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Antoine Schmitt and Franck Vigroux : Tempest

A constrasted fall 2015

In a world where "digital" ("numérique" in France) becomes a common motto for press and politicians, digital art seems presently quite lagging behind.

Of course, it has been quite active this fall, wih gorgeous performances of Antoine Schmitt and Franck Vigroux (on Arte) or Jacques Perconte (at the Philarmonie de Paris). Of course, beautiful stands were open at Slick (Charlot and, for the first time as far as we know, the American gallery DAM), Chevalier and Le Boucher led the show on Lelia Mordoch's stand at Art Elysée, and the dedicated salon Variation opened one more, even though on a smaller surface.

Moben (Maurice Benayoun) : Dildomatic Opera (2011)

But digital art was remarkably absent of the major Parisian event, Fiac as well as of the other events : Fiac Officielle and YIA.

Worse: very few new artists emerge in the field, and the mature ones don't innove in depth, or expose antiques more than novelties (for instance Eduardo Kac with its important Reabracadabra (1985)).


Erich Vernhes "leafs", on the Slick's Charlot's stand

Technically, the new digital works stick to rather simple structures : algorithms draw pictures or write (an/or play) music, and in some cases, one or two sensors bring some interactivity. The novelty may come from the packaging, for instance the Dildomatic Opera by Benayoun (2011) or even the puppies of Albertine Meunier ("Internet, do you love me"). Or from the subtlety in shapes and vibrations, for instance the "leafs" of Eric Vernhes.





Alain Le Boucher : Antares

Nevertheless, some new works give hopes for more daring futures.

Without revolutionary change, Alain Le Boucher (Antares, 2015) extends the power of his naked circuits and explores the possibilites of RGB LEDs, striving to push them beyond their naturally garish shades. With the powerful components of today, he can look for deeper programming, perhaps even to some kind of narrative structure...


Perconte : Horizon

Faithful to his "glitch" video techniques, Perconte shows, at Galerie Charlot, an impressively new scale of graphic effects (shapes and colors). Geometrically, squared shapes structure the picture, evoking large "pixels"... but pixels that are themselves containers of smaller, semi-analogic variations. As for colors, the palette is also richer. We were accustomed to the rather "natural" of his shades, captured from landscap filming. The new works play on a large variety of tones, from pastels to crude primaries.

Donald Agad concentrate his efforts on augmented reality, combining a tablet with material installations (Plateaux, 2015)

Pia Myrvold and Theoriz : Hybrid Love

François Brument (Vase #44 for instance) gives voice an opening on real matter, through microphone controlled 3D sofware and printing.

Pia Myrvold jumps from screen graphics to robotic art, with the cooperation of Theoriz, animating the space of Variation with the dancing (still a little too "robotic" at present) movements of shining paper puppets.

Michael Cros : Datasauvages (2015)

The most promising prospect, from our viewpoint, is opened by Michael Cros, with Datasauvages (2015). Nothing really spectacular at present: you sit in front of a computer, press keys for whatever you have in mind and make some signs to the onbooard camera, and the work sends you back some images or texts, and even prints some sentences on paper. The good news is that the work responds to its own "emotions". Still quite crude (an excess of inputs makes it eject you from the play), but opening, without supplementary hardware, to possibly powerful, emotional and why not "intelligent" behavior.

But is the art market ready for really "intelligent" and behavioral works ?

Pierre Berger
Oct. 28, 2015.


Paris ACM Siggraph, the French chapter of ACM Siggraph, worldwide non-profit organization of computer graphics.






Galerie Charlot An important supporter of digital art.