Category Archives: GAMERZ

“Universalization is a colonialist heritage.” An interview with video game curator Isabelle Arvers

Isabelle Arvers is a curator, art critic and artist specialized in independent video games. She is also the Director of Kareron, a non-profit organization that supports artistic and educational projects in the fields of art, digital creation and video games.


Momo Pixel, Hair Nah (photo)


Georgie Roxby Smith, 99 Problems [WASTED], GTAV intervention, 2014

To celebrate her 20 years as curator in the fields of art and video games, Isabelle Arvers is about to embark on a world tour that will take her to over 15 countries, each of them “outside the American and European beaten paths”. She’s planning to meet digital artists and independent developers and come back with a richer, non Western-centric and more nuanced overview of the different ways gaming communities across the world are exploring the issue of diversity, with a special emphasis on the female, queer and decolonial practices.

Her expedition will also investigate how we can create new concepts of “working together” and new connections within the worlds of game art, independent games, games DIY art in non-Western countries.


Isabelle Arvers

I’m a bit embarrassed to say that it’s the third time i’m interviewing Isabelle Arvers. Simply because she’s smart, genuinely passionate and an expert in everything art & games. There will also be a fourth interview obviously. As soon as she’s back from her Art Games World Tour, i’ll be waiting for her to tell us what and who she’s discovered in Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Colombia, Argentina, Lebanon, Egypt, etc.

Hi Isabelle! Let’s start with what has been the biggest surprise for me when i was reading the programme of the Art+Games WorldTour. You’ve been a curator in the fields of art and video games for 20 years!?? You must have been one of the pioneers in that profession at the time. How did you realize that was what you’d want to dedicate your energy and mind to? 

It came from a discussion I had with teenagers in the 90′, telling me that they were dreaming in video games and that they loved so much video games images that they would have preferred to see them on TV. It made me realize the power of games on our imagination and their capacity to manipulate people’s mind. I decided that games were a very serious question and that we – cultural producers, curators, intellectuals – had to pay attention to it. That’s why I decided to offer an alternative to AAA – big commercial – games and to promote alternative and artistic uses of video games and to distribute other types of games, games done by artists but not only, also what we now call experimental games, creative or indie games. 

In 1999, I was working as a partnership manager for Art 3000, a non profit organization which was organizing the General Meetings of Interactive Writing. I selected an interactive graphic and music table created by Andre Ktori (Founder of the sound music collective Audiorom in London), as well as 2 PC games. One was a pervasive game In Memoriam by Eric Viennot (edited in 2003 by Ubisoft) and the second game, Isabelle by Thomas Cheysson, was a game using Artificial Intelligence.

The year after, I was in charge of the image and computer games content for an online gallery – Gizmoland – where we were selling music, games, digital art, and animation, only by downloads. My job consisted in persuading game companies, little independent game studios to sell their games online, which at that time wasn’t their business model at all!! The year after, I curated my first big exhibition in a huge “physical” space. It was the gaming room of Villette Numerique: Playtime (2002) – combining 30 years of computer games history, games created by artists and sound games in an online gallery.

For this exhibition I was inspired by the exhibition Let’s Entertain curated by Philippe Vergne at the Walker Art Center which was investigating what cultural industries had to learn from super attractive big malls. The same year, the exhibition “Game On” was hosted at the Barbican Center in London. Playtime is the true beginning of what would become my main practice: mixing the art and the game world with other disciplines: music, dance, online performances and break mind and cultural ghettos. Last December, as I had to leave my house, cleaning and ordering my archives, I realized that 20 had passed and I felt a huge need to renew my practice

Nomada Studio, Gris

How has the profession evolved over time? Do you find, for example, that you can now present yourself as a curator in the fields of art and video games and that people understand immediately what you do (both in France and in other countries)? That some circles take art and video game more seriously than 20 years ago?  

The profession evolved a lot as there are now Curatorial studies as well as games studies. There are academic studies on games as an art form and the art world is paying more attention to games both as a medium or as an art form. In France, what is funny is that games became interesting for cultural structures through the prism of cultural heritage and preservation and thanks to serious games. Then the growing benefits from the game industry made the rest! But the particularity of my work consists in the meeting between different artistic disciplines and universes and when you want to cross cultural ghettos it still remains a bit suspicious, both from the art side than from the game world. However, artists and game designers are more and more using the same tools or software, the language/vocabulary/objectives are still different, but we can create the encounter and break the last walls remaining between art + games and indie games events.

In other countries the contexts are slightly different depending on which countries we are talking about. Cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York mix art and games. I wrote a report about my last trip in New York and what was the state of the art+ games world there in 2017.

In Brazil, connections between the art world and the game world also exist, with a strong tradition of promoting interactivity in big events like File. Last year, I organized a special edition of Art Games Demos in Medellin and it was quite hard to find artists working with videogames as a medium or even referring to computer games. We discussed it with the artist Miltos Manetas who now lives in Bogota and he told me that Colombia was “Pre-Internet and computer games”. The indie games scene is more developed, but there is a huge interest for it in Universities or in the art schools where I gave talks about the art + games relationship. The same in Egypt, where I gave machinima workshops with the artist Ahmed El Shaer to most of the times women students.

Students and artists are often really interested by game engines as a medium. There is just a need to show that games can be used in art schools to create hybrid artworks and push the creation in that direction. In the case of Egypt, what local structures also told me is that they need permanent spaces to learn and practice, not only temporary workshops, without an access to mentoring after these workshops. On the indie game world, the easiest access to open game engines, the dematerialization of games platform, the game jams and indie meetups opened the doors to more creative and diverse videogames.

Isabelle Arvers, Art Games Demos at La Jaquer EsCool in Medellin

I love that Sébastien Acker has described you as an “Activist of an art that is emancipated from the international majors of the genre.” Can you tell me something about this type of video games? Is it just a question of being less professional or having less money than the majors? Or is more a question of content, audacity and creativity that make this type of video game so fascinating to you and their public? 

In 2011, I presented the Pirate Kart at the Art Gallery of The Aix en Provence Art School invited by the Festival Gamerz. The Pirate Kart is a compilation of 1005 games created by 378 developers: an indie games presentation and experimentation inside a game art festival intended to show the mind-blowing evolution of game creation in the indie games scene, and to show the diversity and the originality of these games, quite different from the AAA games but which need to be considered as well. This compilation was made possible by Mike Meyer, a game developer in Florida, and to quote his reference to the Scratchware manifesto:”It is time for revolution. Walk into your local bookstore; you’ll find tens of thousands of titles. Walk into your local record store; you’ll find thousands of albums. Walk into your local software store; you’ll find perhaps 40 games. Yet thousands of games are released each year.” Wikipedia defines a scratchware as “If a game has original content, offers great gameplay and replayability, has a professional look, is bug free, costs $25 or less for the complete program, and was made by three people or less, it is scratchware.”

We need to show these games and give an alternative to the traditional places of games distribution. We need to give exposure and to promote these games, because they also represent the state of the art of today games production. For me, it doesn’t mean that they are less professional, but ten thousand times more diverse in terms of representation, aesthetics, concepts and messages. As Anna Anthropy urges in her book Rise of the Videogames Zinesters: everybody should create games to enhance diversity of aesthetics and subjects, indeed, she recently published Make your own Twine Games in March 2019 and “Make your own Scratch Games” which will be published in July 2019.

David OReilly, Everything (Gameplay Film)


Penumbra Black Plague in-game screenshot

Concrete Games, Matter (PC Trailer)

I used to discover a lot of video games ideas and talents through the game section you used to curate for the GAMERZ festival in Aix-en-Provence. It always allowed me to catch up with an art form i’m not so versed into. Which works or creators would you recommend are worth looking at at the moment? 

I went to an amazing festival in Netherlands, The Overkill Festival in 2018, invited to curate a machinima exhibition dedicated to Immortality. I was extremely lucky to meet Robin Baumgarten and his quantic inspired games as well as Alistair Hutchinson and his interactive theater play. I would also recommend to go on Itch.io where you can discover a great amount of indie games online. Oujevipo, the website created by Pierre Corbinais is also a fantastic resource to discover short games. I am currently preparing a workshop for ISEA 2019 in South Korea untitled Games as lights and colors on canvas for which I selected games focusing on light and darkness and had the pleasure to play to Reflections by Broken Window Studios, as well as Penumbra by Frictional Games or Matter by Concrete Games. Each of them presents a different type of gameplay and pretty different aesthetics. Otherwise my last preferred games are Everything by David O’Reilly, or Hair Nah by Momo Pixel.

Pierre Corbinais, Bury Me, My Love

Lucas Pope, Papers, Please

Molle Industria, Nova Alea gameplay

Then, it is hard to speak about all the games we had the pleasure to present during the 6 editions of Art Games Demos we curated with Chloé Desmoineaux. Some of them were thematized on queer and feminism, others on borders and migration or on the city, generative city, utopic city… Enterre moi mon amour is a mobile game created by Pierre Corbinais in which you discuss with a Syrian migrant, in the game Papers, Please by Lucas Pope you play a guard at the border of a fictious state, Nova Alea, a game about gentrification made by Paolo Pedercini from Molle Industria is also amazing, The game The Game, a game about sexual harassment by Angela Washko looks more like an interactive fiction. Lately I found beautiful the game Gris by the Spanish studio Nomada Studio and I discovered yesterday the game What Remains by Aymeric Mansoux, “an 8-bit interactive fiction and adventure video game by Aymeric Mansoux about environmental issues, the manipulation of public opinion, and whistleblowing».


