paradigm shift

Coordinator: Jean Delsaux

For french philosopher Gilbert Simondon (“Du mode d’existence des objets techniques”, “About the mode of existence of technical objects”), the magical way of thinking of prehistorical cultures splitted into two systems of thought : religion and technique. Philosophy was later on withdrawn from religion and Science from technique. He adds that Aesthetic appeared at the very place of this separation.

We can actually consider that Science is sometimes a generalization of technical experiments, would it be afterward the condition of technical developments. So the relationship between technique, engineering and science is yet not that obvious, not that totally coherent. Since technique becomes technology, it is structured as a language, informatics itself is a language, so is it still a technique or yet a science?

Techno-sciences, cybernetics already have an history, one speaks about second cybernetics, situated robotics with Rodney Brooks who, rejecting the idea of a central computing unit, showed that intelligent behaviors could emerge from cooperation between simple and independent systems.

Art itself has a complex relationship with science and technique, which is not due to the same reasons in both cases. Art is as well experimental and speculative, within its own practice and theory.

So I would like to discuss the relationship of art, its links, rather with experimentation, technique and science, philosophy, than stand to the usual dichotomy Art/ Science, technique being a mere tool, related to Science and Design being an application of art.

Perception, technologies, interaction.

Technologies themselves refer more and more to humanities and we come across this assertion concerning cognitive sciences within their relations to technology, to the augmented organism : cognitive sciences teach us that it’s with our moving body that we create and integrate the space around us, that we determine, spot and perceive it. Technologies modify this coupling between our body and its environment.

Cognitive science study perception thanks to neuro-imagery, artists are perception practitioners. Artists also organize images as results of these experiments in perception, which is not to be confused with simple sensations, passive reception of stimuli.

They elaborate these images not in order to duplicate the world nor visualize their dreams, but to try and understand the world around them, the relation they have with it, to find one’s bearings, and establish a possible connections with other people.

As Panofsky showed it, Perspective, which was a high level technical procedure, related to geometry and optics, was a symbolic form as well, insofar as it was leaned upo a philosophy of space, itself associated to a philosophy of the relationships between the subject and the world.

Piotr Kowalski could say, already in the eighties, he was a painter of nature as far as he used contemporary technologies, these ones being « our ears and eyes to perceive the world ».

He produced a number of creations functioning in empathy with the world, works of art very soon defined (already in the 60) as interactive. He also underlined their irreplaceable physical presence, as far as this presence, intervening between his body and the world, provoked, through its irruption, a reaction, an interrogation, an emotion.

We are in a period of History where subsist places (museums, galleries, cultural centers) which where conceived, organized in order to present works not related to any specific context.

The interactive work implies the participation of the spectators body, it makes it necessary to operate a most often driving coupling, would it be volunteer or not, between itself and the spectator.

The consequence of this is that the reception conditions of the works of art are modified even more than their production procedures. The relation to the work of art evolves, but it’s even more difficult to let the places where they are shown evolve as well. It’s interesting to quote that some of the most appropriate structures for these works seem to be industrial wastelands, as if they would spot the end of a world, the need of new social, economical relationships, as if the works would fed on the disappearing of one of Foucault’s confinement’s places: the workshop, the factory, the plant.

The city, considered as a virtual environment.

My work as an artist led me to cooperate with several scientific and technical structures, so as to create several structures devoted to collaborative projects between artists, scientists, engineers and theoreticians.

My direction of research concerns space, its figuration, or rather the visualizations, the modelings that result from the experimentations made possible due to the substitution, “augmentation” technologies.

Mathematics and Physics since Einstein and Planck, Poincaré and Riemann (for example) and so forth, have proposed other structurings, other representations of space, other geometries, but it is still difficult to embody them into our everyday life. Actually, if Alain Berthoz can say that with our otolithic sensors, it’s the cartesian space that is integrated into our physiology, the same does not go for these latest mathematical or physical concepts.

The hypothesis I should develop in this paper would be that within our everyday practices we shift, without realizing it very well, outside of the perspective space we inherited from Renaissance. Our representation overlap each other, multiply, achieve a constant sale, location variability. Perception and operative representation of distances evolve along with the concerned uses and means of transport.

Perception and therefore consciousness are more and more automatized, shared, networked, and it is henceforward not only an instrumented subject who thinks, memorizes and feels, but a multiple body, augmented, interconnected, surveyed, perceived as much as perceiving, acted as much as acting, that shows up.

I’m now working on a research program involving developers, neuro-cogniticians, VR platforms, behavior analysis technologies that refers to my conception of the urban landscape and environment as immersive environment.

In this paper I would like to illustrate, through my experiments the fact that

– it is becoming more and more difficult to separate scientific, technologic and artistic procedures, at least within artistic creation. On the other hand, show how art can participate to scientific and technological developments.

– the nature and status of author, artwork, “audience” are evolving due to the evolving production, creation, displaying, broadcasting modes.

I shall lean my demonstration on the experiments i made as an artist

But also as a director of Brouillard-Précis experimental Workshop (devoted to video and 3D animated pictures technologies). And as director and cofounder of LEEE, Laboratory for Aesthetics, and Space Experimentation, University of Clermont-Ferrand,whih is devoted to research based on artistic experimentations concerned by science and technologies.