SYMBIOSIS
2022 - Symbiosis is a film about the relationship between trees and humans in the course of evolution.
Abstract

Going back to the origin of life,
Symbiosis is a film that tells the story of the evolution and the relationship between trees and humans over time. Mixing biological facts, myths and fictions, this scientific fable is told by a voice, that of a tree that confronts us with the harsh reality. A reality in which the progress of mankind is irremediably distancing itself from nature, thus degrading the symbiosis that united them.
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« You acquired vision. Vision. What has happened to that vision that was once so acute ? For you, we were now all the same. Inert statues ; prisoners in the ground." (Symbiosis, 08:05)

Resolutely animist, this film is not only animist through its story, but also through its filmic process involving everyday objects. Tomato sauce, ink, plastic sheet and paintbrushes are no longer insignificant products with an assigned function, they are much more, they come to life to exist thanks to their form and its evocative power. Thus, a collection of old books becomes under our eyes a giant sequoia forest, a hot plate becomes the sun, and a washed-out funnel turns out to be the eye having lost its vision once so acute.
Homemade fiction 

Samy Bouard Cart is a true bricoleur of images, in the sense that Lévi-Strauss speaks of bricolage as characteristic of The Savage Mind (1962). If he tinkers, it is because the images he collects have no assigned functions, since these depend on the analogical network into which they are inserted. In his work, using objects, his kitchen or his body, the artist creates a panel of visual elements whose function no longer exists; only the form remains. It is only in the editing process that these elements take on meaning, to the extent that the same image can have different meanings. For example, let us film an ice cube melting and reverse the video: what are the potential meanings of this video for this DIY artist? The formation of a mountain, the crystallisation of rocks, the appearance of life, the blade of grass that grows from the top? Cart calls his method ‘homemade fiction’, because it seeks the extraordinary in the ordinary of the home, in the folds of its matter. It is based on simple precepts:
1) playing with scale (using microscopes and macro lenses);
2) playing with time (reversing or modifying temporal sequences);
3) playing with the orientation of the image (reversing gravity);
4) playing with abstraction by assuming pure form and its power of evocation (such as clouds that express what we want to see).
Technical animism
The first idea that came to mind when we encountered Samy Bouard Cart’s work was that of ‘technical animism’, because it literally brings objects to life. It is inspired by Paul Eluard: “There is another world, but it is in this one”. This other world is indeed right in front of us: the gods are in the kitchen. His film Rocca traces the geological evolution of Earth from an animist point of view, considering rocks as living beings, while filming nothing but technical objects in their very mundanity. It is indeed based on his domestic objects that Samy Bouard Cart shows geology, its landscapes and its forces. As he himself states:
“The method adopted is based on the staging of everyday objects that I have at hand (food, plastic waste, household products, decorative elements, sculptures, and even my own body), all of which are used to evoke crystallisation, titanic collisions, large-scale geological phenomena, tectonic movements, earthquakes, volcanic activity, etc.”
If François Dagognet, the philosopher who successfully combined science with art through a certain idea of ‘materiology’, had been alive, he would probably have paid particular attention to Fable of Landscape, which shows the interiority of matter in its very exteriority. If Cart can be called ‘materiologist’ and not materialist, it is because, like Dagognet, he refuses both dualism (which separates the soul and the body) and monism (which confuses them); like Dagognet, he constantly turns things inside out, scrutinising objects as a doctor scrutinises the body: the interiority of a body can never be objectified, except through its external manifestations. What is the interiority of a hotplate? Answer: that moment when it becomes the sun before our eyes. The minimal and the grandiose, the banal and the essential are linked in the moving image.
Technological perspectivism

The first idea that came to us, we said, was that of technical animism. In talking to Samy Bouard Cart, we realised that his work also falls under ‘technological perspectivism’, in the sense that he offers the organic eye the point of view of the mechanical eye or tries to make us see the environment (Umwelt) of the camera itself. For him, the difference between his body and his camera is first and foremost a difference of Umwelt in the sense that the ethologist Jakob von Uexküll understood it, i.e. a difference of space-time or sensory-motor space specific to each living species. It is as if the camera projected its own Umwelt and the artist tried to decipher it. This is the heart of his project: in what sense is it possible to free ourselves from our own vision and to thwart the opposition between the visible and the invisible? In what sense is the perspectivism inherent in image capture technology capable of taking us out of our environment, of transforming it and not just completing it? This is a major philosophical question.

“We have created both instruments of perception and instruments of action which allow each of us, if we are willing to use them, to deepen and widen our environment. But there is no instrument that allows us to get out of our environment.”

Hence, if von Uexküll answered “no” to this question, Cart shows that it is possible to answer in the affirmative. Perhaps one day there will be a society in which a frying pan will be sacred, and its Umwelt will be ours. On that day, I will think of Samy Bouard Cart.