Aymeric Mansoux, What Remains, 2019


Aymeric Mansoux, What Remains, 2019


Angela Washko, The game The Game


Angela Washko, The game The Game

The Art+Games WorldTour you are about to embark on looks very ambitious: you’ll be spending several months traveling, meeting, discovering, working in very different cultures. How much of what you will be doing once over there will rely on preparation and existing contacts and how much on pure chance and improvisation?  

I decided for this World Tour to discover art and games scenes I do not know already. The only places where I already went to are Brazil and Colombia, where I do have some contacts now and where they are people I love and want to see again. For the other countries I will travel to – South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, India, Argentina and Mexico which are the first steps of my trip in 2019 before I go to Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Middle East countries in 2020, I mostly rely on friends’ contacts and on my online researches, before my departure. My main fear is that people won’t have the desire or the time to meet me, because I won’t stay very long in each country, so it might be difficult to be at the right time at the right moment. People are not waiting for me and that’s totally understandable. To give you an idea, for my first step in South Korea, I think that I sent more than 60 emails and only got 6 replies. Hopefully, thanks to IRL meetings, it will open the doors to other contacts and meetings. That’s totally part of the game. I know it will be hard, a mix of fear and excitement. Like when you learn how to play a game: big and numerous failures, for few little successes! For this world tour, I am asking support from women in games – I just partnered with Women in Games – LGBTQI networks in art, DIY and feminist networks as well as from the game art network or the indie game scene. Let’s hope I will be lucky. And that the communities will support me by giving me more contacts.


Art Games Demos, Une Quinzaine de Féminisme(s), 2017

What make the Art+Games World Tour project so interesting is that it is looking at the diversity of video game, trying to give more visibility to the female, queer and decolonial practices and works. I’m particularly curious about the decolonial practices. Could you give some examples of them?  

I think that games are a good reflection of our surrounding world, they can give us a good overview of our current society, they are also a perfect medium to talk about games and the game industry. In 2011, I curated a machinima exhibition on feminism and on player’s freedom inside a videogame. I showed the work of Angela Washko and Georgies Roxbie Smith, both renowned for their feminist actions inside WOW or GTA Online. Some years after, we curated an Art Games Demos on queer and feminist movements in videogames during The feminist fortnight in Marseille. A way for us to raise awareness on sexism in the videogames industry and community. Women are still underrepresented in the industry and even if things changed a lot after the Gamergate in the US, there is still a need to change the representation of women in videogames and to give more attention to games created by women or trans persons. In western countries, there is a quite new consciousness about it, with conferences on diversity in events like the Game Developers Conference or at Amaze, but I am really interested to discover and meet other feminists in the non western world as well as LGBTQI organizations around the world in order to connect with other realities and create new paths and connections between networks.

I worked a lot abroad but it was a “western” abroad: I mostly worked in the US, in Europe, in Canada and in Australia. Western and white…

There is a strong network for our practices in the western world, but diversity is a very recent concept in these worlds. It is great to feel that recently it even became a new “trend”, a “tendency”, people even mentioned feminism or diversity as a new “fashion”… Interesting but dangerous when you see the power of evangelism growing in countries like Brasil, USA or South Korea as well as abortion bans around the world. Our emancipation is still young and might be weak so we need to defend it and to connect around the world.

Trying to promote decolonial practices is something very important when you think about games as a globalized culture. When I traveled to Brazil or Egypt to give machinima workshops, I was surprised to discover that youngsters were all playing to the same games: GTA, FIFA, Call of Duty, Fortnite, etc… even if the local culture was powerful. In my workshops, I tried to push youngsters to play Indie Games or games related to their local culture, but it appeared as less fascinating to them… less “beautiful”. It made me realize that we almost play the same games everywhere, which mean that the moral, ethics, concepts of these games are globalized. So, are they universal? Not at all.

Universalization is a colonialist heritage. I want to decentralize my point of view. I want to go against my own beliefs and mind constructions. I want to better understand the counter forces to the capitalist model. How can we put the idea of commons in this? The first thing I know is that I don’t know anything, I am not traveling with prior ideas in my mind, as I truly don’t know the situation where I am going to travel, but I know where I come from and the possible damages of what we call good intentions. So my first aim is to learn, learn from the others and discover other ways of working together.


Lipstrike Chloé Desmoineaux at Art Games Demos in Medellin (photo)


Rehabilitation Game presented by Arango Chavarría, EAFIT Virtual Lab, at Art Games Demos in Medellin (photo)


Noisk8 at Art Games Demos in Medellin (photo)

Art+Games WorldTour is not just looking at games and creators. It is also concerned with innovative and inspiring modes of exchanges and collaborations developed in parts of the world the Western art+game community tends to overlook. Could you already tell us about some of these methods and what we might learn from them?

To give you a concrete example, when I was in Colombia last year in a residency at Platohedro in Medellin (an amazing art and residency space dedicated to feminism, technology and open culture). While I was there, we talked about a European festival that wanted to collaborate with Platohedro. It ended by only inviting a Colombian artist in Europe and paying for his trip, which was felt as a neocolonial attitude and not as a true collaboration.

Georgie Roxby Smith, 99 Problems [WASTED], GTAV intervention, 2014


Introduction by Isabelle Arvers at Art Game Demos in Medellin (photo)

To collaborate is not just a question of an invitation to promote artists or creators outside of their countries… It is more about sharing and mixing practices, intentions, responsibilities and giving back to the people.

Also, during my residency, I wanted to investigate the question of gender racism and meet trans persons while I was there. The community feedback was: what do you do in return for the community? We agreed that I would give a machinima workshop on identity and gender to Mesa Diversa Comuna 4, a LGBTQI organization just before to leave to Bogota. Cultural structures like Platohedro, Moravia, El Museo de Antioquia or El Exploratorio in Medellin work and learn with and from the communities: food, gardening, technology, sustainability, etc. Everyone is a bank of knowledge that needs to be heard and shared. In 2011, I wrote a text about collaboration vs participation for the online Journal Archee dealing with collaborative practice in the artworld, let’s see how this world tour will enrich or modify my thoughts.

When I was hosted in Rural.scapes for my first artist residency in Santa Tereza Fazenda in Brasil by the artists Rachel Rosalen and Rafael Marchetti, I super enjoyed all the collaborations we had with the local communities: children, women, farmers and how the point of the residency was to mix local knowledge and technics with artistic practices, electronics, sound or even games. So I want to focus on this type of practices and attitudes for a field that is globalized and still dominated by capitalism and mind gentrification to quote the amazing book by Sarah Schulman, The Gentrification of the Mind. Then, for this world tour, I partnered with Mehdi Derfoufi, a specialist of post colonial cinema and games studies, who offered me to analyze and apply a postcolonial approach to the games I will find and meet on my road. I will also keep a travelogue/logbook of my feelings and thoughts about this particular and very personal research and quest. These notes will be published monthly on the website of the French journal Immersion.

Thanks Isabelle!

Previously: Games Reflexions, Machinimas at the GAMERZ festival, 8 Bit Movie – Some fast and messy notes.

Jamming Room: getting in touch with the invisible dimensions of our environment

I missed the latest edition of the GAMERZ festival, the one and only media art event that 1. introduces me to at least half a dozen exciting artists i had never heard about before and 2. excites me so much that i eagerly spend 9 hours on 3 super slow trains in order to get there. “There” being Aix-en-Provence and Aix is never a bad idea in November.

The programme of the last festival was short but it featured a few artworks that looked worth an article on the blog. Julien Clauss had a particularly fascinating installation that creates invisible geometries and architectures with the help of little more than 30 good old radios and FM radio transmitters.


Julien Clauss, Salle de brouillage. Photo: Luce Moreau for GAMERZ festival


Julien Clauss, Salle de brouillage. Photo: Luce Moreau for GAMERZ festival

The artist turned one of the exhibition spaces of the spectacular Fondation Vasarely into a giant jamming room, a Salle de brouillage in french. He placed 30 FM radio transmitters on the walls. They are made of brass plate circuits and each of them is connected to an antenna, a power supply and audio players via a network of cables that crisscross the walls of the room. Each transmitter is tuned to a different frequency along the FM broadcast band (from 87 to 108 MHz), covering the entire FM band.

Visitors could pick up one of the portable radio receivers available, move along the space, play with the frequencies, scan the FM spectrum and uncover the invisible waves that occupy the space. By playing with the low tech devices, visitors could thus explore an invisible architecture shaped by the world of electromagnetic fields.


Julien Clauss, Salle de brouillage. Photo: Luce Moreau for GAMERZ festival

I got in touch with Julien Clauss who, between a residency in Chile and the installation of a new sound work in Montreuil (east of Paris), found a moment to answer my questions:

Hi Julien! Salle de Brouillage was installed at the Fondation Vasarely for the GAMERZ festival, a space that might have its challenges for a sound artist but that remains incredibly inspiring. Is the way you are going to install the work be influenced by the location?

The geometry of the room in which Salle de Brouillage is installed instructs the spatial deployment of the work, the pattern of the transmitter is repeated throughout the room by strictly following the architecture of the place.


Julien Clauss, Salle de brouillage. Photo: Luce Moreau for GAMERZ festival


Julien Clauss, Salle de brouillage. Photo: Luce Moreau for GAMERZ festival

How site-specific is the installation?

Salle de brouillage is installed in relation to the architecture and the electromagnetic field of the site. The transmitters and copper cables follow the contours of the exhibition room like a tapestry and play with the spatial dynamics of the room. In a less visible manner, the radio emissions of the 30 transmitters meet the ambient electromagnetic field, a joint result of the emissions of the local FM stations, the filtering of the walls and the radiation of the electrical installations inside the building. The electromagnetic field in Salle de brouillage depends on the FM emissions specific to the installation as much as on the radio environment around and inside the building.


