there was not much to talk about that day as not much was happening so we just talked about the stain you couldn’t get off your shirt and how putting it in the washing machine only made it worse as if it would stay there forever. still not much to talk about as you moved the camera from the dryer through your apartment and i don’t know in which room you stopped listening to me and started making coffee as i was telling you about the film i started watching last night and finished this morning just before our conversation and i still can’t believe you’ve never seen it because it’s just the best it’s so good i can only think about living inside of it which is impossible for many reasons and not only because it is fiction but mostly because it was made so many years ago that nothing looks like this anymore and it will make me truly sad for days.

 

i then asked you how long you thought i should need to wait before watching the film again but you were making coffee still and i was talking to an empty chair behind your screen so i decided alone to wait for another year because another year should leave me plenty of time to forget enough in order to enjoy it once more yes another year should be enough. until then, i’ll just have to be careful about how dilated my pupils are from all these lights and how lonely my fingers feel on interfaces and how much time i like to spend in the dark rooms of my own mind because of all that sleep all that sleep all that sleep i can’t get and all that time all that time all that time i can’t spend like i wish i could and here you are back sitting on your chair again with the coffee in a cup and your eyes between our distance and i know you feel the same way i do about pupils, fingers and minds because we share many ways of looking at faces, places and spaces trying only to be better image-makers and better images of ourselves.

 

you showed me the painting you made while i was watching the film for once it was a portrait of a young boy and i’m pretty sure i have seen him before among the many faces i come across daily when my hands move through screens when my head instantly forgets but my eyes do not. i now know i have seen him before but i can’t remember his name, i think it starts with a K or a R and ends with a N or an O and his parents chose it because of their favorite character in that show they use to watch when they just met but now they only look at the videos of him they make with small devices capturing moments they estimate worthy to be captured, moments like this one. i have seen him before but i didn’t remember that very second you chose to be still forever so maybe if i try hard enough, maybe if i get closer to his tongue, close enough to count his teeth but still too far to hear him scream, maybe then i can re-imagine the seconds before this and the ones after. because isn’t that what you want me to do, re-imagine?

 

you put the painting down to finish your coffee and here we are again sitting on different sides of the same pixels talking about your images and mine trying to figure out if it’s worth it or should we just let go because after all there might be more and more signs to read but less and less humans to see. so we tell ourselves to think today and finish tomorrow or think today and tomorrow it’s finished or think today and tomorrow it’s done or think today and tomorrow we’re done so today we think and we think about the eye and the I and the eye and the I and we think about all these images we share without even knowing we do and the many invisible ways they connect us to each other. images of children car dogs toys flowers statues carpets shoes, images of singers beaches furniture trees and let me move my camera now, wait, look, see, this is my desk and this is my bed, these are my pillows, my blankets, my mirrors and my smiles. here I am. this is me looking at you looking at me.

 

right then i sensed our conversation was nearly over because you mentioned the documents you would send me in the afternoon so i played along and pushed the red button and later that day opened my mailbox to read about another conversation you had with someone else in which similar subjects were discussed and similar objects were shown. you also sent me new pictures you found in the whirlwind of those generated by the collective public which reflected your current mood that’s why you called them: moodboard. i opened the file but the nerves in my eyeballs were aching so i decided to head to the copy shop to print it all on real paper and i was waiting in line with the right amount of coins in my pocket standing between the entrance door and the woman in front of me who had arrived at the same time but pretended she was here before so we both waited as an older woman was using the machine and trying to photocopy a photograph of the dog that was sitting at her feet which was a small dog with long grey hair falling on the floor, hair almost the same color as the copy machine.

 

the photograph was a portrait of the dog in a park or in a garden in any case it was a portrait of the dog running on green grass on a sunny day and it was probably taken with the woman’s cellphone as she was trying to photocopy it directly from the cellphone itself putting it upside down in the copy machine and i figured that if she didn’t know that this manoeuvre was not going to work she probably didn’t know how to transfer a picture from one device to another. i was imagining her sitting on one knee with the cellphone in her hands just at the right height and angle as she was still struggling with the photocopy process and lost thirty cents before the woman standing between us turned to me with a look in her eyes that means a lot without saying anything. so i did say something and suggested that the reason why the image would not appear on the print was because the lights coming out of the machine cancelled the lights coming out of the cellphone screen and this was the whole concept of photocopying but she just replied that it did not work because the picture on her phone was in color and the copy machine only did black and white and then the in-between woman intervened with the idea that it did not work because her screen was turning dark before the machine operated and i thought about this proposal for a while before returning to my initial conviction that it was all about lights coming out of screens from different directions, but the dog owner kept on trying while accelerating her movements as she was suggested to do so in order for her cellphone screen to stay lit. 

 

the whole process seemed unnecessarily stressful as the three of us looked at the prints of her cellphone coming out with an empty black screen and all the long the dog was looking at its owner looking at its portrait and it probably was trying to tell her that it would be faster to put it directly in the copy machine and get it over with. she eventually gave up and the in-between woman happily started photocopying dessert recipes cut out from a magazine and finally it was my turn so I printed your images and stood there with my hand ready to catch all these different faces coming out of the machine as if they had been in there this whole time. 

think today and finish tomorrow

or think today and tomorrow it’s finished

or think today and tomorrow it’s done

or think today and tomorrow we’re done

text by camille kaiser

exhibited at display

heute denken, morgen fertig

grégory sugnaux

with camille kaiser

and christophe de rohan chabot

june 2020, berlin

photos by chroma