- c-prints (series of 10/5)
- W 100cm x H 125cm each
This project consists of a series of portraits for which participants were asked to estimate the length of a meter. Methods of measurement form an integral part of trade transactions, which in turn represent an elemental form of human interaction and social behaviour.
When considering systems of quantification, revolutionary France stands as a key historical instance, illustrating ideological and practical implications of systems that are still in use today.
The French Revolution is widely considered as the inauguration of the ‘modern era’ and the ‘modern nation state.’ This is partly due to the French National Assembly’s efforts to implement standardization across that nation. This endeavor included the development of the meter, the kilo and the liter — measurements free of any imperial connotations, based on purely ‘scientific’ premises. Once established, these standards allowed trade to flourish within the state’s borders and thus increased its economic authority. This type of standardization prefigures the strategies that are now summarized under the term ‘globalization.’
Participants in this project are based in France but were otherwise randomly selected and photographed in front of a neutral, seamless white background, devoid of any personal information.
All images in Photographie Métrique are scaled consistently, preserving differences in the gesturally estimated size of the meter. The hand, and its gesture, is revealed as the site were individual imagination and an assumedly shared value — such as the meter — are negotiated. The differences between each person’s estimate of the meter question the validity of any standard as a truly shared notion.