Julien Clauss, Salle de brouillage. Photo: Luce Moreau for GAMERZ festival


Julien Clauss, Salle de brouillage. Photo: Luce Moreau for GAMERZ festival

I like that you’re using portable radios. Why did you want to use devices that might look old-fashioned in today’s world of digital everything?

The first wireless transmission experiments date back to 1900, which makes radio the oldest of the “new media”. This is not the vintage aspect of the radio that interests me but the spatial and plastic dimensions of the media. I want to bring to the same level the structure of the media, its technology, the implicit hierarchical structures of the forms of networks as well as the sociability that these structures generate. Radio is a mundane object that makes it possible to get in touch with an invisible dimension of our environment which realizes a complex physical and geo-strategic space.


Julien Clauss, Salle de brouillage. Photo: Luce Moreau for GAMERZ festival

How did you select the sounds that visitors discover while navigating the space? Are they found materials?

Two stations play found materials: number stations (sequence of coded numbers emitted in short waves and addressed to intelligence officers operating in foreign countries) and natural radio (solar radiation, variations in the Earth’s magnetic field, etc); the other 28 stations broadcast sounds I made in reference to the sonic universe of radio: filtered noise, pure frequencies, shortwaves, ambient music, readings from concerts performed together with Emma Loriaut and Jean-François Blanquet.

How does the sound emitted by the radio sets evolve? is it just a question of turning the buttons on the devices or do the movements of the visitors influence the sound in the room?

The concentration of the emitters inside the same space produces mutual jamming. The field generated by the emissions in the room is an entanglement of chaotic waves. It is necessary to move around to receive the stations, some pop up very locally on an unstable portion of the frequency range, others in several places across the room.


Julien Clauss, Salle de brouillage, 2018. Photo: Luce Moreau for GAMERZ festival


Julien Clauss, Salle de brouillage, 2018. Photo: Luce Moreau for GAMERZ festival

How does the “physicality” of the electromagnetic energy manifests itself to visitors?

The material and visual dimensions of the electromagnetic field interest me because they are an invisible component of our environment. The specific state of the electromagnetic field in the installation is a form of sculpture, which can be discovered with a radio receiver. The portable radio goes from being a media receiver to a tool that scans the surrounding space. Moving in search of waves while holding a radio in your hand is a sensitive experience of getting in touch with the invisible.

Salle de Brouillage was inspired by the media experiments of Tetsuo Kogawa. Could you explain the importance of his work?

Tetsuo Kogawa started a social practice of radio on a very small scale in the 1980s in Japan. It was based on the proximity between the broadcasting site and the listening site of the radio. He then undertook a performative work of building miniature transmitters with which he plays live while he is assembling them. By considering the carrier wave as a signal and the sound signal as a parasite of the carrier, he literally reversed the dialectic of the signal and noise in the radio.

The transmitters used in Salle de brouillage are designed according to a model that he has developed and shares freely. I place my radio sculpture work in the wake of the one made by Max Neuhaus. I started working on the layering and mixing of radio waves with Walk In Music, a cover of Neuhaus‘s Drive In Music (1967) I made on the island of Vassivière during a residency at La Pommerie. This first experience of mutual interference between transmitters, combined with the idea of composing a complete FM band, prompted the idea for Salle de brouillage. The design of Tetsuo Kogawa’s transmitter on a copper plate was perfect for this project. Emma Loriaut and I slightly modified the graphic design of the circuit. The work premiered in January 2018 at Centre Gallery in Quebec.

Julien Clauss and Emma Loriaut, Météo Mondiale

I found another of your works, Météo Mondiale, very moving. It’s hard to imagine anything more banal and boring that the weather news on the radio. And yet, we’re living in 2019 and the weather is now a topic that makes most of us anxious and afraid of the future. But there’s something very soothing, poetical and intimate about that piece. It also, as was your intention, makes tangible the relentless flow of information. I’m curious about the interplay between the weather data read out loud by Emma Loriaut and the “arpeggio of analog synthesiser.” How did you create the underlying sound work? Does it connect with the voice of the artist and the actual the weather data?

Météo Mondiale is an improvised performance. The data is extracted from the internet in real time, compiled, printed and read live during the performance. The prosody, the enumeration of the names and numbers of the weather report creates a distance to reality. This creates a textual material that is shaped in parallel to the synthesizer line that is also improvised throughout this dialogue.


Julien Clauss, Ground Noise at Instants chavirés. Image courtesy of the artist

Any upcoming projects, events, fields of investigation you’d like to share with us?

The exhibition Ground Noise at Instants chavirés started a few weeks ago: 3 CD player, each 3 meters in diameter read the contours of the concrete slab on the floor of the old brewery.

Merci Julien!

If you understand french and want to see the installation ‘in action’, check out this interview with Julian Clauss. He talk about Salle de Brouillage, old bearded composers, black boxes and media reappropriation:

GAMERZ 14 / Julien Clauss

The 14th edition of the GAMERZ festival closed last December but if you’re in or near Paris, you have until 26 May to experience his installation Ground Noise at at Instants chavirés.

An open heart surgery of the legendary 4004 microprocessor

Created in 1971, Intel’s 4004 was the world’s first commercial microprocessor. It wasn’t particularly powerful though. Its main function was originally to perform simple mathematical operations in a mundane business calculator. However, it wasn’t the 4004 itself that was important but its architecture.


Quentin Destieu, À coeur ouvert, 2017. Photo: Luce Moreau. Installation view of the exhibition Master/Slave at Art-cade Galerie in Marseille, France


Quentin Destieu, À coeur ouvert, 2017. Photo: Luce Moreau. Installation view of the exhibition Master/Slave at Art-cade Galerie in Marseille, France

The 4004 offered a radical new way of thinking and building processors. General purpose computers used to be room-sized equipment but the miniaturization of the 4004 made it possible to commodify computing.

Another extraordinary thing about the 4004 is that it was the first and the last hand-drawn microprocessor. The production of its successors would be so complex that it would be automated, performed on a micro scale by hi-tech machines.

Nowadays it’s not just their technological complexity that leaves microprocessors outside of human understanding, their production itself is shrouded in secrecy, their architecture protected by patents. We’ve completely lost control over components that are at the core of every single connected object in our lives.

Artist Quentin Destieu hoped to reconquer that knowledge by re-creating and magnifying the inner architecture of the 4004 processor so that its size would lay bare its inner working. The objective of the project was also to create a technological support free of copyrights and working on an open source model. Which would have brought the technological understanding of electronics back into the commons (where it belongs.)

To achieve this de-miniutarization process, the artist first needed to go back to the initial drawings, recreate the plans and understand the circuits. With the help of engineers and artists (Bastien Vacherand, Sylvain Huguet, Guillaume Stagnaro, Grégoire Lauvin and many others) and using the plans made available by Intel in 2011, Destieu tried to recreate one by one the 2300 transistors of the 4004 processor. He quickly realized that much of the initial knowledge had been lost. Discussions on forum and with the engineers of the 4004 revealed that the know-how of the original plans was no longer fully mastered by a single person.


Quentin Destieu, À coeur ouvert, 2017. Photo: Luce Moreau. Installation view of the exhibition Master/Slave at Art-cade Galerie


Quentin Destieu, À coeur ouvert, 2017. Photo: Luce Moreau. Installation view of the exhibition Master/Slave at Art-cade Galerie

As a result, the sculptural form of À coeur ouvert (“at open heart” because, like an open heart surgery, the project aims to reach the vital organs of the processor) was guided by this conclusion that planned obsolescence had reached not just consumer electronics but also human knowledge itself.

The installation is made of 3 circuits that measure in total 1,90m by 80cm, the scale of a human body. The black colour echoes the fact that mainstream technology is now running from inside a inscrutable black box. The circuits are enclosed inside a kind of mausoleum that acknowledges the demise of our control over information technology.


Quentin Destieu, À coeur ouvert, 2017. Photo: Luce Moreau. Installation view of the exhibition Master/Slave at Art-cade Galerie


Quentin Destieu, À coeur ouvert, 2017. Photo: Luce Moreau. Installation view of the exhibition Master/Slave at Art-cade Galerie


Quentin Destieu, À coeur ouvert, 2017. Photo: Luce Moreau. Installation view of the exhibition Master/Slave at Art-cade Galerie


Quentin Destieu, À coeur ouvert, 2017. Photo: Luce Moreau. Installation view of the exhibition Master/Slave at Art-cade Galerie

If you’re curious about the work, do check out Master/Slave, Quentin Destieu solo show at Art-cade Galerie, Grands Bains Douches de la Plaine, in Marseille, until 15 December 2018.

GAMERZ 2016 – Our daily computer-programmed reality

For a full intro to the festival, check out my previous story: GAMERZ: Digital tech ‘degenerated’ by craft and kludge.


Špela Petrič, Miha Turšič, Dunja Zupančič and Dragan Živadinov, Agents non-humains, installation at GAMERZ 2016. Photo: Luce Moreau

This year, a section of the exhibition of the GAMERZ festival was dedicated to the omnipresence of algorithms into our life. It was curated by artist, writer and otherwise brilliant cultural agitator Ewen Chardronnet.

By anchoring his curatorial text in the year 1972, Chardronnet reminds us that back then, the future of technology was not paved with malignant machines and other existential risks. Instead, it was brimming with hopes, ideals and thrilling speculations. In 1972 thus, Nixon orders the development of a Space Shuttle program, the first man-made satellite leaves the solar system, a man walks for the last time on the moon and his crew photographed one of the most reproduced images in human history: The Blue Marble portrait of the Earth.

1972 is also the year the cybernetic system Cybersyn and NASDAQ, the world’s first electronic stock market, were starting to show their potential. NASDAQ was only one year old but would rapidly become the fastest growing stock market. As for the socialism-imbued promises held by Cybersyn, they were cut short by the coup d’état led by Augusto Pinochet (and backed by the U.S.) in 1973.

