Orange Sanguine, 1993

PAL, sound, colour

Although the videos, Orange sanguine, Loup-Loup and I Love Mikey, are not explicitly described as part of a series, the same process of conception and production inspires them all.
They are jointly signed by Serge Comte and Philippe Dorain, the latter being the tenebrous avatar and mysterious double of the former.
Illustrating Serge Comte's definition of "safe at home", the three films were made in an intimate atmosphere, with amateur means like the cam recorder.
They were made following an identical procedure: filmed from an almost fixed position with a simple and short screenplay and a misty vagueness surrounding the disguised main character.

In an interview with Bernard Joisten for Purple Prose in 1995, Serge Comte clearly explained his intention: " [They] are usually portraits with the tiniest movements of the face. I realised that [with] Orange sanguine I could dream up a spectator who didn't make any attempt to listen, but who was content simply to look at the images in a vague manner, without any concentration. On the other hand, some are conceived as the means to fulfil a desire, an urge. A person needs to posses this video. And, in the same way as he/she decides to sunbathe on the balcony or take a cold drink from the fridge, he/she plays the cassette in the video machine. It's a domestic decision." 1

In Orange sanguine, the view is tightly framed on the upper part of the person's body – a red veil masks the face.
Warm colours dominate, bathed in orange.
His voice is modified electronically, like the procedure used in TV programmes to protect the identity of witnesses.
The tape is put together like a fictional confession. The protagonist recounts a scene of cannibalism: he gives a detailed analysis of how the encounter took place, the mechanisms of seduction and the way the act of cannibalism was committed.
He goes on to recount the feelings that this act gave him and analyses the sensations of pleasure that the victim felt.

This 'confession' is less a religious act than a fascination for the television 'talk-show' format: the mixture of a re-created intimacy and a search for the account of a sensational act (here, cannibalism).
Serge Comte assumes this transgression of a cultural taboo as a cathartic fantasy.
"But I fantasise about these horrors in the same way as a kid coming home from school who wants to "zap" his teacher under the bed-clothes." 2
The violence underlying the act, which only exists in the form of a story, is diminished by the intimate setting, which harks back to a kind of voyeurism, cautioning confidence in its horrific or immoral aspect.
Serge Comte doesn't take sides or offer any moral judgement, nothing seems immoral: all we expect is to see a reflection of the spectacular within range of the understanding of everyone.

In the 1990's, the production of a certain generation of artists (like Joël Bartoloméo, Rebecca Bournigault...) was spurred on by this fascination for the intimate universe – a space of protection, confession and theatre of an exacerbated sentimentality.

Laetitia Rouiller

1. Interview with Bernard Joisten, Purple Prose, number 9, April 1995.
2. Id.