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published on 05.08.2021

Alexandre Humbert. Questioning the object in images

A graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE), this 31-year-old Frenchman has chosen to position himself on the other side of the mirror, providing his perspective to museums, collectives and institutions. A meeting with a director who questions design with poetry and goodwill.

Alexandre Humbert is the director of "The Object Becomes", the Belgium is Design film launched during Milan Design week 2021.

What led you towards becoming a director?

During my Master’s programme at DAE, I started to get interested in the scripting of an object and its interaction with time and space. When I made my first film, I was a complete novice. But despite my lack of knowledge of the profession, this new status as a composer of images allowed me to better understand the medium. I then worked for a year in an advertising agency, which enabled me to construct my vision and familiarise myself with teamwork. At the same time, I was also studying film theory. Then, in 2016, building on my different experiences, I founded my own studio. Today, I see myself as a builder of cinematographic objects. The object is not the end. On the contrary, it is the start of the narrative.

Your ‘Object Interview’ documentary series is a vast reflection on design. What do you think is the fundamental question a designer should ask themself?

I designed my last chair in 2012 ... I think it is important to question the need to produce new objects. I am interested in putting what already exists in perspective. When I film a Thonet chair, I want to place it in a current context, then question its relevance today.

Even when you are filming the behind-the-scenes of the move of the Ghent Design Museum collection to a new archival location, your perspective is often quirky, but also very poetic. Is it important to show what’s happening behind the curtain?

When I walk into a museum, my main feeling is admiration. Immersing yourself in the history of design is both fascinating and dizzying. I use poetry or humour in order to reach as many people as possible. And even when my tone is sarcastic, I try to infuse my remarks with optimism.

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Alexandre Humbert - filmography :

- Cinematographic Objects

-The Unchosen, 2018, 11min

-Object Interview, 2017-2019, 19 1min films  

-Sleeping Beauties, 2019, 6min

-Les Impatients, 2020, 11min

"For this project, I am working in tandem with curator Giovanna Massoni, on the question of the fate of the object. To reflect on the design of today and tomorrow, we have selected nine Belgian designers with very different profiles: from the craftsman to the independent designer, and even including a more industrial structure. I am not so much interested in the object within the work of these designers, but rather the relevance of the research. This work interests me because it goes beyond the context of the film. Once again, we wanted to reflect on its presentation in space and the installation that will result from it." 

Belgium is Design - The Object becomes film

A project by Belgium is Design
The Object Becomes, 2021
A film by Alexandre Humbert
Production Curator - Giovanna Massoni
Original Music - Arnaud Pujol
Duration 30 min