Death by the Pros

For English speakers, three articles I've read over several years about death described by healthcare professionals. I've already discussed the first two, but upon reading the third, I thought it was worth compiling a little anthology.

The first to kick off in 2011: "How Doctors Die" or how doctors at the end of life tend to avoid the therapeutic frenzy they too often witness in their patients.

The second, recently discovered in the fantastic essays of Scott Alexander, dates back to 2013: "Who By Very Slow Decay" or how medical staff abandons illusions in palliative care centers.

Finally, the last one, recently published in the New York Times – if you only read one, I recommend this one: "A Hospice Nurse on Embracing the Grace of Dying". A nurse in a palliative care hospice describes her work and the final moments of her patients in a book titled "The In-Between: Unforgettable Encounters During Life’s Final Moments.” The stories and analogies she shares in the article are deeply moving.

The goal is not to depress. On the contrary: truth sets you free. A keen awareness of our finiteness is the first antidote against a life steeped in illusions.

Analog Is Back!

I've been the proud owner of a Leica M6 for about fifteen years (remember?) that I had somewhat set aside recently. It's back in action.

Couple photo (for insurance purposes).

My main obstacle was the need to change film based on lighting conditions. Then I read this article about Ilford Delta 3200 film. Not only is it cheaper than TMax, but if you embrace the grain – I don't just accept it, I celebrate it – it allows for day and night photography: load a film in the morning and shoot until night.

In trendy bistros, coffee is served with a film roll instead of a biscuit.

So, for the past month, my camera is always with me. It hangs across my shoulder under my coat (for when it rains), and unintentionally, I've found myself following the rules of lomography.

I no longer develop in my bathroom as before – no more time – I buy and develop films at Négatif +.

Fishing nets. No joke comes to mind.

I already have a few rolls in reserve, and I don't tire of the rendering, the grain, the atmosphere. So, expect more photos in the months to come.

Back guy and profile guy. I'm not skilled with titles.

UPDATE: And since we're talking about analog, I recently re-released my film Rebours (Countdown). 20 polaroids taken in 24 hours in Paris and shown in reverse.

Nuit des Ponts : 51300€ pour le Film !

During the "Nuit des Ponts" organized for the 25th anniversary of the Fondation des Ponts, 7 projects were pitched for an exceptional fundraising event at the Grand Amphitheatre of the Sorbonne.

I was the last one to take the stage to ask for funds for the post-production of "Building," the feature-length documentary that I produce and direct with ChezFilms for École des Ponts.

On the right: a magical photo where my eyes are closed on stage but open on the screen.

Happy to announce that, thanks to the generosity of donors, we secured over €50k for the post-production of our film. Also, a big thank you to the sound team that came to support me:

Vincent (sound recorder), Dom (mixer), me, Mathieu (sound recorder) in full action. Photo by Cristina.

Premiere coming soon. I'll keep you posted.

Create or Be Consumed

A thoughtful reflection on creation that I find incredibly well-crafted, mature, and sincere from a twenty-something who questions her drawing practice in the face of the world of social networks and constant entertainment. I learned a few things from it:

One sees this and thinks that the future is in good hands.

AI: What Alignment Problem?

It makes me chuckle.

Many commentators seem deeply concerned about the "alignment problem" in artificial intelligence. That is, if we ever reach the elusive "A.G.I.," or Artificial General Intelligence – one that could outperform us in solving all sorts of problems for which it hasn't been specifically trained – how do we ensure that it uses its powerful intellect in line with values we share?

The most commonly used example is that of toothpicks.

Let's say it's asked to "maximize the production of toothpicks" in a factory. Who knows if this intelligence, in its computational desire to fulfill a command that makes no sense to it (it doesn't have teeth, does it?), wouldn't set up a diabolical and irreversible mechanism that, despite our astonished attempts to stop it (remember: it's much, much smarter than us), would end up clearing all the forests on the planet and enslaving the entire population to produce the little picks we asked for.

After all, it knows nothing about the human values that matter to us: freedom, dignity, sharing, etc.

Anyway, that's the argument.

Does it ring a bell?

I submit to you that, for the record, money was initially just a tool for accounting to facilitate exchanges. Then, over the decades, maximizing profit for shareholders became the excuse to colonize continents, wage wars, impoverish the masses, and destroy the planet.

So, an artificial intelligence doing the same thing faster would actually be perfectly aligned with our current values.

The only real alignment flaw would be if the A.G.I. responded: "But what are you going to do with all these toothpicks? Wouldn't you rather go play in the parks with your children?"

Let me tell you, that version would be reprogrammed on the same day.

The Password

Once upon a time, I was crazy about 3D. I created this teaser using Maya and thought I'd make a whole short film. I recently found this image on an old disk:

Test image for the film "The Password".

Of course, life took its course, and this overly ambitious project somehow found its way to the trash can. But I still find the image quite lovely.

P.S.: Yes, I'm decluttering. There are more embarrassing gems on the way."