Invisible: an artistic and scientific research project
A photographic performance for a unique record
Nicolas Floc’h, using the visual devices of the great landscape photographers, is developing a photographic, artistic, scientific performance, to record the condition of the underwater landscapes of the Calanques National Park in the early 21st century. Thus, between 2018 and 2020, he covered the 162 km of coastline and islands of the National Park and took 30,000 photos (one image every 6 metres), mainly by free diving.
This is a unique record that will allow scientists and managers of the National Park to document in 10, 20, 30 years the evolution of our underwater landscapes: it is above all a work that connects us to this invisible landscape! 50 original prints, 30x42cm, are displayed across the park, and like evidence, these landscapes, so close to us, taken with a wide angle in natural light, printed in black and white, show the sea such as it offers itself to the eye, immersing us in its depths to abstraction.
About the artist
Nicolas Floc’h (born in1970 in Rennes) invests in many artistic fields. His installations, photographs, sculptures and performances question an era of transition in which flux, disappearance and regeneration play an essential role.
His long-term projects, nourished by apprenticeships, seas, encounters and scientific research, give rise to open-ended works, anchored in reality, where collaborative and evolving processes take pride of place. Since 2010, his work, centred on the representation of habitats and the underwater environment, has given rise to a documentary photographic production linked to global changes and to the definition of the notion of the underwater landscape, "thus generating new representations, new imaginations".
Find out more: www.nicolasfloch.net
From residency to public commission
Invisible is a winning project from the residency programme "Les Calanques, territoire de sciences, source d’inspiration", launched in 2018 by the Calanques National Park, Fondation Camargo and the Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers – Institut Pythéas (Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, IRD), who invited artists to reflect on the connection between Humans and Nature in the unique context of Europe's first national park in a port metropolis.
In 2019, the project received the support of the French Ministry of Culture in the form of a public commission to the artist Nicolas Floc'h on the underwater landscapes of the Mediterranean. This was the first public artistic commission dedicated to the underwater world and the first one carried by a French national park. This commission includes the artistic performance, the complete photographic background for scientific use, 300 digital images usable by the National Park and its partners, 50 small original prints displayed in structures for the public in the National Park's communes and a publication (Roma Publications).
From 25 September 2020 to 25 April 2021, Nicolas Floc’h presented a selection of his work made in the Calanques National Park in an exhibition that took place at FRAC PACA.
Continuing the artist's work
In parallel with this project, the Calanques National Park is implementing the first underwater landscape action plan, an innovation in environmental planning, which allows local decision-makers and key players to take ownership of the management of their underwater space in order to conserve and restore the landscapes.
"In order to stop the deterioration of marine habitats, still happening in the area due in particular to the proximity of the city, and so that the population can take ownership of this landscape, which is difficult to access, this commission is a way of making it visible and raising public awareness of the issues at stake", explains François Bland, Director of the Calanques National Park.