The theme of ‘The Unknown’ has aroused my curiosity for a very long time. The unknown destination, the unknown soldier, the unknown at this address … All that I actually do not know, cannot name, distinguish or predict. It is this permanent state of interrogation that does not find answers that I seek to tell in this photographic series.
How to say in an image what we do not know?
The project started with images of empty signs that I encountered on the roads of Bosnia and Hungary. Normally informative, these abandoned signs say nothing; they indicate no destination, leaving the traveler that I was dispossessed of information, spectator of the vacuum, rolling towards the unknown. Very quickly, I made a troubling parallel with life on earth, the mortal existence, whose death would be the great unknown, the enigma: the destination of which no mortal can define the exact nature.
Because I wanted to avoid inventory that would have reduced the strength of the subject, other images have enriched it. They all lead the viewer to unfamiliar field, question him and fuel the enigmatic form of the theme.
X is the title I give to this project. The letter X is used in mathematics to designate the unknown. The cross shape of the letter symbolizes the stop, the prohibition (thus the incapacity to know) and especially for many cultures, death.
I made these photographs with the same 24X36 film camera using T-Max 400 over a period of about 1 year in various places in Europe.
All images and text © Pauline Alioua
X, The Unknown
I compiled the photographs of the series in a 4 minute film-photograph, the soundtrack is a sound creation of Awkie and the reading of a text by its author, Adrien Walpole.
By Pauline Alioua
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