Biennial of Lyon – Part 1

25 November 2007 at 12:18 pm (Exhibition, First ones, Links)

1)General context

The Biennial of Lyon 2007 was conceived as a game with 60 curators from all over the world. Each curator had to bring the 00’s decade most representative artist according to him. The expected result from this game was to write a story of contemporary art of the 00’s decade.

2)General impressions

Reading critics in magazines I had this false vision of the biennial of Lyon. I thought, and still think, that the idea to take 60 different curators from all kind of places in the world to organize it is good, but arriving there, I realized that the biennial was seen as an artwork made by those curators. Even worse, each curators considered himself and his colleges as artists. To be clearer, for the biennial of Lyon, under the pretext that they chosen to bring those specific artists, that are, for them, representative of the 00’s unfinished decade, and that they have the ambition to write the 00’s decade history of art, they are artists. Then, I ask to myself, is every art collector an artist? Is every single person an artist when he buys an artwork?

The problem I see in this pretension, is that the fact to put an artwork in a space with no aesthetic and/or artistic reflexion and purpose can’t be considered as an artistic move. To be honest, for me it seemed that they didn’t agree on how to present the works and how to organize the exhibition space : notes and the artist name are not easy to find and to link with the works, bringing confusion and annoying visitors.

One of the most chocking miss-organization were the explicit content warnings: some of them were next to the artwork. Not that I got chocked, but I imagined a scene with a little kid looking to the artwork and starting to cry “ooops too late”, it make me laugh so much… And explicit artworks had a free access, except one : the strip tease next to Dan Graham, Dan Flavin and Larry Bell minimal art. The problem was that the room used for this artwork was kind of like a corridor. So if some underaged person (or without id) has to reach the stairs to leave the floor, it has to go all over the exhibition again to take an elevator the other side and to go on in the next floor but in the wrong way (so for a group of persons it gets annoying because everybody has to do the same in order to keep together…) really stupid.

Even more stupid, the performance is made when the stripper decides that the persons present in the room seem correct to do the strip tease… The stripper even came to tell us that she wouldn’t do the performance while we were in the room… We left the room and 5 minutes later she was ending the performance. I think this is amateur and respect-less, we’ve traveled nearly 600km in a day to see the biennial as art students and we get this kind of treatment (I felt that people in the MAC museum were really respect-less with visitors). It’s neither our nor their fault if the curators don’t know how to put the notes and put notes that are in the wrong place.

If curators want to be seen as artists, they should produce some artworks and show them, their work is to organize an exhibition. I think it’s a shame that the biennial of Lyon wasn’t well organized, it’s maybe one of the factors that made me feel like not coming back to see the part that is still missing, even if I know that I should go to see it by myself (I didn’t had time to go to the Institut d’Art Contemporain).

Now concerning the artworks, I didn’t had time to watch all the projections (same problem in Biennial of Venice, not enough time, in Venice, we had 3 days, in Lyon we had only 6 hours). So with the rush I’ve naturally selected the artworks that seemed relevant to me. Here is my personal artworks canon of the biennial of Lyon with links, arguments and critics.

Urs Fischer, invited by Massimiliano Gioni (artistic director of the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi), made an installation with a rubber bag balloon attached with a metallic rope on a broom and a metallic cannon floating like the balloon attached to an office chair.

I’ve seen, in January 2007, another of the Urs Fischer installation in the exhibition 5 milliards d’années in Palais de Tokyo (in Paris). Where two benches with a light up candle were suspended with an iron chain rotating. The melted wax designs two perfect circles making me think on an infinite symbol. Urs’ work represents circularity aspects of time and . It fits perfectly in this exhibition, since the topic was time and time relativity.

In July 2007, I’ve seen one more Urs Fischer work in Sequence 1 exhibition in Palazzio Grassi presenting François Pinault‘s collection, in Venice. A kind of memory tree where the leaves are drawings, photos and illustrations presenting the last 50 years in art.


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Past week, AOC and drawing introduction…

21 November 2007 at 12:15 pm (Hybrid Workshop, Hypermedia, Mechatronics,, School of Art, Sound)

Since last week, I didn’t had time to write on my blog. So I’ll do a short summary and talk about the things that happened. I’ve already spoken about Monday and Tuesday (second part here) in past posts, therefore, I’ll start speaking about Wednesday. We should have started the mecatronics workshop, but since there was the Mormyrophone™ workshop with Christian Graff going on, we had no class.


But we could stay there to see what was going on and how it worked. Students were working on the Mormyre (scientific name: Petrocephalus simus) a tropical freshwater fish living in Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Zambia that produces an electrical signal and has electroreeptors to locate itself and predators. The objective of this workshop, was to use the signals generated by the fishes as a number input on the computers.


