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Report at Scopitone festival, digital art & electronic music festival in Nantes, France
rAndom International @ Carpenters Workshop gallery, Paris
Innovations in Paris: Futur en Seine
Capture, by Gregory Chatonsky, presented in Paris
[Call for project] Borders
Digitalarti Mag #13
[Interview] Peter Weibel, director of ZKM
Ars Electronica Price 2013 : and the winners are...
[agenda] Nancy celebrates Renaissance
A trap made of light : Isotopes by Nonotak Studio
[exhibition] Digital Africa
[Exhibition] Water Light Graffiti @ Stereolux
[Festival] Parizone@dream 2013
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Borrowing journalistic postures they smash formats with humour or with poetry. Playing with oxymoron and manipulating images, they bend and move points of view reclaiming their subjectivity... What are the strategies of these contemporary artists who in gathering up information melt and remap the world?
At the Science PO conference in Paris, Valéry Grancher, a visual artist active in the digital sphere postulated the following: from the time an artist questions a world topic, his efforts are necessarily political. All artistic efforts are political by nature, confirms Lebanese performer Rabih Mroué over the course of two weekend symposia entitled Art, Film, Politics, What Should be Done? at the Pompidou Centre. The artist who positions himself as an activist looses it, he said with his own words: he adresses to an audience as to masses, while art speaks to the individual.
But what about the prefix "geo" invoking the notion of territory?
Kantuta Quiros and Alliocha Imhoff co-founders of The Missing People and organizers of the symposium gave the name Fractured Geographies to a panel involving a new generation of film makers, coming from places that were in “permanent state of war”. With pertinence, humour, lyricism and poetry, the panelists exposed unusual perspectives on conflicts. While pointing to the standardization of media, the french artist Emeric Lhuisset takes on the posture of a territorial journalist, through which he introduces the game: In Kabul, in a tense military zone, he managed a few Russian words in order to convince an Afghan soldier to pose as if in combat with a Kalashnikov in his hands… The difference being that the gun itself was a child’s toy covered with white lace evoking the idea that it is traditional to decorate weapons in that country. A little “bug” that, at its limit, perturbs our pre-formatted image of war relayed by the media.
The Intrusion: Special Effects
Going by the Landscapes of Interference, that make clear reference to the rights given to a nation to infringe — under the pretext of humanitarianism
— upon one sovereign nation or another, the Synesthesie Gallery brings together the two sides of the clichés of Yto Barrada’s The Straits and Michel Séméniako’s Exile, visual and audio installations that are suggestive of paradoxical mental images, such as a tank going through "toile de Jouy" as if going into a child’s bedroom, or one of a comfortable home. With it’s absurd buzzing and playful dimensions, Tank Wall Paper (2009) by Brigitte Zieger, is almost comical while blinding raking the lush wallpaper if not for reminding us of the brutal destruction in the orange groves from Jaffa to Gaza. From the same artist, a B52 shadow hovers over the lush and tranquil countryside acting as an oxymoron revealing the violent beauty of a peaceful landscape under the summer sun:The Shadow (2010).
Rather than referring to geopolitics in politician’s terms, it’s the notion of "psychogeography — the study of the psychological relationship between people and their territory — that is of interest to Valéry Grancher. Invited in 2005 to the Amazon by the Shiwiars Indians—a people conscious of the globality of the world that surrounds them providing the specificity of their culture that they claim like a political argument—the artist filmed a fixed 12 hours sequence in the centre of their village, and broadcasted the film with the same temporality in Paris’ Palais de Tokyo. By transferring the media attention of a western art center to a population oppressed by energy lobbies, Valéry Grancher also shows us another way of living together, chosen by a people who are far from primitive, of how not only to integrate high tech tools at our disposal but to know how to use them against aggressors. Giving sight and sound to an invisible part of the world, he says, I take us back to the very limits of our realities.
Scenarios of Anticipation
In their audiovisual piece Cyclone Kingcrab and Piper Sygma, the audio stories of Cédric Pigot and Magli Daniaux, announced like a Face-book event struck in a flood of economic data, market fluctuations and ecological observations, a streamed view of Kirkenes, a small Norwegian port in the Barents Sea. As the count-down of world loss accelerates, the surreal poetry and tales of anticipation strike the image of ecstatic virgin nature, a future hotspot of sea lanes in the oil rush as the polar ice caps melt.
Focused on the strategic region for a few years now, the Russian visual artist Olga Kisseleva conceived, with the help of economists and political scientists from the Sorbonne, an auto-generated map of the Arctic, Arctic Conquistadors, where Exxon Mobil, Shell, Esso or Total logos are superimposed according to their new production sites, till they explose the boundaries of the map. The artist responds to the question, What’s the Arctic’s identity today? seen overshadowed by the tensions related to the economic interests of converged multinationals and even countries that seem to favour the globalization movement at the root of current political conflicts.
The artist Maurice Benayoun uses the term “critical fusion” which he defines as the pivot of political work, an immersive practice wherein virtual reality devices attempt to enter the human body through fiction (i.e. World Skin) as more recent works like The Mechanic of emotions, tried to inject fiction into the principles of reality. To interpret the flow, convert it to a way of reading the world intelligibly, he says, is to refer to a global body who’s internet is our nervous system!
In other words, reflecting on the emotional state of the world by drawing predictions and commenting on them as if commenting on the stock market or on the weather report (i.e eforecast) is actually placing the "human being/feelings" in the centre of a game focused on economic and financial transaction. It questions the fragility of our system of values!
Critical fusion, whose second term refers both to the notion of explosion as it does to mass, is a practice used by the Critical Art Ensemble, the Yes Men and other tacticians whose job is to create, in a given context, the scenarios relayed by media to sensitize an audience. The borders of both art and activism are at once tenuous and porous; each possesses its own tactics for opening debate and raising consciousness, for as long as there are people inspired and creative enough to suggest alternative ways of reading the world and drawing new paradigms.
Published in the Digitalarti Mag #6.
Digitalarti Mag, the international digital art and innovation magazine.
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