Camille Henrot’s Grosse Fatigue seeks an experience akin to the slow trawls of internet message boards, Wikipedia pages, and Google searches that mark the contemporary search for information, a compartmentalized seeking after discrete bits of data. Running from image to image, many culled from the archives of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., Henrot’s project offers a condensed experience of information overload, cramming the story of the earth’s creation into 13 minutes.
The work, which won a Silver Lion at last year’s Venice Biennale, is currently screening at Paris’s Kamel Mennour Gallery, offering French gallery-goers a second opportunity to see the work. Screening on a large screen in the center of the gallery, Grosse Fatigue is given ample space to unfold, quite literally. Henrot blends her subjects, between immaterial formats and a tactile engagement with books, notes and pages of sketches and writing. In other shots, she shows a hand actively handling eggs, a sea sponge, or photographs, mixing a human perspective into the previously objective search on screen.
Henrot seems fascinated with the various modes of access and engagement with information, both how the hand manipulates the process, and is inherently limited by it. Scrolling, touching, viewing and selecting are all given ample emphasis here as vital actions, and the process of creation that she sets as her focus becomes a framework for the generation of its own organizational necessities. At the same time, these movements maintain a considerable novelty in their use here, keeping the long train of images and objects engaging through a playful cycling of windows and texts.
In turn, knowledge is presented here as fittingly equivocal, both committed to a broader understanding of the world it addresses, but equally isolated in its various frameworks of access and presentation, not to mention the sheer density of the information provided. Henrot cycles through each image, text and video she presents in a ceaseless search for the essence of existence she so duly seeks, but ultimately must reconcile herself to a stylistic cataloging of aspects.
The fatigue that Henrot makes explicit in her title is tangible here, as the viewer must occasionally shake off the feelings of data exhaustion brought on by the sheer density of lineages presented. While a light soundtrack and poetic recitation make for an engaging viewing, Henrot ultimately presents the grand scheme of creation as just that: a daunting process.
Henrot’s piece is on view at Kamel Mennour through March 8th.