The Raft is an optical journey on the canals of The Hague’s neighbourhood of Moerwijk, which captures the regenerative effect of bodies of water on the onlooker. Alexis Bellavance’s video camera guides the viewer’s eye in an exploration of the interface between oscillatory wave phenomena and the cityscape of the periphery. The result is a canvas in which the constructed landscape becomes fluid as sound, a material that Bellavance edits compositionally into a form of visual music. The work takes inspiration from Homer’s Odyssey, referring to the vision of Ulysses on his arrival in the archipelago of the Phaeacians: Scheria, a mysterious land, a parallel and unknown world, which could only be reached in dreams. It connects this myth to the artist's own visual impairment, which requires Bellavance to wear special lenses in his daily life. In The Raft the water surface becomes an alternative lens to connect to reality.
Bellavance is a multidisciplinary artist. His work is often based on physical phenomena such as optics, gravity, and atmospheric pressure. He approaches these phenomena as a base which he uses to create immersive environments where the viewer’s conceptual gaze wanders around time, echoes, cycles, and empirical accumulations. From the infinitely large to the unfathomably small, he grounds his research on scientific concepts that challenge him. Based on these ideas, he leads spectators to reflect on their physical presence, so that their movements and positions in space have a direct influence on the form of the piece.