Theu all think of themselves as the source

 

Marc Boissonnade

The purpose of this text is undecided. What is in the process of being sketched, the remarks and ideas forming in planetariums, seems to invent itself with no specific focus point. There’s no reforming spirit here, just an innocent presence to see if it’s still possible, in the suddenness of a desire, to be able to negotiate through the first sky encountered, real or simulated. This is the middle of a project that will probably be written firstly and based around this middle, and we’ll try and find befores and afters. Because we will need beginnings and ends; things cannot be left entirely to chance. 

 

It is not about inventing a new version of a planetarium or devising another planetarium. Instead of adding, we prefer the idea of removing or subtracting. What? We don’t know yet, so that, as things stand, it would be better to talk about one less planetarium. Our attitude is that of ‘non-astronomers’ in the sense of people who have not yet encountered the question of astronomy for themselves but who nonetheless wish to make this ‘outsider’ situation into the vector for a journey. If we succeed, this journey could perhaps render discernible or even perceptible and conceivable what might have been forgotten or left aside in the idea of a planetarium. In this context, it feels as though we are supported by an intuition, of those who seek the means of a “What if?” What if, for example, a planetarium had something to do with a performance? Especially to skirt around certain ‘transitional’ moments, those somewhat superfluous moments that often link the various sequences of an account to give a ‘natural’ feeling to the whole, an illusion of reality. Instead of that, borne by voices and movements, an effective presence that tries to organise itself without knowing the ‘real’ content of astronomy, and that strives to put together what, until then, was provided to unify: us, the sky, the moon, time, the planets, stars, galaxies and nebula. Here, nothing will ever be immediate or direct; it will always be through what and whom we meet – both people and stars – that new configurations will be ushered in.

In a performance, everything takes shape slowly, fortuitously, at the discretion of the situations created by the participants. It’s a bit like bleached elements that you have to reconstitute by means of a series of circumstances. It means that we don’t ‘perform’ to have the sky, the stars or the planets explained to us; we are there to enrich these ‘objects’, to invest them with meaning, especially by multiplying the situations that can produce such meanings. The performance provides a collective duration that reassures and at the same is essentially influenced by its own occupants: it’s a moment of proximity but one that is fuelled by the unpredictable sharing of the relationships that unfold there. What’s more, this dimension is reinforced by the fact that neither the participants nor the sky, with its heavenly bodies and its stars, have, strictly speaking, fixed and determined identities. The first are constantly challenged by the ambiguous “perhaps” they get from those that follow. In this plot, the participants will make more progress as they learn to distinguish the verbs ‘propose’ and ‘dispose’: what is being proposed? Are we disposed to take it into consideration? What have we got to propose and what do we dispose of to do it? We believe that this distinction is the source of a series of effects; thus, the phenomena of comprehension, emotion, discordance or, on the contrary, incorporation may emerge, and all this without necessarily the support of a predominant element: neither from a ‘central character’ hidden behind the traits of the performer/observer, nor from the ‘scenery’ formed by the sky, its heavenly bodies and its planets.

Performed only once or often repeated, based on – or not – a storyline, improvised or the result of endless rehearsals, etc. The very substance of this planetarium has the ability to surprise in view of the summary description of its possible unfolding and the apparent contradiction it seems to encompass: using a process as free as performance to try and establish an approach just the slightest bit stable. But at this stage, it doesn’t matter, because the sake of a performance does not lie in the relevance and the precise definition of the elements that could, in the end, make up these situations. Instead it hopes, through the play of connections, parallels and interferences that will be established, to bond the amateur and astronomy in a different way.

 

Photo: PIERRE ANTOINE

Ils se prennent tous pour leur origine

Propagation of monotony

Exhibition
2nd - 27th October, 2017

 

Yann Fabès, Director of École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle - Les ateliers (ENSCI), and Daniel Véron, F93's chairman, are pleased to invite you to the exhibition Propagation de la monotonie. An approach designed by F93 to tell the story of the vast scientific equipment that is the Large Hadrons Collider (LHC). With the original contributions of Sophie Houdart, Simon Goubert, Grégoire Eloy, Stéphane Sautour, Eric Jourdan and Gaël Hugo. 

 

at « La Galerie des Ateliers » de l'ENSCI - 48 rue Saint Sabin 75011, Paris. Open every day from 10am to 6pm.

Photos: PIERRE ANTOINE, SEBASTIEN AGNETTI

Exhibition ensci
Exhibition ensci
Exhibition ensci
Exhibition ensci
Exhibition ensci

Contemplations

Marc Boissonnade

 

The art historian Patricia Falguières, and Marc Boissonnade, head of F93, the centre for scientific culture, are currently working together on an approach devoted to the triple disaster of Fukushima in Japan. Alongside this experiment, which connects the cultures of the arts and the sciences, they wanted to instigate a discussion inspired by two anniversaries: the Centre Pompidou celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017 and the Cité des sciences its 30th anniversary in 2016. To launch the process, they had the idea of a seminar at the EHESS, essentially shaped by guests who were, or still are, in some way involved in the Pompidou or the Cité. 

