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Visual artist, art director of the "Studio" at the Maison des Arts et de la Culture in Créteil since 2000, curator of exhibitions included in the "VIA" and "EXIT" festivals, at the Manège in Maubeuge and the MAC, Charles Carcopino is currently working on several events. At an international level he is notably preparing a new exhibition for the OCT Land in Shanghai, sponsored by the French Embassy in China, as part of "Croisement" festival taking place next summer. In France, he is focussing on two events: "La Fabrique Sonore" (sound factory), an exhibition in the cellars of Pommery vineyards, in Reims, open in September 2011 for a 6 months period and, of course, the next "EXIT" festival in March 2012 at the MAC, in Créteil, with a "Digital Vintage" theme.
Pommery Experience was a real challenge for Charles Carcopino, in that he had to open the underground quarries used as cellars by the Pommery vineyards to digital arts. The desire of Pommery to focus on digital arts manifested through the idea of a collaboration between Claire Staebler and myself, to curate this 9th Pommery Experience, he said. Claire Staebler comes from a fine arts background so the idea was to confront two approaches in order to build this exhibition. I think the "Sound factory" theme induces a natural interest in digital matters, unless you completely deny the revolutions that have revolutionized sound creation and diffusion in recent decades! I also think that digital arts today are at a turning point of their young history… They are not so new anymore and will probably end up blending in Art as a whole and no longer remain a marginal category.
With 1.3 km of galleries (out of a total of 18 km) used for the purpose, digital arts have, regardless, forcefully settled in the Champagne area subsoil. The exhibition includes several strong themes, Charles Carcopino continues. The study of the physical phenomenon of sound production, its sculptural dimension, but also the accident that involves the visitor as a potential producer of sounds. This idea has made us want to devote an important place to interactive works. Blue Ray Here, by Pierre Laurent Cassière is a fine example of work created in situ that takes advantage of the fantastic dimensions of the cellars [Editor's note: it is in fact the creation of the sound of a storm that vibrates through the contact between a laser beam and an artificial fog, in a 30m high quarry]. The work uses an old cinematic method of analogue sound playback and presents a piece that is both minimal and spectacular.
Spatial Sounds, Marnix and Edwin’s piece, is also a very strong work that totally toys with the idea of interactivity. Initially, the machine is fully focused on tracking the movement of the public, it scans the space like a radar but then it violently kicks out of its state of enslavement by letting out an intimidating sound blast. However, in this ambulatory and sonic maze, a real technical problem quickly appeared: damp! Charles Carcopino notes that the hydrometric rate in the cellars approaches 95%, which is enormous. Video, computer and electrical equipments are obviously not so keen on water… The place is growing its own vegetation: mosses, fungus, etc., which can be very beautiful but also tricky when it comes to the survival of machines.
However, Charles Carcopino successfully found there some continuity in his work as a curator, especially through the presence of artists he particularly likes, including Félicie D'orves with Gong that presents a new stage in her cosmic audiovisual sculpture, or Ondulation, the aqueous-light contact pool by Thomas McIntosh [The user]. I love this work, Charles Carcopino admits. I wanted it to be part of this selection. It contains one of the most accomplished forms of sound visualization through the dialogue of waves reflecting on light and water. And its spectacular dimension was able to meet the challenge of filling up one of these large quarries!
For Charles Carcopino, the next personal challenge definitely is the EXIT festival 2012, in March. Its Digital Vintage theme could almost jeopardise the too sophisticated, too technological nature of some current digital works/installations, just like some of the works in La Fabrique Sonore did (for example, 8-Bit Kermesse by Bertrand Planes, and its strike of a mallet illuminating a 100 meters long corridor with LEDs).
The EXIT festival is almost 20 years old, said Charles Carcopino. At the time, digital arts were in their infancy and many technological experiments were exploring new artistic territories. Today, technical prowesses are no longer enough. People have even grown kind of tired of this fascination with high tech tools and the speed of evolution of machines. The release of new geeky gadgets or applications can even lead to some degree of exasperation.
As a consequence, from 8 to 18 March EXIT will present a series of installations that mimic the latest technological innovations using tools of the past, just like an ironic and distant look from our ancestors on today’s future. As in previous years, a batch of researching artists will be there. We will put an emphasis on the work of Bernie Lubell, an American artist unknown in France who has developed wonderful interactive installations… made of wood! Charles Carcopino stated. His works and installations are a poetic and humorous look at the advent of technologies through the creation of impressive machines whose objectives remain minimal or even absurd. We are also pleased to welcome Verdenstreatet, a Norwegian company presenting a "performanceinstallation", named And All The Questionmarks Started To Sing, a compositions for machines, between the universes of Tinguely and Jeunet & Caro…
There will be other novelties, such as Win Janssen and Ryota Kuwakubo, revealed by the last Ars Electronica festival …
I am also pleased to invite a few French artists including Pierre Laurent Cassière who I have been continuously working with in the last few months, and Pierre Bastien, who will create an orchestra of automata especially for the festival!
La Fabrique Sonore:
Experience Pommery #9, cellars of the Pommery
vineyards in Reims, until March 30, 2012.
EXIT, from March 8 to March 18, 2012
at the MAC in Créteil.
< www.maccreteil.com >
then at the VIA, in Maubeuge,
from March 22 to April 1st.
< www.lemanege.com >
Published in the Digitalarti Mag #8.
Digitalarti Mag, the international digital art and innovation magazine.
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