Students developed several works using Processing, Blender and Pure Data. The generated signal variates randomly, so it can be used as an exponential random function (that explains the use of logarithm to treat the signal). The fish is although sensitive to external electric variations.

Thursday, we had our first Sound and Hypermedia AOC. We started learning the bases of Pure Data : number box; message box; object box; sum, subtract, multiply and divide objects; bang object; float object; and print object. Finally we shortly introduced the variable concept. We although saw connection between boxes and learnt that electronic sound is mainly number manipulation. We made a small program that counts the number of apples and prints a sentence on the screen.

PD-Cours 1

By the afternoon, we had our first hypermedia class… We saw a number of artists like . Then we started to learn some really basic concepts like the size, ellipse and stroke objects. We although learnt some bases of color on a computer screen : the prime colors are not Cyan, Magenta and Yellow but Red, Blue, Green; and the sum of all colors don’t produce black but white. The last thing we learnt was that color values go from 0 to 255 (because it’s encoded on 8 bits). Finally we saw that shapes have two color parameters: their line and their area. We can change theme by using the line and fill objects.


Friday, we debated about what would become the “Atelier des fictions” project. We will discuss about it again next Friday.

Monday we had English class, we discussed about doing a blog in English speaking about our experience in the academy, this blog will be soon on-line. At the afternoon, we had philosophy class, this year’s topic we will be about Machine, Thought and behaviour.

Tuesday, we had drawing class at the morning. Our topic was the tool. By the afternoon teatcher were on strike.


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degrade 2_1

13 November 2007 at 11:38 pm (, School of Art)

This is a skretch based on a gradient concept.

I’ve built a first skretch to produce a simple gradient between two collors.


Degrade animation here

Degrade source code: here

Built with Processing.

Then mixing up with numbers and variables (in an intuitive way) I’ve arrived in this strange result… I still will try to understend how it happend… And I will guive an explanation once it’s done…




Degrade 2_1 animation here.

Degrade 2_1 source code: here.

Built with Processing.

Finally, I’ve discovered that Safari and WordPress post write and edit tools seem not to be really friendefull together… I had some layout bugs editing my post on Safari… Another thing to check…

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Free music and free culture… Legally…

13 November 2007 at 8:34 pm (Un-Usual Post)

Everybody knows that music and film industry are controlled by a few big and complex corporations, we call this an oligopoly. In a structure like the one of music industry, a few persons control what gets access to public and how much it costs. Most part of the benefits go to the same persons that have decision power, artists are under-payed (or less payed then the corporations’ declaration).Many Internet users download in an illegal way using Peer to Peer software or Torrent servers. The problem downloading illegal content is that it gives legal legitimacy to media industry. If the big bosses (that are sharks and money addicted) decide to put every illegal media user in a tribunal, they will have legal tools and power to win.© by  Just to be clear, I’m not saying that the artists and authors don’t have to win money and that everything should be free, in a money point of view. I’m saying that culture shouldn’t be managed by a few business men that think more about capital values then cultural values. Business men are necessary in the music creation process, but not in the position they have now.In order to fight against media oligopoly and illegal download, we should prefer to use legal services like radios or web-radios then doing illegal stuff or buying a CD (both actions give more power for the corporations)…Based on this reflexion, I’ve put a small selection of web-radios in my blogroll in order to give ideas…1920's Radio Equipment - Source interesting link is the Pandora website, where you enter a music or a band name and the site shows you more musics with the same music characteristics. So you listen to free legal content with a style chosen by you and you get to know more and more bands…. Isn’t that awesome? like Pandora, or web-radios need users to keep alive…So, now you have the tools to fight against music industry, enjoying nice legal content…So feel free, have fun and use it…. And no more excuses… :D PS: If you have a nice web-radio, don’t hesitate to send me the link… If I like it I’ll put in my selection in the Blogroll :D 

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Rencontres Internationales Sciences et Cinéma

13 November 2007 at 4:46 pm (Exhibition, School of Art, Videos)

This afternoon, we had a presentation about the festival “Rencontres Internationales Sciences et Cinémas” directed by Serge Dentin where 34 films are projected. This festival makes an approach between Cinema and Science, showing mostly films talking about science in a non conventional way.

Rencontres Internationales Sciences et Cinémas

After the presentation, we watched some short films :

Prof Nieto Show by Luis Nieto (France, 2007, performance, video, 3’50”)

L’expérience de Milgram by Nicolas Bruneaux (France,2007, documentary, video, 23′)

00H17 by Xavier by Choudens (France, 2005, 35mm, 10′)

While Darwin Sleeps by Paul Bush (England, 2004, video, 5′)

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Image de Ville – November the 13th 2007

13 November 2007 at 1:21 pm (Exhibition, Image de Ville, School of Art)

This morning we had a conference held by Till Roesken, a German artist graduated in 2003 from the Strasbourg Arts Décoratifs Art Academy. His work, called “les plans de situation”, has as central topic the map theme. He treats maps incarnating local habitants’ and personnages’ point of view. He makes theatrical performances where he speaks about the neighborhood with a sort of schizophrenic personality representing several locals.