 

Not to renounce the idea of a policy for arts and culture, to consider the undeniable progress that this policy has made, but, at the same time, to continue to analyse and review the places where this policy has been able to be incorporated. In the current cultural situation in France, two recently-celebrated institutions can offer this kind of support: the Centre Pompidou and the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie. At first glance, there is something ambivalent about both of them; an attachment yet also a kind of condemnation, with both often perceived as being central to the problems encountered by the presentation of contemporary art as well as scientific culture. The Pompidou and the Cité thus play a strange role – on the one hand, it seems to be a decisive one, and on the other, it appears somewhat poorly defined. For certain observers, this paradox stems from the following claim: there is no reason why the community should spontaneously be in agreement about what the Pompidou and the Cité actually are, or the way in which each of them should establish a relationship with their respective fields, art or scientific culture.

 

Is the idea of a seminar in some way linked to the idea of disappointment? Not necessarily, even if there is something to be gained from this disappointment. For what, in fact, is disappointment? At the very least, it encourages one to wonder why we had expectations, why we were expecting this or that, what were expecting from this or that. And this is always the best incentive for questions and reflection. Why do we expect an institution, a museum or a “Cité” when it is explained that it also involves something else with regard to art, culture and science? Why did we believe – and continue to believe – that institutions such as the Pompidou and the Cité are the consequences of a certain knowledge of art or scientific culture? Among the possible answers is this: we cannot create contemporary and modern art or scientific and technical culture, without inventing the institutions that go with them. But, in some way, we know that these are fictions. And we need these fictions to give meaning to what is going on. And, with regard to what goes on at the Pompidou and the Cité, how should we approach these two institutions? Several approaches are imaginable. We could envisage “just turning up” in all innocence, with the idea of going back over what makes up the day-to-day life of the Pompidou and the Cité while trying to remain as faithful as possible to what they are. We could also ask more general questions, alluding, for example, to the international dimension, to see how the two institutions address this issue. We could also distance ourselves, situating the two establishments in a broader cultural context and describing their respective positions. We could even observe them based on what each says of its “theme”: art for the Pompidou, and the sciences for the Cité. Neither too close, nor too far; neither unreserved support, nor indifference, as it were. But this seminar also hopes to offer a browsing menu to match all its users, and we, too, are users although we would not presume to represent every user, and even less to assume that all users have the same expectations. With this in mind, it would be based on the multiple, active and speculative relationships that each guest participant has with the Pompidou or the Cité, or even with other institutions – myriad relationships that could help us make the Pompidou and the Cité exist differently. From this point on, the question of knowing what these two institutions actually are would no longer merely be a question to ask of the Pompidou and the Cité but a question that we would ask ourselves: what do we want them to be to us? What have we to say about these two institutions, and what do they say about us?
And lastly, to those who are interested in our approach but who might see more problems than solutions in the idea of crossing the “Pompidou” case with that of the “Cité des Sciences”, we would again like to reply with a legitimate problem of distance. With this kind of experiment, we found it useful to constitute something resembling distance from these two museums. We feel that this multiple perspective might encourage us to conceive of the Pompidou and the Cité as though they could be something other than what they are: starting off from one to move towards the other; defining numerous trajectories that could call into question the aspect of “necessity” that the two museums have necessarily accumulated over the years.

 

 Let us attempt to conclude by returning to the title of this text: where do all these future contemplations lead? If the truth be told, we don’t really know. For it is possible – or even likely – that the questions we want to ask do not depend on some kind of knowledge, which does not mean that we should, in this case, renounce knowledge and resign ourselves to this. There are certain responsibilities that, in order to give rise to decisions and events, must not “follow” knowledge, resulting from knowledge like consequences or effects. To put it another way, the Pompidou and the Cité undoubtedly have nothing to gain from becoming a programme for which we would, at best, behave like “smart” missiles. The responsibilities, which determine and will determine “where this is going” for the museums, should perhaps remain disparate from the concept of knowledge and perhaps even from many of the concepts upon which we have built the idea of responsibility or decision. This is one of the reasons for which, in light of the “singular” dimension of the Centre Pompidou and the Cité des Sciences, we invite you to a seminar that we hope will be inventive, open and free. This does not mean that it will be devoid of method – on the contrary – it is driven by the idea of surpassing methods, but without assurance, without certainty - hence its dual nature, both contradictory and conflictual… 


Band on the run

Band on the run

Was it a kind of torment that caused us to set off together?  When we broached the idea of the trip, attracted by the expedition, I didn’t know and luckily, I still don’t. And this is what allows me, in retrospect, to reconsider certain aspects. First of all, what about the phrase “walking in Fukushima”, which, in itself, seems to hold or withhold its secret? Once uttered, it seems that everything has been said without our even knowing what there is to say.