Philip K. Dick declares that we Live in “a computer-programmed reality”

As the curator also recalls, a few years later Philip K. Dick would explain with determination (and a certain sentiment that the audience is not ready to believe his words) that we are living in a computer programmed reality. And indeed, nowadays, many scientists would argue that the science fiction writer’s declaration should not be taken lightly and that a being whose intelligence is far greater than our own might very well have created us for their own entertainment. In other words, chances are that we are indeed living in a computerized simulation.

What is sure is that artificial manipulations and decisions of all kinds have very physical and real impacts on our culture.

“Nowadays, algorithms are everywhere,” writes Chardronnet. “They organize the planning and optimal use of resources, pictures rendering, bio-computerizing, cryptography, stock exchanges, electronic surveillance, target marketing, our behavior on social media… But algorithms are as old as Babylon. If procedural generation video games universes are truly infinite, is there still any enchanted gardens full of immaterial mathematical relics to be found? Or will it be time to encompass the possibility of an end?

The title for Chardronnet’s exhibition is thus, very fittingly, Simulated Universe. The show featured artists whose works filter through the hype and anxiety surrounding a world controlled by artificial and often invisible intelligence.


Konrad Becker and Felix Stalder, Painted by Numbers. A Discursive Installation on Algorithmic Regime. Installation view at GAMERZ. Photo by Luce Moreau


Konrad Becker and Felix Stalder, Painted by Numbers. A Discursive Installation on Algorithmic Regime. Installation view at GAMERZ. Photo by Luce Moreau

Painted by Numbers provides an excellent introduction to the theme of the exhibition. Konrad Becker and Felix Stalder interviewed artists, scientists, activists, artists and experts in technology about their own perspectives on the power of algorithmic realities. The interviews were then segmented and rebuilt into short thematic videos that explore a particular issue (politics, culture, agency, etc.) under different but complementary points of view. The people interviewed talk about the perceived rationality of algorithms, weigh in on the possibility to build algorithm that would better reflect our values, discuss their lack of transparency, the subtle ways in which they are already shaping our cognitive processes, and often secretly scoring of members of society.

The videos are also available for watching online. I would highly recommend that you have a look at them if you have an hour (or 6 times 10 minutes) to spend on short films that efficiently open up all sorts of questions and provocations around the world built on data.
Extra bonus points to the authors of the videos for including women’s perspective (still not something that we should take for granted, alas!)


RYBN, ADM XI at GAMERZ 2016. Photo: Luce Moreau


RYBN, ADM XI at GAMERZ 2016. Photo: Luce Moreau


RYBN, ADM XI at GAMERZ 2016. Photo: Luce Moreau


RYBN, ADM XI at GAMERZ 2016. Photo: Luce Moreau

Important decisions are more and more devolved to machines and programs, making it difficult to determine who (or what) is actually in control. The trend is particularly noticeable in finance where increasingly high number of stock trades are now driven by algorithms.


“Algorithmic Trading. Percentage of Market Volume,” data from Morton Glantz, Robert Kissell. Multi-Asset Risk Modeling: Techniques for a Global Economy in an Electronic and Algorithmic Trading Era. Academic Press, Dec 3, 2013, p. 258.

Many types of algorithmic or automated trading activities can be described as high-frequency trading (HFT), a type of algorithmic trading characterized by such high speeds, such high turnover rates and high order-to-trade ratios that no man would ever dream of comparing to its. Algo trading been the subject of much debate since one of them caused the 2010 Flash Crash which saw nearly $1 trillion of value erased from U.S. stocks and the Dow Jones index lose almost 9% of its value in a matter of minutes. The market rapidly regained its composure and eventually closed 3% lower.

RYBN.ORG is a group of French artists who have been studying algorithmic finance for a number of years but who also created their own trading robot. Using an artificial intelligence algorithm, the autonomous program has been investing and speculating on financial markets since 2011. More recently, the group have invited other artists to join their research platform ADM XI and experiment with counter-intuitive strategies of investment and speculation.

The trading algorithms hosted on the platform follow their own non mercantile and obsessive logic: some attempt to produce a total and irreversible chaos, others try to influence the market prices to make it look like a given geometrical shape, while others tries do saturate the market with non human affects.

Within this contest, benefits are no longer driven by the prices and other economic instruments, but rather, by living organisms – soil, plants, bacteria; by supraterrestrial rules – environmental, astronomical, astrological; or by non-scientific knowledges – esoteric, magic, geomancy, etc.

Suzanne Treister‘s Quantum V algorithm is guided by data from human brains under the influence of psychoactve plants and planetary networks. Horia Cosmin Samoila‘s work submits selected stocks and financial products to an algorithm governed by the Global Consciousness Project, a Princeton University parapsychology experiment that looks for interactions between “global consciousness” and physical systems. Marc Swynghedauw’s HeidiX buys or sells stock according to how likely her actions with help her (she’s a lady bot!) reach the summit of famous mountains. Nicolas Montgermont‘s HADES trading algorithm uses its knowledge in astronomy, astrology and mythology to sell or buy gold. You can find more algorithms on the platform, the logic behind each of them is frankly quite baffling but some of them seem to perform rather well.


Regina de Miguel, Una historia nunca contada desde abajo, 2016. Photo by Luce Moreau

Una historia nunca contada desde abajo (A Story Never Told from Below) is inspired by the Cybersyn or Synco project. The project kicked off in mid-1971, when cybernetic visionary Stafford Beer was approached by a high-ranking member of the newly elected socialist government of Salvador Allende. The scientist was asked if he could apply his cybernetic theories to the management of the public sector of the Chilean economy. The objective of Cybersyn was to use a system of networked telex machines and computers to transmit data from factories to the government, allowing for economic planning in real time. The project was dropped after Pinochet’s 1971 coup.

Regina de Miguel’s film lasts roughly 2 hours and i didn’t get a chance to watch it properly, alas! From what i’ve seen and also gathered from various readings and discussions, it seems that the work looks at times (which might now be regarded as ‘utopian’) when scientists and politicians embraced technology with enthusiasm in the hope that they would genuinely help them govern and improve humanity. However, utopias, even the most revolutionary ones, tend to be betrayed by the systematic failures of the times when they were conceived.


Špela Petrič, Miha Turšič, Dunja Zupančič and Dragan Živadinov, Agents non-humains, installation at GAMERZ 2016. Photo: Luce Moreau


Špela Petrič, Miha Turšič, Dunja Zupančič and Dragan Živadinov, Agents non-humains, installation at GAMERZ 2016. Photo: Luce Moreau


Špela Petrič, Miha Turšič, Dunja Zupančič and Dragan Živadinov, Agents non-humains, installation at GAMERZ 2016. Photo: Luce Moreau


Špela Petrič, Miha Turšič, Dunja Zupančič and Dragan Živadinov, Agents non-humains, installation at GAMERZ 2016. Photo: Luce Moreau


Špela Petrič, Miha Turšič, Dunja Zupančič and Dragan Živadinov, Agents non-humains, performance at GAMERZ 2016. Photo: Luce Moreau


Špela Petrič, Miha Turšič, Dunja Zupančič and Dragan Živadinov, Agents non-humains, performance at GAMERZ 2016. Photo: Luce Moreau

Špela Petrič, Miha Turšič, Dunja Zupančič and Dragan Živadinov believe that the research in arts and humanities should be recognized as development practices complementary to space science and technology. The installation and performance they presented at GAMERZ are part of a broader call to integrate art forms into space programmes.

Živadinov was a co-founder of the avant-garde art collective Neue Slowenische Kunst and the director of the first complete theatre production in zero gravity conditions. In 1995 Živadinov embarked on Noordung 1995-2045, a 50-year theatrical process named after the famous Slovene rocket engineer and pioneer of cosmonautics.

The Noordung 1995-2045 theatre piece is to be repeated on the same day, every ten years, until 2045. Should any of the actors die during this 50 year period (as it happened already with actress Milena Grm), their role will be symbolized on stage by a remote controlled sign that the individual had previously selected. As for their text, it will be replaced by a melody for women and rhythm for men. Since it is highly likely that all actors will have passed away by 2045, all that will remain on the stage for the last performance will be their technological substitutes. Each of these devices will then be sent in the Earth’s orbit from where they will transmit signals back to Earth and also into deep space.


Špela Petrič, Miha Turšič, Dunja Zupančič and Dragan Živadinov, Agents non-humains, performance at GAMERZ 2016. Photo: Luce Moreau

Previously: GAMERZ: Digital tech ‘degenerated’ by craft and kludge.

GAMERZ: Digital tech ‘degenerated’ by craft and kludge


Trailer for the 12th edition of the GAMERZ festival

I’ve attended a fair number of editions of the GAMERZ festival over the years. The event seems to have found a formula that works, developed a personality of its own while always bringing to light new artists, perspectives and ideas that surprise me. Some of the performances are a bit mad and frenzied, a bit raw and totally at odds with the sleek and efficient aesthetics and atmosphere of many other media art festivals. And that’s why GAMERZ remains one of my favourite art appointment of the year.

Under its laid-back guise, GAMERZ is also sharp and subversive. It uses games, interactions and sounds as vehicles to observe a society re-shaped by technology and a technology challenged by artists and hackers.


Tapetronic aka Alexis Malbert performance at GAMERZ. Photo by Luce Moreau


Yann Leguay, Stück für Stöcke

This year, the festival was organized around two fairly different themes. Simulated Universe, curated by Ewen Chardronnet and D. Générer, curated by Quentin Destieu.

