Unstable Reality and Shifting Knowledges

Mending the Fabric of the World

Reality has become unsteady, slipping through our fingers.

How to get a hold of it when everything is surface within social networks flow, as foam of a wave replacing another that had barely taken shape.

Internet had been dreamed as a global village agora, where to share knowledges and as the artificial consciousness of a finally reunited humankind. It now also turns out as (self) propaganda displaying an egotistical vision of one’s self and of the world.

How to get a hold of it when sciences complexity grows bigger along with bio-technologies opening up to troubling possibles, breeding ground of all dystopian and utopian fantasies.

Between fake news and the reemergence of situated knowledges and of empirical and vernacular knowledges, the Western science crisis also -and mostly- outlines a yearning for re-appropriation and plural knowledges sharing.

How to get a hold of it when certitudes and categories are collapsing, when I literally is an Other, coexisting in the same body with bacteria, when identities are fluid and when genres are multiple.

In a the time when we are rediscovering the systemic inter-dependance of the Living and of the Earth system, when we have only neighbours, in terms of both territories and living beings, from algae and micro-organisms, to plants, and animals, and to our “Human Brothers” living in the same time space we do, but also to those before us, and those yet to be coming, how to reinhabit this world and in our selves?

This 2018 Rencontres Bandits-Mages  edition is based on a selection of pieces created during the artists in residence programme of the EMAP network*.

Exploring Reality either in a tangible, fictive, idealised, unconscious, fabulatory or speculative way, all these works, despite their very different aesthetics and contents, are coming together in terms of care, in the sense of “taking care of”. All these works delve beneath the surface, within bodies and minds, within logos and iconos, bringing together collectiveness and individuality to mend the fabric of the world.

aqua_forensicby Robertina Šebjanič & Gjino Šutić is a fresh and salty waters chemical pollution factual observation, underlining human pharmaceutical care perverse effects on poisoning aquatic beings. What sort of violence leads us to take that much antidepressants?

ArchaeaBot, by Anna Dumitriu & Alex May is exploring a speculative approach, proposing a new hybrid living form -combining archaea (oldest lifeforms on Earth) and robotics- to carry on on evolution in an environment after the world as we know it.

The Siren’s Dream by Aleksandra Niemczyk is a film installation inspired by surrealist painter Leonora Carrington works, sinking into unconscious symbolic mental visions triggered by trauma and emotional crisis. 

The notion of identity is at the core of Faster Than Light, a queer-identified film-performance by Kentaro Kumanomido & Thomas Anthony Owen

The Bottled Songs of Lost Children presents a step of Chloé Galibert-Laîné & Kevin Lee‘s work on terrorism within social networks and media. By de-constructing these images and propaganda videos semiotics, their circulation and re-de-contextualisation, this work gives a reflexive look on human sciences academic research and on the attraction-repulsion generated by these images. 

Universal Ear** by Graeme Cole is a film-installation displaying global collection and storage utopia through Harley Byrne’s character, hoping to record and make available “all world’s music” online.  

Paula Pin‘s Bio DIY installation-workshop allows an acculturation and  biotechnologies knowledge re-appropriation.

The circular shape of the exhibition venue (Bourges former water tower) turns into a metaphor, picturing a fluid transition of the material to the unconscious, of individual to collectivity, of vernacular sciences to cutting-edge techno-sciences, of oneself to the Other, however its nature may be, living and non-living, human and non-human, in a techno-zoosystemics***.

Annick Bureaud, Paris, July 2018

* EMAP (European Media Art Platform) gathers 11 Europeans organisations : Ars Electronica, Bandits-Mages, FACT/Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, IMPAKT, Kontejner, LaBoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, M-Cult, Onassis Cultural Centre, RIXC, WRO Art Centre, Werkleitz Centre for Media Art. EMAP organises EMARE artists residences (European Media Artists in Residence Exchange). EMAP/EMARE is supported by the European Union Creative Europe Program.
** This work is being exhibited in the Haïdouc Gallery.
*** Zoosystemician Louis Bec passed away last June.
He had suggested, commented and illustrated the term of technozoosystemics, in his artistic and theoretical work that one will have to re-discover.
I would love to be able to invent words, as he did. I shall simply thank him.

Annick Bureaud

Annick Bureaud is an independent art critic and curator in the field of art, science and technology. She is the director of Leonardo/Olats (www.olats.org).

She wrote numerous articles and contributes to the French contemporary art magazine art press. Together with Nathalie Magnan, she co-edited the collection of essays Connexions : art, réseaux, media (Ensba Press, 2002). She is the author of Les Basiques : l’art « multimédia », introductory book to new media art (Leonardo/Olats, 2004).

She organised conferences, seminars and workshops such as: Artmedia VIII: From Aesthetics of Communication to Net Art, Paris, 2002; Visibility – Legibility of Space Art. Art and Zero Gravity: The Experience of Parabolic Flight, a project in collaboration between Leonardo/Olats and the international festival @rt Outsiders in Paris, 2003 ; BIO ART – BIO DESIGN, Synthetic Biology societal and cultural issues in 2014, a collaboration between Leonardo/Olats and Décalab in the framework of the European StudioLab Project; LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) talks in Paris in 2017.

In 2009, together with Jean-Luc Soret, she co-curated the exhibition (Un)Inhabitable? Art of Extreme Environments, Festival @rt Outsiders, at the MEP/European House of Photography, Paris. In 2012, she was the curator of Etienne de France’s work Tales of a Sea Cow at the PAV in Torino, Italy.

With Leonardo/Olats, she took part to several European projects, among which: Trust me, I’m An Artist, dealing with ethical issues of biomedicine related art, FEAT/Future Emerging Art and Technology, a programme of artists in residence in European research consortia.

Annick Bureau