aurélien grèzes



. Times Square
. Boston

. Philadelphia

. Paris

. New-York

. On "Standing"

in between




11 35

3 words

the chosen



On Standing


Standing’s filming concept is simple: I ask people to stand at a place of my choosing; then, I disappear.
They do not know where I am hidden. I do not cast participants: everyone is welcome. They come as they are
and this is how I want to film them (they do not play a character).
I do not give them any particular instructions, other than to stand in place during the filming.

I am interested in what this generic situation produces: being at a certain place, at a certain moment.
From one person to another, none of these “performances” is the same. Nuances are minimal, so the viewer is drawn to the details. I am using the video camera as magnifying glass to reveal micro events and gestures that go unnoticed in reality. As time passes, we observe how they behave, how their bodies and gazes move, how they stand. Roaming around, their respective gazes or stares carry an intriguing meaning. Are they looking for me?
Are they pretending to wait for someone else? They are waiting, but simply for the end of the filming.
Sometimes, they feel uncomfortable; other times, they do not.
They may imagine - wrongly, usually - that people around them notice the filming. Passing through the frame as they walk around, “extras” are not aware of the filming. Interactions with the “performers” happen though glances or grazing, ephemeral encounters between reality and “fiction”.


STANDING in Times Square, NY (2020)


Scouting for locations, I look for places where participants will be surrounded by the crowd but slightly detached from it. A crowded location helps them to forget the camera, as they are distracted by the people around.
I try to “catch” moments when they are lost in their thoughts. After the sudden and ephemeral moment of “awaking”, they “reconnect” to the space they inhabit and people surrounding them. I like these back and forth between the inner and the outer worlds.

A filming rarely lasts more than 20 minutes. It can be shorter, depending on what happens before the camera. Duration is also based on my capacity. In order to hide, I put myself in uncomfortable positions: straight body, arm extended. During the filming I can’t move: I don’t want the participant to see me. I must stay hidden
and keep the camera, directed toward the participant, as static as possible. Time increases my discomfort and,
my hand trembling, unwanted camera movements happen.
The impact of the passage of time on each participant is difficult to predict. I especially like the first seconds of the filming, when the participant is discovering the situation and “diving” into it. However, I must be patient.
The best moments can happen towards the end of the shoot; despite my shaking hand, I cannot stop filming. Taking a break incurs the risk of losing beautiful moments. As I rely on uninterrupted long shots, the filming looks like a countdown before I have to stop.


STANDING in Times Square, NY (2020)


My intention is to generate and enhance the tension between participants’ awareness of being filmed and the fact - the illusion? - that they seem to forget themselves. How does the spectator react to this ambiguity? How does this tension shape, in turn, the spectator’s presence?

As spectators of the video, we watch people who watch people. Across the screen, duration has various and opposite effects: attraction, lassitude, nervousness, stillness, etc. Sometimes the participant’s gaze seems penetrable: his gaze absorbs the spectator’s. Or, uncomfortable in the situation, their faces close, avoiding eye contact with passers-by, “rejecting” the spectator.

I see the participant’s gaze as a reflective surface, a mirror of the spectator’s presence in front of the screen.
Standing is a conversation between the viewer and the viewed. While the spectator’s gaze is “directed” by the participant appearing on the screen, the participants, despite the hidden camera, offers a performance to invisible and imaginary spectators who will see the show.

Aurélien Grèzes.
Brooklyn, NY. April 2020


Screening of STANDING at the Queens museum, NY (2015)