Today, I’m going to focus on D. Générer, an exhibition and series of performances that explored the aesthetic peculiar to the kind of “digital” artworks that is guided by craft, kludge and a rowdy DIY spirit. These works are (de)generated by the touch of the human hand. They don’t have the efficient and polished aesthetic of design products, but they have soul, vigor and warmth.

“Researchers an theoreticians have already demonstrated the role of art & science-inspired aesthetics in the service of innovation and industry,” Destieu writes. “But they tend to underestimate the alternative and subversive aesthetic potential of these artistic forms, reducing them to default prototyping. Contrary to American historian Fred Turner’s dearest « makers » movement, in which innovating prototypes are to be eventually re-designed to be mass-made and sold, artists claim a different end to their works.”

Each work selected for the show champions an ‘alternative’ aesthetic that values the glitches of the process and the imperfection of technology. Perhaps even more interestingly, these works present themselves as a kind of anti-Apple squad, they open up their guts and show the mechanisms that brings them to life. By doing so, they suggest that there is an alternative to our passive-impassive consumer attitude and that now has come the time to reconnect with the objects that surround us (no matter how high-tech or low-tech they are) and make them our own:

A quick look at some of the artworks:

Yann Leguay, Arnaud Rivière and Jérôme Fino, DIRECT OUT. Sound experiments in the streets of Mulhouse (France) during the Météo music festival

Arnaud Rivière, DIRECT OUT

Direct Out takes sound creation and sound distribution outside of the concert halls, galleries and other traditional venues for music. The artists behind the work, Yann Leguay, Arnaud Rivière and Jérôme Fino, DIYed their own instruments by repurposing existing gadgets and materials. They then walked around the city looking for street furniture, trees and objects that would make their autonomous modules beep, buzz and resonate. By hooking up onto existing infrastructure, the small devices adopt a parasitic behaviour but they do so while remaining low-key and unobtrusive. They never not attempt to compete with the existing soundscape. Instead, they quietly capture and reveal the untapped energy and confidential vibrations of the urban environment.

If you read french, poptronic has a great write-up of the work.


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Yann Leguay, Stück für Stöcke


Yann Leguay, Stück für Stöcke

With Stück für Stöcke, Yann Leguay replaced with a piece of wood the tablets and phones held by game players in youtube videos. All that remains is the player’s finger gestures. The removal of the usual visual references reminds us of that interfaces are of little use without our own movements. Something that has always been clear to a tech industry obsessed with identifying every single gesture that can be patented and monetized.

Tapetronic aka Alexis Malbert, Scratchette demo 2016


Tapetronic aka Alexis Malbert, Scratchette. Photo by Luce Moreau


Tapetronic aka Alexis Malbert, Scratchette. Photo by Luce Moreau

Scratchettes! The kind of work that cheers me up!

Since 1999, Tapetronic aka Alexis Malbert has been subverting, dissecting and transforming audio tapes, tape-recorders and other ‘old school’ devices into nifty little music machines. His instruments are as bizarre and charming as a ‘turntable’ for cassette tapes, a music sex toy vibrator or a Walkman on wheels. It’s about hacking, creating new sounds with old ones, but also about giving new life and purposes to bits and pieces of metal and plastic that could otherwise have been discarded:

“We’re not obliged to stay abreast with the new developments that big industries thrust on us,” he told Motherboard. “We can transform what already exists so that we can live a new experience.”

Tapetronic DJing his tape settings during GAMERZ. The most important part of his noisemaking art is not so much the K7 itself but the magnetic fields that can be scratched like vinyl:


Tapetronic aka Alexis Malbert performance at GAMERZ. Photo by Luce Moreau


Tapetronic aka Alexis Malbert performance at GAMERZ. Photo by Luce Moreau


Tapetronic aka Alexis Malbert performance at GAMERZ. Photo by Luce Moreau

I think i need to warn you about what comes next. It’s Windows 93 and it’s wild!


Windows 93 at GAMERZ festival. Photo by Luce Moreau


Windows 93 at GAMERZ festival. Photo by Luce Moreau


Windows 93 at GAMERZ festival. Photo by Luce Moreau

Artists Jankenpopp and Zombectro‘s spoof project imagines what could have happened if Microsoft hadn’t skipped a step between Windows 3.X and Windows 95.

The Moss and Roy of French art made a rather convincing parody of an early version of Windows, complete with a 8-bit version of Solitaire called Solitude, silly silly keyboard music, a cat explorer, songs for potatoes, a bit of always on trend GIFs, and icons you’re not sure you should be clicking on.

The speed is not what i would call optimal and as i wrote above, it’s proper bonkers. But also very clever and hilarious, even if you’re everything but a geek and you might not get all the references and innuendos

For the GAMERZ festival, the artists gave a 3rd dimension to their hallucinating pixelated online world and turned it into an installation that takes the form of ’90s cyber-café. It was interesting to watch people sit down and play with the operating system. What i found most curious was that it seemed to appeal to children, teenagers and middle age guys. Some stayed there for the nostalgia factor, others might have been attracted by the (intentional) dysfunctions refreshingly at odds with everything that is meant to make today’s mainstream ‘user experience’ seamless and pleasant.


Benjamin Gaulon, ReFunct Modular. Photo by Luce Moreau for GAMERZ


Benjamin Gaulon, ReFunct Modular. Photo by Luce Moreau for GAMERZ


Benjamin Gaulon, ReFunct Modular. Photo by Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

Refunct Modular is a wall-mounted version of Benjamin Gaulon’s ReFunct Media project. It uses a set of modules, each one connecting to the next using custom made connectors, they share power (5 and 12v), audio signal, video signal and spare lines for misc connections.

The sculpture hacks and repurposes discarded electronic devices, both digital and analogue, combining them into a complex chain of interconnected elements. The possible configurations and appearances of the final sculptures seem to be limited only the artist’s impulses and imagination.

ReFunct Modular doesn’t pretend to be an answer to the questions raised by e-waste, planned obsolescence and lack of sustainable design strategies. Rather, as an installation it experiments and explores unchallenged possibilities of ‘obsolete’ electronic and digital media technologies and our relationship with technologies and consumption.


Benjamin Gaulon, KindleGlitched*. Photo by Luce Moreau for GAMERZ


Benjamin Gaulon, KindleGlitched*. Photo by Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

KindleGlitched* is a work that explores the (so far grossly neglected) aesthetics of Planned Obsolescence. The work is a series of glitched kindles donated, found or bought on eBay. They have stopped working and would have ended up on a dump somewhere in Ghana if the artist hadn’t seen their singular beauty, signed them and sold them on Amazon as an insolent gesture of Retail Poisoning.


Reso-nance Numérique, Chimères Orchestra at GAMERZ festival


Reso-nance Numérique, Chimères Orchestra. Photo by Luce Moreau


Reso-nance Numérique, Chimères Orchestra. Photo by Luce Moreau

Chimères Orchestra are drummer-robots that hook onto urban structures. The metallic creatures play with the sonic capabilities of the built environment by drumming onto them with their little legs. The work is playful but also a bit mysterious and worrying. The creatures live above your head, dance with a mind that seems to be their own and seem to combine traditional percussion with coding mechanic with surprising ease. If simple machines can already exploit our architectures and music traditions now, imagine how robots will surpass and humble human creativity in the near future!

GAMERZ. “Playing is a serious business” (Part 2)

For a proper intro to the event, please check out: GAMERZ Part 1. Playing is a serious business.

Second and last chapter of my report from the GAMERZ festival, one of the very few French festivals that doesn’t play it safe nor stiff with a programme that endorses the unexpected, a laid-back atmosphere, a few famous names but also an impressive line-up of fresh talents. Plus, it’s in Aix-en-Provence so as the French say “y’a pas photo!” (which means something like ‘it’s a no-brainer.’)

The first part of my report from the festival covered the artworks dealing directly with gaming. From the games inspired by Stanley Kubrick to the installation that virtually kills you as soon as you enter the (physical) exhibition space.

This second part of my notes cover the works that remain playful and ingenious but that experiment with the interfaces, languages, tensions and dynamics of technologies:

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Balint Bolygo, Trace II, 2012. Photo by Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Balint Bolygo, Trace II, 2012. Photo by Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Balint Bolygo, Trace II, 2012. Photo by Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Balint Bolygo, Trace II, 2012. Photo by Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

Balint Bolygo‘s Trace II is a mechanical 3D scanner that slowly draws a 3D mapping of objects placed on it -in this case a cast of the artist’s head- and translates the undulations onto a rotating cylindrical surface. The device functions like a mechanical computer reduced to its bare essentials: the code or program is a 3D plaster object, the mechanical parts are the hardware and the screen takes the form of paper and pen.

Trace II’s topographical mappings evoke images generated by high technologies such as MRI scans, 3D scanning, etc. The difference is that this kinetic sculpture is an open structure where the workings are visible and easy to read, allowing the viewer to reconnect with the process behind the image production. This transparency in the mechanism and process is so unexpected nowadays that it becomes strangely fascinating.

The sculptural device has a darker edge to it. It not only alludes to contemporary high tech but it also recalls pseudoscientific concepts such as phrenology, physiognomy, and craniometry.

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Line Kernel, PerlinRocks, 2015

PerlinRocks is a small factory that manufactures small rocks. The 3D printer slowly and tirelessly prints little rocks in compostable plastic. Each of its creation is slightly different from the other, just like the rocks you find in nature. For some reason, i was incredibly moved by this quiet mass-production of small artificial artefacts that will eventually dissolve into nature itself.

The work uses Perlin Noise, an algorithm that was originally developed for the movie Tron back in 1983 to add video noise to the 3D layers. Now used in creative coding applications and games, the algorithm is often used to recreate natural shapes in 3D.