Till Roesken

His most recent work, still unreleased, is a film about la Joliette, a neighborhood in Marseille (you can find a nice blog about Marseille here) that is being restored to be transformed into a rich business center called Euromediterranée. Roesken speaks about a block where inhabitants are being legally expelled by local authorities. The film is still in production.

Till Roesken

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Image de Ville – November the 12th 2007

12 November 2007 at 2:29 pm (Exhibition, Image de Ville, School of Art)

This week starts with a some conferences called “Image de Ville”.

Image de ville is an annual multidisciplinary festival, directed by Bruno Jourdan, speaking about city in contemporary society. This year topic is”La maison des histoires…” treating about the individual house myth. Conferences, 40 guests and 70 films will fill the festival schedule.

Image de Ville - Bruno Jourdan

This morning, we had a conference of Cécile Pelaudeix, that studies anthropology and inuit art and art history. She exposed a historical background of inuit art and showed some works from several artists, like Kenojuak Ashevak (here you can find some images), Peter Pitseolak, Dana Claxton and Erica Lord.

Image de Ville - Cécile PELAUDEIX

This afternoon we have a conference with the artist Guy-André Lagesse (former student in Aix Art Academy) and writer Jean-Paul Curnier.

Guy-André Lagesse & Jean-Paul Curnier

To start we listen to Ice Cream for Craw by The Capitain Beefheart

Then, they presented their work about scrap-houses built with low resources and used materials (like plastic bottles or empty rhum bottles) in communities where construction seems to be a collective and collaborative work (kind of the same concept of the Creative Commons License) with no artistic ambitions. They studied the way common things win value when they have a function (for instance oil was seen as dirty and useless, but since the development of the oil industry, its value increased in a drastic way – and its price keeps raising). Quickly they discovered that people try to build functional houses with an aesthetic preoccupation. Their work explore the destruction not as an end but as a transformation, something that is considered broken or useless can always be adapted or transformed into an use-full object or structure.

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Wifi signal-strength-bio-meter…

11 November 2007 at 1:04 pm (Un-Usual Post)

This post on We Make Money Not Art blog, about “the pain of everyday life” project, made me think on our Hybrid Workshop theme, concerning the forces that build our world and reality.

Gordan Savicic

Thanks to this corset, we can have the ability to feel some invisible electromagnetic wave length… The stronger the signal is, the tighter the corset gets. Régine Debatty exposes feeling generated by the corset as a “pain of information society”, where “Daily walks between home, work and leisure are recompiled into a “pain-map””.

Gordan Savicic

Another aspect of this corset is the denunciation about Internet and technology democratisation disparity in the world. If you wear this corset in New York you’ll get a really tight corset, getting you nearly suffocating. Somewhere like Burundi, where Internet and technology access is really rare, the corset is nearly like a t-shirt with some mecatronic equipment on it. I don’t know if the artist wanted to develop this kind of issue but I thought about this problems while I was reading Régien’s post… UN made a resolution and a World Information Society Day to discuss about Information Technology integration.

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Circuit bending app…

11 November 2007 at 11:34 am (Circuit Bending Workshop, Links, Mechatronics, Sound, Videos)

After all the circuit bending workshop posts, some of you asked me about the interest on circuit bending and how we could use in a creative way… Well… here is a cool video made by Gijs showing his work and what we can do with this kind of practice… So take a look on what we can do with a Game-Boy, a home-made sequencer, a camera, some lights and motors… The project name is Camera Sequencer… I although give you the project page called Gieskes.

I hope you enjoy it…

If you like technical details, here are some more comments about this project.

Another project from the same person is the Sega Mega-drive Sequencer

Here you can see a video showing its result :

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Arduino and intelligent electronic communication…

10 November 2007 at 4:04 pm (Hypermedia, Links, Mechatronics, Un-Usual Post)

Still exploring geekdad’s blog, I’ve read a post about demotic explaining why smart houses and equipment interconnected development is so slow and how arduino can contribute for the house automation process. Arduino is indeed a cheap micro-controller interface built originally for artist and hobbyists… The great thing in arduino, besides the low price rate, is the possibility to program it and to use it to communicate between objects (like geekdad post explains), building binary or analog conversation subjects between normal, common or built objects.


The post althought speaks about this book, called “Making Things Talk: Practical Methods for Connecting Physical Objects”,that is now in my “things to buy” list…

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