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Algues Maudites, a Sea of Tears

Alice Pallot

Area Books

Publication date : 2023/05/01
Weight 310 g / Dimensions 16 x 24 cm
ISBN 9782493509086

“In this sense the works of Alice Pallot are emblematic of a sensibility that has inherited a broad conceptualist principle: to elevate the process of creation to the rank of narrative expression, not hesitating to craft a kind of wonder from what is made visible. These components necessary for the making of a contemporary fable—adventure and discovery undertaken in uncharted territory—recall that primitive form of science fiction referred to in 19th century literature as ‘scientific wonder.’ This conjectural literature made it possible to portray dystopian worlds, tales of anticipation in which ideas of the future were haunted by specters of the past: an aesthetics of consumption, where humankind advanced in the intranquility and exhaustion of its own species.”
Michel Poivert

The proliferation of green algae on the coasts of Brittany has become a major environmental issue. For many years now these “algues maudites” have invaded the coastline. Alice Pallot integrates the notion of anticipation into the photographic medium by capturing a natural phenomenon: the reality of anoxic environments, in which we could not survive as human beings and by imbuing them with a science-fictional imagination. By playing on the elements of uncertainty that accompany the anticipation of a near future, it gives the viewer the keys to reading to invest in the essential questioning of the preservation of ecosystems in the face of its exploitation and the imminent decline of biodiversity. The project Algues Maudites, a Sea of Tears, is part of Alice Pallot’s research exploring both the fragility and the resilience of the natural world. An unsuspected life-form becomes the principal subject of an ecosystem in the shadows. 

A powerful text by Michel Poivert accompanies the anticipation images of Alice Pallot. He takes the voice of an AI in 2056 and describes an ecosophical fable in the future. Here is an excerpt : “One vector of this regeneration of photography has been the deepened interest in representations of the living aroused by the ravaged world of the Anthropocene. Embryonic theories have spoken of ‘biophoto’ or ‘living photography,’ implementing hybridizations between bacteria and photographic emulsion and observing the phenomena of bio-constructed representations. These representations were considered concretely universal due to the radical decentering affected by this ‘deanthropization.’ Alice Pallot’s work, and particularly Algues Maudites, a Sea of Tears—an analysis of the phenomenon of the eutrophication of marine coasts—achieved wide notoriety in the early 2020s. The non-consensual fertilization of marine waters and the proliferation of ‘ulva’ was the starting point for a militant research that sought to denounce practices born of overconsumption and pollution. A paradox is at work: this disruption of the natural biome results in the proliferation of vegetation, which under other circumstances is often considered desirable, as with reforestation efforts. This ‘green dialectic’ has been the subject of much debate.”

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