The artist writes:

The name of the piece could be “this is not a sculpture (but an algorithm)” as a reference that the emphasis of the piece is not about showing the result, because it could take many different form, but the fact that behind any generative work there is an algorithm, and here I took Perlin Noise, one of the most versatile, well known, and most used Algorithm, a algorithm so great that we could from times to times swear that it is actually the algorithm that orchestrate some parts of the nature around us

.

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Cheng Guo, Mouth Factory. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Cheng Guo, Mouth Factory, 2012. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Cheng Guo, Mouth Factory. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ


Cheng Guo, Mouth Factory-5 Sequences that demonstrate a different application of the apparatuses

Mouth Factory is a set of machines designed to be operated by the mouth. By wearing one of the instruments, you become a piece of the instrument yourself. There’s a ‘tongue extruder’ which squeezes out Play-Doh at the push of the tongue, a drill operated by chewing, a vacuum forming tool that allows you to mould objects by inhaling, a lathe to spin and cut a piece of wood, etc.

As a comment on human enhancement, Mouth Factory is investigating news modes of production. The aesthetic of the devices is quite striking. Each of them recalls dental braces, only even more oppressive and distorting for the features. Besides, if used regularly, the instruments will leave their mark by gradually modifying the features of the human face.

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Paul Destieu, Archive d’une frappe. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Paul Destieu, Archive d’une frappe. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Paul Destieu, Archive d’une frappe. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

Archive d’une frappe (Archive of a hit) is part of a research exploring the materialization of sound and musical forms.

The work visualizes and make tangible the unfolding of a given gesture performed by a musician playing a drum. Once captured, synthetized and 3D printed, the hit on the musical instrument is extracted as a physical counter-form both from the interpreter and the drumstick.

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Scott Sinclair and Pierre-Erick Lefebvre, The Superusers, Anaglyph 3D performance, 2015. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Scott Sinclair and Pierre-Erick Lefebvre / The Superusers, Anaglyph 3D performance, 2015. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

The Superusers had a spectacularly hypnotizing multi-screen installation to be viewed with 3D glasses. The work attempts to capture the thrill and science-fiction nostalgia of early 3D films whilst also embracing the failures of the technology.

Each screen shows the creation, propagation, and destruction of a separate digital cosmos. Faceless satellites gracefully dance and sing atop an alien landscape in a disturbed sense of synaesthesia. These objects are then pushed through a flowering of ‘trailspace’ where they meet and bind to highly mutated versions of themselves, starting them on a path to overpopulation and Designed-To-Fail ruin. Like a self-sabotaging assembly line, depictions of smooth geometry continually commit suicide in their failed in their efforts to surpass the complexity of natural forms.

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Jonah Brucker-Cohen, Alerting Infrastructure!, 2003. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

I can’t believe Alerting Infrastructure! is almost 13 years old. The pneumatic jackhammer is hanging by a wall, getting into action and drilling each time someone visits the festival website.

The amount of structural damage to the building directly correlates to the amount of exposure and attention the web site gets, thus exposing the physical structure’s temporal existence……This way visitors to the physical space can get a sense of how many online visitors have come and gone and experience their presence as the walls slowly deteriorate.

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Lucien Gaudion, O, 2015. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Lucien Gaudion, O, 2015. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

Point O, a title which refers to the point of origin within a geometrical space, aims to reveal the architectural tension of the space. Two loudspeakers are suspended by metal cables at the centre of a room which constitutes the Point O. Micro piezoelectric materials capture the vibrations of the loudspeakers into the taut cables and turn them into audio signals within the loudspeakers, generating audio feedbacks.

More photos from the festival:

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The Vasarely Foundation, one of the main exhibition space of the festival. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Inside the Vasarely Foundation, one of the main exhibition space of the festival. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Gamerz festival. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Emilie Gervais, *So Happy I Could Die (Lady Gaga cover)*, site web interactif, XIV. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Emilie Gervais, *So Happy I Could Die (Lady Gaga cover)*, site web interactif, XIV. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Gamerz festival 2015. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Emmanuelle Grangier, Link Human / Robot, performance, vernissage du Festival GAMERZ 11, 6 novembre 2015. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Nao, Monkey TURN, performance, GAMERZ 11 opening, 6 novembre 2015. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Nao, Monkey TURN, performance, GAMERZ 11 opening, 6 novembre 2015. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Philippe Boisnard and Arnaud Courcelle, Shape_of_Memory, 2015. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Philippe Boisnard and Arnaud Courcelle, Shape_of_Memory, 2015. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

My photos are here. And these are the ones made by the festival photographer.
Previously: GAMERZ Part 1. Playing is a serious business.

GAMERZ Part 1: Playing is a serious business

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Pippin Barr, Let’s play : the Shining and The junior mint. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Pippin Barr, Let’s play : the Shining

In his influential 1938 book Homo Ludens, cultural theorist Johan Huizinga argued that play is an essential condition to the development of cultures. This year’s edition of GAMERZ in Aix en Provence not only demonstrated that there is indeed nothing trivial about play but the event also explored how our relationship to play has changed with the advances of technology. And, more interestingly, it invited visitors to join artists whose work investigates how the digital age is changing man, whether we’re talking about Huizinga’s homo ludens, the working man (Homo Faber) or more generally the modern man (Homo sapiens.)

With this premise, the festival could either have dived into the amusement arcade extravaganza with an arty pretense or taken the dry and austere road of turning play into a series of humourless exhibits relying on deep theory (don’t look at me like that, the French are really good at organizing this type of hyper analytical events.) GAMERZ combined the best of both worlds with a series of performances, discussions and an exhibition that could clearly be enjoyed by the most art-phobic but that also critically investigated how the dialectic, gestures, dynamics and instruments of gaming have infiltrated many aspects of our life. From education to art, from fashion to warfare, from language to advertising, etc.

One of the interesting phenomenons about game is that techniques and experiments that were pioneered by artists, users and hackers feed into the R&D labs. And vice-versa, with innovations about interfaces, control systems and interactions bouncing back and forth between these two worlds and eventually seeping into mainstream consumption and culture.

As curator Quentin Destieu writes in his introductory essay for the festival:

These new interfaces are available for everyone, and have inspired new generations of artists who use these mass technologies with fun and spontaneity. The artists are therefore involved in creating the “Digital homo ludens”, a new human species that turns these products into creation tools.

There was a lot to like and blog about in this 11th edition of GAMERZ. I’ll start by focusing on the artworks that focus more literally on this theme of the digital homo ludens: the video games, many of which you will be able to play online by clicking on the links i’ve provided below:

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Pippin Barr, Let’s play : the Shining and The junior mint. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Pippin Barr, Let’s play : the Shining


Pippin Barr at Festival GAMERZ 11

Pippin Barr was THE discovery of the festival for me. Let’s Play: The Shining is a game adaptation of Stanley Kubrick’s movie of the same name. The film is broken down into its most iconic scenes: the carpeted corridors that lead the tricycle to the creepy twins, Jack hacking through the door with an axe, the blood elevator, the hedge maze, etc

The graphic and animations are retro Atari-style but the feeling of uneasiness that characterizes the film remains. You’ve got to play the game to understand how brilliant it is.

The other Barr work shown at the festival was The Junior Mint, it’s an homage to Seinfeld and i won’t write anything and pretend i get all its wittiness because i’ve never seen that tv series. You can play it by clicking over here. As for me, i’m partial to a bit of curse from the Olympian gods so i’ll just go back to playing Ancient Greek Punishment. It wasn’t presented at GAMERZ but i discovered it while clicking around the website of this brilliant artist.

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Robin Moretti and Yohan Dumas, Blockbuster, 2015

Blockbuster combines data journalism and Hollywood cinema to examine the conflict in Iraq. The artwork used data found on Wikileaks Iraq to chart on a Google map the improvised explosive devices that blew up in the country since 2004. Each explosion is marked by a little red dot. When you click on one of those red dots, a video of explosion from a movie is played.

The title of the piece goes back to the original meaning of the word blockbuster. A blockbuster bomb was one of the largest bombs used in WWII by the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force and the explosive power of its blast was such that it could destroy an entire street or large building.

The project attempts to open up journalistic data to the broad public, in a ludic yet critical way that questions media representation of conflicts and individual perception of war.

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Molleindustria and Jim Munroe, Unmanned, 2012

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Molleindustria and Jim Munroe, Unmanned, 2012. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

The Unmanned video game puts you in the boots of an UAV pilot. Which is rather ironic considering that drone warfare has often been compared to video game playing. The soldier sits behind a screen, pressing buttons, shooting targets and generally not being taken very seriously. Yet piloting drones comes with its own responsibilities and traumas.

Your character is a father, a husband and a drone pilot with a seemingly unspectacular life. During the day you participate to UAV attacks. In the evening, you go back home to your suburban life. Throughout the game sessions, you collect medals for rather absurd “achievements” (well, in theory because i never managed to get even one medal.) You get rewarded when you don’t shed blood while shaving, for example. On the other hand, if you’re working and shoot without authorization a target wearing a turban, your only punition is to fill in forms.

Unmanned reveals the conflicts that rage inside a pilot’s mind. How is it possible to dissociate your professional life from your private one? A dilemma particularly discernible when the soldier is at home, playing first-person shooter games with his son. How does finding yourself so far away from the battlefield affect the life of the people around you? Who do you share your concerns and trauma with when even your own family doesn’t value what you’re doing for a living?

Unmanned was written by science fiction author Jim Munroe and politically-engaged game studio Molleindustria.

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Bastien Vacherand, Syndrome de la turret, 2015. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

The installation Syndrome de la turret consists of a 3D-printed automatic machine gun from the Half-Life 2 video game and a CCTV screen where the visitor virtually triggers his own death. The system detects your presence as you enter the room, turns it into an on-screen character and automatically kills it with a machine gun.

