Clara films her solitary everyday life working in a photographer’s studio in the Hamptons, near New York. In this lakeside house, she discovers on the video surveillance recordings the presence of a man who comes to watch her through the windows at nightfall. With her sole companion, Clarita, the photographer’s dog, she faces her solitude and this shadowy presence.
Suddenly, the imprecision of a surveillance camera’s blurred image takes on the mysterious depth of a dream. Clara is working for Thomas, a well-known photographer based in a house in the Hamptons (Long Island, N.Y.). On her work days, she cleans up imperfections on the photos, scans, gets the prints out and films herself. On the roof of Thomas’ house, another camera indiscriminately records presences in the vicinity. Scrutinising these surveillance images as minutely as she examines the photos she works on, the filmmaker notices that a man comes at night to spy on her through the window while she is sleeping. Although hazy, his silhouette impregnates the film to the point of obsession, pulling the home-movie in the direction of a real suspense film whose every movement becomes filled with strangeness. Even the dog, Clara’s sole and reassuring companion, lets out unexpected growls in the latency of the evening. The images close in on Clara without offering the slightest clarification. As Muhammad Ali emerges from Thomas’ negatives, sporting his fists like some protective icon, the defenceless images show a Hamptons teeming with more threatening ghosts. They offer few answers – the voyeur is no more than a cloud of pixels, a presence to be accommodated. The filmmaker confronts these night visions, whose echoes recall too often-heard stories, and finds the strength to remain in troubled waters.
Clara Claus (born 1985) is a French multidisciplinary artist. After living for many years in New York, where she studied fine arts at the Cooper Union school, she now lives and works between Paris and Banyuls-sur-Mer, where she was born, in the south of France. Through painting, drawing, video and performance, Clara Claus’s projects touch on memory, traces, the invisible. She has exhibited her works in venues including New York, Los Angeles and Barcelona. She has been in residency at Pioneer Works (Brooklyn), Espronceda (Barcelona) and currently at the Rivesaltes Memorial Camp.