Laganière & Jean-Maxime Dufresne
Virginie Laganière & Jean-Maxime Dufresne are research-based artists whose
investigations deal with transformations of urban and social territories, as well as
phenomena related to the built and natural environment, with a recent emphasis on
speculative futures, the human psyche and sociopolitical climates. Drawing from
architectural inquiry, field explorations and anthropology, their work experiments with
the multifaceted means of installation, photography, video, sound and sculptural
devices. Blurring fictional and documentary strategies, unforeseen narratives
generate new interpretations of reality where other forms of imaginary coalesce. In
addition to their individual practices, they have been collaborating for more than
1: La Montagne radieuse
2: Fragile Monument
3: Rhone Glacier
4: Grande Dixence
7: Alpine rock
8-10: La Montagne radieuse, Foreman Gallery