Produced in consultation with the Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation and the aboriginal community of Yuendumu in the Northern Territory of Australia, the film ''OttO'' explores the physical, sensory and spiritual impact that certain places can have on those who experience them. Raising the question of what the ''force'' of a place is and supposing that one day, perhaps, this force could be scientifically measured, Laurent Grasso filmed sacred aboriginal sites with thermal and hyperspectral imaging cameras mounted on drones. These sites are connected with ancestral geological formations: monoliths, gorges, salt-water lakes, and hills serve as markers of aboriginal lands. Considered as interfaces between the Ancients and the living, between the world below and the world above, between the past and the present, these sites have been singled out due to their exceptional character. The artist worked with traditional owners, those who have intangible rights to each of the sacred sites and are the story custodians of a unique narrative tradition known as Dreaming. ''OttO'' strives to capture, measure and reveal - as if it were radiation - the intangible force emanating from these places. The utopia of a measurable and quantifiable world is confronted here by what escapes objectification. The scientific imaging produced with thermal cameras allows to develop a fictional story around the invisible and its revelation. The translucent spheres travelling across the sacred landscapes are abstract materializations of secret stories, possible presences and forces that flow from these places. Literally as if metaphorically "charged", the sacred sites are inherently linked to the invisible and to this secret. To see the invisible, you have to be someone initiated. A stranger's vision can only be fictional: the aim of this fiction is to recognize the special nature of these places and suggest through images that invisible yet very real phenomena happen there.
The title of the film, "OttO", stems from this intertwining of fiction, reality, belief and science: it refers to both the traditional owner Otto Jungarrayi Sims,whose silhouette can be seen in the film, and the second name of the German physicist Winfried Otto Schumann, who predicted in the 1950s the existence of electromagnetic frequencies circulating between the Earth's surface and the ionosphere.
- 21st Sydney Biennale. Superposition, Equilibrium & Engagement, Sydney, Australia, 2018l