To film daybreak is to take in the inception of the visible. The gradual increase of daylight both unveils the material world and defines its contours. During the video, the image’s constant metamorphosis demonstrates the extreme plasticity of the visible, its infinite ability to appear and to disappear, to give form to and to deform.
Caroline Duchatelet’s gesture is a ritual that is both a welcome and a moment of attention, a quiet ceremony repeated for each new dawn. To choose the place and time, to define the frame, and to let light carry out its work, in silence. What takes place in the image is not exactly an epiphany, or revelation: For the light does not reveal a definitive image; it does not expose a picture. It shapes the constant variations of the perceptible, governing the inherent games of line and color, of surface and depth. Of course, in most of these videos, the play of light does in fact give rise to an image. But the course of video is not determined by an image per se, like some conclusion or final destination. Quite the opposite is true, the reverse of the familiar and stable snapshots we so often see. Indeed, it is a question here of returning to that state of instability preceding composition. Caroline Duchatelet’s daybreaks do not recount the history of an image—they dwell on its prehistory.
excerpt Notes sur trois films de Caroline Duchatelet,