As for the sculpture, it counts 54 different parts that were printed using a small desktop 3D printer and then assembled and glued to form the full scale model. The size of the physical weapon reflects the one in the game. It is therefore 1.65 m high. When the artist installed it in the exhibition space, it stood there for a couple of minutes and then it just crumbled. The artist decided to leave it as it was, with bits and pieces scattered across the floor. The broken machine gun reflects the tensions inherent to the video game medium but also the fact that any object found in video game has its own logic and respond to other laws of physics than the ones that govern our tangible world.

Turret Syndrome proposes to bypass the video game space and the opportunity of a virtual tour by restraining interaction to a simple triggering action with a violent and baneful ending.

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Labomedia, La Course de cri pédo-nazi

The premise of La Course de cri pédo-nazi (Paedo-nazi shouting race) made me laugh out loud: Internet is only used by two kinds of people – paedophiles and Nazis. To play, you pick up your cute but ambiguous side: team Kitler or team Pedobear and shout as stridently as you can to prove that you hold the truth and conquer the Internet.

Above the characters is the Microsoft Internet logo as it appeared on every Windows Desk in the late nineties, a time when it became so widely used it put other web browsers such as Netscape put out of business. As the artists wittily note: Not to mention that Microsoft had the brilliant idea to name its web browser “Internet Explorer”. If you cannot make the difference between the Web and the Internet, now you know who is to be blamed.

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Dolls in the Kitchen, culinary performance for the opening night of GAMERZ. Photos Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

My photos are here. And these are the ones made by Luce Moreau, the festival photographer.

Copie Copains Club, a community of artists who copy each other

During the last edition of the GAMERZ festival, i discovered the existence of the Copie Copains Club (Copy Companion Club), a community of artists who copy each other. To become a member of the club, you either copy a fellow artist or you are copied by them. It's that easy!

Copie Copains Club aims to highlight the art of copying in the Post-Internet era. Today, the works and their representations circulating on the web become themselves available materials, ready to be replayed by other artists. At a time when production companies and governments toil to outlaw copying, CCC aims to be a space where everyone can freely enjoy the copying: a playground where contemporary artists or geeks designers of all generations and all countries can question their relation to intellectual property and their own creation.

Copie Copains Club is a cheerful, provocative project. More importantly, it offers the art community an informal space to discuss copyright, creativity, plagiarism, fair use of existing images and other issues that the art world has long been debating over but that internet culture has reinvigorated.

It is also interesting to note that the initiative comes from France, a country where copyright infringement laws are particularly stringent.

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Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Joëlle Bitton, Weather Desktop Project. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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.... inspired by Olafur Eliasson's The Weather Project

Copie Copains Club started as a platform and a licence but the experiment was given the opportunity to take on a physical presence when GAMERZ invited the artists behind CCC to curate an exhibition based on the works that follow the CCC rules. Some of the 'copies' merely put an humorous spin on the original, others added depth and an extra layer of reflection.

I talked to artists/curators Emilie Brout, Caroline Delieutraz & Maxime Marion about the CCC experience:

(The artists answered me in french. Just scroll down to read the original text.)

Hi, Caroline, Emilie and Maxime! I like the name Copie Copains Club. It's cheerful and melodic. Why did you chose this name? What did you want to convey with it?

We wanted a meaningful, funny and that sounded good. The CCC is a club of friends who copy each other. Like the project, it is "cute" but also a bit provocative, in particular because it includes the term copy, even if we're actually talking more about détournements, remixes and tributes. The acronym "CCC" is rich in references, and "CCC license" is a direct spin on the Creative Commons license.

Why did you start this project? I remember Maxime telling me in Aix-en-Provence about the situation of p2p exchange in France. So is there a political motivation behind the CCC?

There is of course a political motivation, especially in a country like France where the right to intellectual property is particularly strict. Add to that laws such as HADOPI and a long tradition in which the artist is both protected but also hindered in its practice. The artist is not necessarily a victim of the copy, it feeds on it. The CCC is intended to dramatize a little bit this issue, attacking the copyright idea collectively with a smile and some nice nuances. But we also wanted to create a playground, a space for exchange and dialogue that uses artworks as a go-between.

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Djeff, Super Google Clouds. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Djeff, Super Google Clouds. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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... inspired by Cory Arcangel's Super Mario Clouds

Many people like to repeat Picasso's quote "Good artists copy, great artists steal." Nonetheless, copying still has a bad rep' in society of course but also in the art world. Why do you think there is still a lot of stigma in art against copying?

Copying in creation is a very old question, and it is surprising to see that it is still raised in a society where ownership and piracy are completely mainstream (who has never used one of the first images popping up on a Google search without even wondering where it came from?) What remains sensitive, is the personal relationship that each artist has with their creation, their own "originality". Many artists are still afraid of being dispossessed, yet each work, inspired or not by another one, matters for the personality that the artist will inject into it. The CCC is also a place where you can show without any embarrassment works that look a bit too much like other works (whether they were produced before or after), a place where everyone and no one can be called a copycat.

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S. Aubry & S. Bourg, One shot date painting. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Arnaud Cohen, More Human Than Human. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

How was CCC received by artists whose work had been copied? Did they all feel flattered or did the copies create discontent? Did you find for example that artists who are used to working in tech/digital/new media contexts react differently from artists who are working with more 'traditional' media and ideas?

For an active member of the CCC, being copied is a great honor, it means that someone took the time to reflect on, study, question your work ... The 4th rule of CCC requires you to notify the original author of the fact that they have been copied with a message like this: "Hello, you have been copied with such project, unless you specify otherwise you are now a member of the club and are now free to copy whoever you want". This friendly approach may explain why there has ultimately never been any problem nor removal request. Regardless of age or discipline, the project was generally well received, even by the most recognized artists. And if there is no reaction, we assume that "Silence is consent." This is what the club advocates: we first copy, then we inform, which is subtly different from the standard practice.

How is the CCC database growing? Do you get regular submissions?

Everyone is free to participate and join the club as long as they follow the rules of the manifesto. Such as copying only living artists (Rule 2), or to copy a "buddy" if this is a first copy (Rule 1). The buddy list (nearly a hundred to date) continues to grow steadily. The more the merrier :)

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Grégoire Lauvin, Brrrr! Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Grégoire Lauvin, Brrrr! Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Grégoire Lauvin, Brrrr! Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

CCC 'got physical' for the last edition of the GAMERZ festival in Aix-en-Provence. How did you select the artists who were exhibited? Did you commission some works or did you only chose from the works already available on the CCC database?

Artists and projects were selected directly from the website, but some were still at the idea stage. For example, Brrrr! by Gregory Lauvin existed only in the form of sketches, and the Gamerz exhibited made it possible to produce it. As this was the first physical CCC exhibition, we selected pieces which references were easily recognizable, this facilitated the reading of the overall project.

However, each of these copies had their own relationship to the original work, have very different approaches: distant reference, resonance between personal experience and the one of the referent artist, purely formal détournement, criticism, etc. We were also pleased with the way the works became autonomous, conversed with each other and raised new issues, such as the relationship between "real" and "virtual", transhumanism ...

And do you otherwise work with the notion of copy culture in your own practice?

The concept of appropriation is fully integrated within our respective practices, so that this is not even a claim or a militant act as was the case for artists of previous generations (Sherry Levine, Christian Marclay, etc.) This is a medium like any other, and it happens to be ours. So we very often use the media produced by other people, we focus on their history, on the why and how they were produced, the people they were intended to reach, the paths they traveled and the way to reassemble them in order to produce new forms. This has naturally led us to reflect on issues related to intellectual property.

Thanks Caroline, Emilie and Maxime!

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Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Annabelle Ameline, Où est Raymond? Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Emmanuel Laflamme, Survival of the Fittest. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

Réponses en français:

I like the name Copie Copains Club. It's cheerful and melodic. Why did you chose this name? What did you want to convey with it?

Nous voulions un nom explicite, drôle et qui sonnait bien. Le CCC est un club de copains qui se copient. A l'image du projet, il est "mignon" mais un brin provocateur notamment par l'utilisation du terme copie, même s'il s'agit en réalité plus de détournements, de remixes ou d'hommages. L'acronyme "CCC" est riche en références, et la "licence CCC" est une variation directe de la licence Creative Commons.

Why did you start this project? I remember Maxime telling me in Aix-en-Provence about the situation of p2p exchange in France. So is there a political motivation behind the CCC?

Il y a bien sûr une motivation politique, notamment en France où le droit à la propriété intellectuelle est particulièrement lourd, en plus de lois telles que Hadopi et d'une longue tradition où l'artiste est à la fois protégé mais aussi entravé dans sa pratique. L'artiste n'est pas forcément une victime de la copie, il s'en nourrit, le CCC a pour but de dédramatiser un peu cette question, en attaquant l'idée de copyright collectivement, avec le sourire et de jolis dégradés. Mais nous avions aussi envie de créer un terrain de jeu, un espace d'échange et de dialogue par oeuvres interposées.

Many people like to repeat Picasso's quote "Good artists copy, great artists steal. " Nonetheless, copying still has a bad rep' in society of course but also in the art world. Why do you think there is still a lot of stigma in art against copying?

La copie dans la création est une question très ancienne, et il est étonnant de voir qu'elle est encore sensible dans une société où l'appropriation et le piratage sont complètement banalisés (qui n'a pas déjà utilisé l'une des premières images renvoyées par Google sans se demander d'où elle provenait ?). Ce qui reste sensible, c'est le rapport personnel que chaque artiste entretient avec sa création, sa propre "originalité". De nombreux artistes craignent ainsi encore de se faire déposséder, or chaque oeuvre, inspirée ou non d'une autre, compte surtout pour la personnalité que l'artiste va y injecter. Le CCC est donc aussi un lieu où l'on peut montrer sans gêne des oeuvres qui ressemblent un peu trop à d'autres (qu'elles aient été produites avant ou après), un lieu où tout le monde et personne ne peut être traité de copieur.

