Sylvain Couzinet-Jacques

Retcon Black Mountain

Retcon Black Mountain is an audiovisual research that revisits the photographic and textual records of the renowned Black Mountain College. It is based on previously unreleased documents such as board reports, photographs, and memoirs and narratives from those who studied there. Using AI, these documents are analyzed and reinterpreted in order to produce related fictions. This archive research will lead to the creation of contemporary simulations, which will serve as a matrix for documentary work with communities from towns near the campuses of Black Mountain College and abroad.

Questions of utopia and collective action are core to this work, as are the influence of virtuality on individual and collective identities. How can digital technology for prediction and analytics tie into the construction of complex narrative arcs that revisit history classes and, by extension, our current reality? What forms emerge from this when records are updated, modified, and placed into the complex global issues of the 21st century? How can deep learning technology be used to reconstruct and carry on the projects of collective utopias from the distant past? What are the communities, utopias, and identities of the present day?

Retcon Black Mountain received the support of the Institut pour la Photographie des Hauts-de-France, Centre National des Arts Plastiques and Villa Albertine in 2023-24.