Stéphane Sednaoui: Certainty Not

For Stéphane Sednaoui reflecting on his own work, and what it means to him, has become an ongoing practice helping him to define his artistic identity. An influential photographer and music video director, Sednaoui has become increasingly drawn towards non-commercial, more intimate projects over the years. An excerpt from the latest, Certainty Not, a rendering of his moment-defining collaboration with the Icelandic force of nature, Björk, “Big Time Sensuality,” is published here for the first time.

A year ago Björk proposed me to create a new work based on a music video I directed, Big Time Sensuality, for her MoMA retrospective. The encounter with Björk moved me deeply back in 1993, and since I have never viewed it as a music video, but a representation of a personal moment in my life, I decided to develop on this and explore an alteration of time through the video, as a metaphor for fading sentiments it secretly conceals. The metal particle degradation on one of the original tapes echoed perfectly the state of my memory. I was watching it in complete silence―no music―and the more images faded away on a monitor, the more they tuned in with my emotions. A disappearing image, but still there, still visible behind all this video noise, more spiritual than tangible.

Unexpectedly, organizers changed the exhibition's concept and decided to show the original version of “Big Time Sensuality” instead. I decided to finish this project regardless, as, to me, it expresses something otherwise difficult to put into words.

Stéphane Sednaoui