How was CCC received by artists whose work had been copied? Did they all feel flattered or did the copies create discontent? Did you find for example that artists who are used to working in tech/digital/new media contexts react differently from artists who are working with more 'traditional' media and ideas?

Pour un membre actif du CCC, être copié est un grand honneur, cela signifie que quelqu'un a pris du temps pour se pencher sur son travail, l'étudier, le questionner... La règle 4 du CCC impose de notifier l'auteur original du fait qu'il ait été copié, avec un message du type : "Bonjour, vous avez été copié avec tel projet, et sauf mention contraire de votre part vous êtes à présent membre du club et êtes libre de copier qui vous souhaitez à votre tour". Cette approche sympathique explique peut-être qu'il n'y ait finalement jamais eu le moindre problème ni aucune demande de retrait. Indifféremment de l'âge ou de la discipline, le projet est généralement bien reçu, même par les artistes les plus reconnus. Et s'il n'y aucune réaction, nous partons du principe que "qui ne dit mot consent". C'est ce que revendique le Club : on copie d'abord, on informe ensuite, ce qui est subtilement différent de la pratique courante.

How is the CCC database growing? Do you get regular submissions?

Chacun est libre de participer et de devenir membre du club tant qu'il respecte les règles du manifeste, comme le fait de ne copier que des artistes vivants (règle 2), ou de copier forcément un "copain" s'il s'agit d'une première copie (règle 1). La liste de copains (près d'une centaine à ce jour) continue de s'allonger régulièrement. Plus on est de fous plus on rit :)

CCC 'got physical' for the last edition of the GAMERZ festival in Aix-en-Provence. How did you select the artists who were exhibited? Did you commission some works or did you only chose from the works already available on the CCC database?

Les artistes et projets ont été directement sélectionnés sur le site, mais certains n'étaient alors qu'à l'état d'idée. Brrrr! de Grégoire Lauvin par exemple existait uniquement sous forme de croquis, et l'exposition soutenue par le festival Gamerz a permis de la produire. Comme il s'agissait de la première exposition physique du CCC, nous avons choisi des pièces dont la référence était assez reconnaissable, pour faciliter la lecture du projet global. Mais ces copies, ayant toutes un rapport différent à leur original, présentent des approches très variées : référence lointaine, résonance entre son expérience personnelle et celle de l'artiste référent, détournement purement formel, critique, etc. Nous avons également été ravis de la manière dont les oeuvres, alors devenues autonomes, dialoguaient entre elles et soulevaient de nouvelles problématiques, telles que le rapport entre "réel" et "virtuel", le transhumanisme...

And do you otherwise work with the notion of copy culture in your own practice?

L'appropriation est une notion complètement intégrée dans nos pratiques respectives, si bien qu'il ne s'agit même plus d'un acte revendiqué ou militant comme cela pouvait l'être pour des artistes des générations précédentes (Sherry Levine, Christian Marclay...) : c'est un médium comme un autre, simplement c'est le nôtre. Nous avons donc recours extrêmement souvent à l'emploi de médias produits par d'autres personnes, en nous intéressant à leur histoire, pourquoi et comment ils ont été produits, à qui ils sont destinés, quels chemins ils parcourent et comment les réassembler pour produire de nouvelles formes. Nous avons donc été naturellement amenés à réfléchir aux questions liées à la propriété intellectuelle.

Merci Caroline, Emilie et Maxime!

Previously: The 10th edition of GAMERZ. From dancing trash bag to dichotomic perception + Hold On, when a joystick manipulates Hollywood.

The 10th edition of GAMERZ. From dancing trash bag to dichotomic perception

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View of the Fondation Vasarely. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Adelin Schweitzer, Dichotomie #Eyeswalking, 2013

Here's my -as usual- very belated and -as usual- very enthusiastic review of the GAMERZ festival which took place in Aix-en-Provence so many days ago i refuse to count.

«The liberation of the game, its creative autonomy, supersedes the ancient division between imposed work and passive leisure» May 17, 1960. Excerpt from the Situationist international manifesto.

The 10th edition of the festival celebrated thus the death of passive leisure in the hands of games and art as well as the transformation of the compliant consumer into a creative user and abuser of technology. The exhibitions across town also investigated how the digital environment impacts and disrupts people's development at conscious and unconscious levels (cognitive, social, psychological, among others) and looked at how these often invisible adjustments can be harnessed in alternative social, economic, political or ecological practices.

The result is a free exhibition that proved, once again, that a digital art event can be both highly entertaining and smart. But the one thing that strikes me the most about GAMERZ is that, year after year, the festival manages to uncover and select young artists whose work i would otherwise not know about. And they are pretty good at spotting talents. The portfolio of artists like Labomedia, Antonin Foruneau, Jackenpopp, Maxime Marion & Emilie Brout or Paul Destieu has gone from strength to strength ever since i discovered their work at GAMERZ.

Here's what the 2014 edition brought us (and there's more to come):

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Lucien Gaudion, Spectra, installation for prepared vinyl, 2011. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Lucien Gaudion, Spectra, installation for prepared vinyl, 2011. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

Spectra, by Lucien Gaudion, is a vinyl printed with a chromatic circle, like the picture discs that were so popular up until the 1970s. As the record needle travels around the vinyl, the sound spectrum of each colour is made audible, from its lowest to highest frequencies, by a reading cell scanning the surface.

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Ink Geyser (Mapping), Mathieu Tremblin, 2011-2014. Part of F.A.T. Lab, Like Jacking. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Mathieu Tremblin, Ink Geyser (Mapping), 2011-2014. Part of F.A.T. Lab, Like Jacking. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Mathieu Tremblin, Dancing Trashbag, 2011. Part of F.A.T. Lab, Like Jacking. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Addie Wagenknecht & Pablo Garcia, Webcam Venus, 2013

F.A.T. Lab was exhibiting a series of artworks ranging from a Dancing Trashbag to a Cam bootleg screening of The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard.

Each of these artworks exploits the concept of LikeJacking Spam (a kind of spam targeted at social network) but by sharing their source code, the artists want to stimulate empowerment through poetic/activist/humorous perturbations.

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Adelin Schweitzer, Dichotomie #Eyeswalking, multimedia installation, 2013. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Adelin Schweitzer, Dichotomie #Eyeswalking, multimedia installation, 2013. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Adelin Schweitzer, Dichotomie #Eyeswalking, multimedia installation, 2013. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Adelin Schweitzer, Dichotomie #Eyeswalking, multimedia installation, 2013. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

If one subtracts what the eye can see from what the ear can perceive, what remains of our perception of a given place ? What does our body become when it's not anymore the actor of our perceptions?

These are the questions at the origin of Adelin Schweitzer's exploration of the notion of dichotomy. The artist was showing two pieces where natural and artificial perceptions play with and against one another.

Dichotomie #Eyeswalking is made of two videos that document Schweitzer's walk in the snowy Canadian landscape. One gives a traditional, horizontal view of someone walking and is shown on a (traditional again) video screen. The other is shot from above, from a bouquet of balloons he is carrying along. It is screened inside a pedestal and you have to bend your head and watch inside goggles to watch that perspective. Constantly looking up to the wall screen in order to compare the two perspective is irresistible but if you stick to watching the perspective from above, it almost feels as if your body is pulled up and the scene is unfolding below your body.

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Yro, Bernard Szajner, Jesse Lucas & Erwan Raguenes, Persystograf. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Yro, Bernard Szajner, Jesse Lucas & Erwan Raguenes, Persystograf. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Yro, Bernard Szajner, Jesse Lucas & Erwan Raguenes, Persystograf. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

Inspired by an old instrument called the hurdy-gurdy, the Persystograf is activated by a hand crank. It emits sounds and images that can be customized using additional control knobs.

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Art of Failure, Flat Earth Society, 2008-2014. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Art of Failure, Flat Earth Society, 2008-2014. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ


Art of Failure, Flat Earth Society

Flat earth society takes readings from the stylus of topographic radar, cuts them into vinyl and then plays them back with a stylus.

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Gaspard and Sandra Bebie-Valerian aka Art-Act, Viridis. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Gaspard and Sandra Bebie-Valerian aka Art-Act, Viridis. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Gaspard and Sandra Bebie-Valerian aka Art-Act, Viridis

Viridis is both an online survival game and a fully-operative spirulina farm run by artists Gaspard and Sandra Bebie-Valérian.

The Viridis game is set in a post-apocalyptic world, in which humans owe their survival to spirulina, the "green counterpoison". But what makes the game interesting is that it gives players the possibility to collaborate with the farmers on the daily management of the real spirulina farm. Players can convert their points into daily tasks or items, vote in referendums about the cultivation of spirulina, etc.

More images from the festival:

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Screening of Machinimas selected by Isabelle Arvers. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Olivier Morvan, à ton image (le projet escapologique, épisode VIII). Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Olivier Morvan, à ton image (le projet escapologique, épisode VIII). Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Olivier Morvan, à ton image (le projet escapologique, épisode VIII). Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Olivier Morvan, à ton image (le projet escapologique, épisode VIII). Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Performances at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Opening night at the Fondation Vasarely. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Opening night at the Fondation Vasarely. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Catering of the opening night by Dolls in the Kitchen. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Catering of the opening night by Dolls in the Kitchen. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Performance at the Fondation Vasarely. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

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Guillaume Stagnaro, Fluorescent Umwelt, at the Fondation Vasarely. Photo Luce Moreau for GAMERZ

Loooots more photos over here.