In October 2016, I spent a week about 50 miles from Fukushima’s damaged nuclear power plant. During this short time, I actively participated in a field survey that I’d call “simultaneous”, by which I mean a field trip that , within its own movement, superimposes distinct lines of work that are capable, once organised and harmonious, of bringing out the best in and grasping the real, imaginary or symbolic content of the places we visited. For me, it was 5, 6, up to 10 people, each following their own line of inquiry, walking together, with the impression, day after day, of benefitting from a powerful expressiveness far superior to any individual observation. The first “simultaneous situation” was devised in our office in Montreuil. To a large extent, it grew from our imagination. What I recall is a somewhat faltering formulation that began as a stroll, then a walk, then became a kind of field survey that I now call “simultaneous”.   That led to creating a relatively precise pre-programme together with fairly specific observation tools. Notwithstanding, not everything was “created” by us beforehand; certain aspects,  sketchily planned in Montreuil or left unresolved and eventually reincorporated in Japan “became”, by necessity, new terrains.  By way of example, a local canoe/kayak club had to be available to bring a “run of the river” observation project to life.  Ultimately, although we had spent time modelling tools in Montreuil, trying to bring them as close as possible to the project we had set ourselves, once we were there, we also allowed ourselves to connect existing elements to uses planned for the project. To qualify what I’m describing, “field professionals” usually talk of successive stages alternating principles of cooption and construction.

 

The fieldwork carried out in October 2016, as it unfolded in my case, should be clearly distinguished from its presentation - a term I use here to designate the situation as it is revealed to a listener to whom I gave an account. I’m even inclined to think that no-one could ever directly access “my” field survey, even if they were able imagine what it’s like from a very detailed account of it. Not even the other participants, there by my side during the trip to Japan, given that none of us was able to detach our awareness from our own particular activity, constantly immersed in “its” own space and subsequently incapable of being able to grasp the terrain in itself. Seen as a whole, this October 2016 field survey, as it were, does not, therefore, exist. However - and please forgive me in advance for the clumsy wording - something certainly did exist over there for me, and for us, in light of the circumstances. Surely, merely by being together at the same time in the same place, Sophie, Mélanie, Patricia, Stéphane, Yoann, Marc, Gaspard, Sylvie, Oussouby and Keiichi must have bestowed on it, or on part of it, a distinctive quality or function.  Surely each spot we visited accommodated each of us differently so that we could find there a field study, or a landscape, or a trek or a place for exchange and discussion… This kind of “là où c‘était plusieurs” or “there were many ‘theres’” had already occurred to me in another memory; when a site was measured by some of us, especially with the counters they had to gauge the presence of radiation, it became for them an important source of information, but for others – those of us who were not measuring (as was the case for myself during the trip) – this same site was or remained something that was above all alive, terrifying, beautiful, etc. 

 

In spite of the fairly lengthy preparations, this idea of a collective trip to Japan – a stroll, a walk, a simultaneous field survey– call it what you will– was never a foregone conclusion for all of us who were participating. Especially myself. We had our work cut out for us with this approach, with its various disciplines (anthropology, aesthetics, philosophy and cultural) that usually require a certain “comfort” to be able to express themselves, which were deliberately going to be “interbred” and, what’s more, in a “field” situation, another term which, again, was not an obvious process for some of us. More than six months later, each of us will tell you in our own way that we did it, and we did it pretty well if the fact that we’re about to return in October 2017 is anything to go by. There is no doubt that this was all part of the experience. It showed that, ultimately, each of us attained an equal level, at least with regard to the idea of the field and the idea of the walk; everyone, especially myself, seemed, during this trip in October 2016 and prolonged by our discussions since our return, to have reached a more or less similar level in terms of perception (I have no other word for it). Nevertheless, many questions remain – and no wonder! But we are addressing them in a gentler, subtler way. This is the case, for example, of the thorny issue of the identities, differences and therefore the limits that separate our respective disciplines; from now on, we are only discussing this problem “tête-à-tête”, on a one-to-one basis (our earlier idea, encouraging everyone to step out of his or her specific zone, only gave rise to disappointing responses owing to its too-general approach). We now know a little better, that we should beware of barriers, especially when experimenting. We need to live our second “Fukushima Walk” with a certain laissez faire attitude, without obligation, in other words, “without an agenda”, in a “Call It Anything” way – a phrase both funny and significant, which seems to bestow on all that it covers a form that is ungraspable, that cannot be reproduced, that is not static, not least through a programme with which we simulate an objective, an intention. Next October, we must once again allow the possibility of being together to emerge, beyond any utilitarian motive; Fukushima will give each of us something to say, and perhaps something to do – but what? That is not really the point…

Band on the run text

Bell

Pierre Charpin

Named Designer of the year 2017, Pierre Charpin is showing the bell he produced for the project Mirages with F93, on his booth at Maison & Objet.

Photos: PIERRE ANTOINE

Bell
Bell

Nachinsel

Nicolas Moulin

Produced in the context of the project Mirages, Nicolas Moulin's artwork has recently joined the park of sculptures led by the contemporary art space of the HEC Paris campus.

Photos: Pierre Antoine

Nachinsel
Nachinsel
Nachinsel
Nachinsel
Nachinsel
Nachinsel