To make a photograph, you need a specific apparatus. The most obvious would be a camera. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to consider the camera as a mere tool that works strictly according to the intentions and desires of the photographer. Nobody, not even the operator, knows exactly what is going on inside the box after the button has been pressed. This question seems to haunt the work of Calixte Poncelet. Instead of aiming his camera at the world, he scrutinizes the photographic recording device itself. In Useless Gesture, GX680, a series of 90 images, he slowly moves around a camera, capturing it from all sides as though it were a treacherous thing that needs to be closely observed. Offscreen Interaction, GX680, is a photograph of one camera observing another one: the watcher being watched. But a third camera is also present, the one that took the picture we’re looking at now, acting as the silent observer of the two other cameras. Throughout these and other works, the camera appears as a wild, ferocious animal, as the prowling predatory system that Vilèm Flusser conjures up in his book Towards a Philosophy of Photography. Mimicry, a 9-minute-long video, reinforces this idea of the camera as hunter. As we stand in front of it, we look straight through the lens into its entrails. Now and then, the shutter is released, creating a bright red circle of light. The camera is transformed into an eerie Hal 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey) lookalike. Like that computer gone rogue, the camera tells us that we humans have no business here.
Text by Eveline Vanfraussen