The following presentation was drafted for the Oulipo Compendium,
Atlas Press, London, 1998

The Ouphopo (Ouvroir de Photographie Potentielle, or Workshop for Potential Photography) was founded in 1995 and is a registered non-profit-making association whose legally declared ambition is: “to promote the ’Pataphysics of photography through publications, exhibitions or any other means of communication in existence or yet to be invented, in France as abroad, without its activities bearing the slightest lucrative character. The field of research specific to the Ouvroir is photography by constraints.” (Journal Officiel.)

Some group projects underway

            1° An anthology of photos of words;

2° “1014 Faces”, a photo-fit of human facial expressions;

            3° The conversion of household objects into camerae obscurae.

            4° The creation of a photographic labyrinth on the web.

Some individual projects underway

Paul and Catherine Day: 1° “Eye-reliefs”, creation of large globular clay base-relief and high-relief sculptures recreating in 3-D famous photos as they would have appeared on the back of the eye of the photographer.

2° “Photo-base-relief”, research in collaboration with Dijon chemists on compounds that expand along a single axis on contact with light in order to manufacture light-sensitive clay surface that produces a low base-relief when left in a camera obscura. Advantages: complete reversal of modernist principals of sculpture (“truth to the material”, etc.) producing subjects never before rendered in clay (running water, clouds, the blur of speed, etc.). Disadvantages: the standard “negative” size having been fixed at 600 mm by 800 mm, the “negative”, to withstand buckling, will weigh in at 120 kg (the village mule will need requisitioning); fixing the image requires heating the “negative” to 1000° for long hours (actually, this is not a problem at all if you have a kiln); the result is a direct positive, so further prints require a plaster of Paris mould (not a problem either).

Gersan Moguérou: “Onomometric co-ordinate portraits”, the computer program that morphs faces according to the relative position in the alphabet of the letters of your first and second names (plotted along the x and y axes) was completed a few years ago following guide lines laid down by Stanley Chapman. The program is being perfected. An instruction book that explains how the resulting image can be used to explain character is being written by Stanley Chapman.

GILA: Many projects underway: converting unexpected objects into pin-hole cameras (show-room dummies, cars, oil barrels, an upper-storey bedroom…) and leaving them in public places for the day (e.g. “36 hours at my dentist’s”); research into the fundamentals of stereoscopy (anamorphic, panoramic, imbricated, combinational, contradictory, 60 m eye-distance…).

Marcel TROULAY: is currently sorting out his archive of 45 years of “found” pataphysical photos and conscious pataphysical experiments sent to him by Emmanuel Peillet and other members of the College of ’Pataphysics.

Paul EDWARDS: Currently working on: an annotated bilingual anthology of photo-literary texts; an illustrated history and bibliography of photo-literature; a deck of photographic tarot cards to illustrate the novel Mademoiselle de Phocas (Naomi, 2003).