The Probe

Light projector, camera, screen, amplifier and speaker, computer, program, cables
L’Art dans les chapelles festival, Pontivy (FR), Notre-Dame-du-Moustoir, Malguénac, 18 July – 22 September 2020

Video capture (French version of the installation, with English subtitles) :

A projector turns on itself, slowly, exploring the space around it. It projects an intense rectangle of white light that it moves over all walls and objects. It also carries a camera, which films exactly what it illuminates. His image is shown on a large screen, placed nearby against a wall, like a painting: we see what he sees.

This apparatus speaks, in a synthesized voice, as if it was thinking aloud and trying to describe what surrounds it. It searches, stops at details, tries to understand space and objects, wonders about this place and its meaning but also about his own status and perception. Sometimes it seems to react to the presence of humans.

The Probe thus installs in a space the fiction of a non-human and living entity that inhabits it, like an artificial and panoptic force. The apparatus can also evoke the religious expectation that we have of technology, especially artificial intelligence, whose recurring motif is the surpassing of human capacities.

The language of the work calls up several registers, from surveillance devices to images of miraculous apparitions in classical painting, where the irruption of a ray of light often represents the emergence of the divine or a revelation. Here, the direction of the light is reversed: instead of coming from the outside, it emerges from the inside, as if the space had been turned upside down to become the theatre of an apparition and a questioning of the visible.

Coproduction by L’Art dans les chapelles
Engineering and programming Etienne Landon – thanks to Ben Kuperberg

Open Source

installation, 2008-2011

Installation, 2008-2011

The installation is made up of an ellipse-shaped, shallow translucent basin of water, in front of which stands a multitouch interface. It enables the audience to draw a word or make a sketch directly with their hand, as if in the condensation on a window pane. Once a drawing is finished, it appears on the surface of the pool and drifts about with the others. The oldest sketches gradually fade out and make way for new ones.

Frost

performance, 2008

Performance, 2008
Thierry Fournier (apparatus and performance) / Jean-François Robardet (sculpture and text). Part of the Outside lectures performances series.

The journey done by a performer with a microphone on a polystyrene sculpture, becomes the sound metaphore of a polar landscape and architecture. The sculpture faces a bass amplificator on which the microphone is plugged, at the limit of the feedback, its sound transformed by a program into grans, rumblings and cracklings. The sound is permanently modulated by the performer’s gesture who modulates and excites the resonances in the sculpture’s holes. A gesture and a dance result of these actions, searching a balance between motion, sound and protection against the sound threats of the apparatus.

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Photographs by Samuel Bianchini.

Feedbackroom

installation, 2007

Interactive installation, 2007

Surrounded by a white blinking light, a microphone is placed on a stand, at the center of a complete dark room. As the visitors enter the room, bold and saturated feedbacks began to appear, reacting to their slightest movements, and increasing strongly as they approach the microphone. Each gesture modulates the sound, provoking for the visitors an increasing perception of their own body, as well as the sensation that a dangerous living thing is haunting the stage. The only visible forms are white, vibrating and pixellized shadows projected on the floor, around the microphone and around every spectator getting in the space. These pixelated forms are the negative shapes of the visitor’s camera caption from the ceiling: literally, they are the generators of the sound.

In this dark electric atmosphere that evokes punk music and science fiction, the visitors become both the instigators and the “willing victims” of a wild phenomenon that eludes them: a paradoxal situation of fear, self-exhibition and play.

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Coproduction Ecole nationale supérieure d’art de Nancy / Atelier de recherche et création Electroshop / Alliance Artem. A documentary film about Feedbackroom has been released in DVD by Éditions du Point d’exclamation and Éditions du Parc / ENSA Nancy, 2009.

Siren

installation, 2005-2010

Installation, 2005-2010
Samuel Bianchini and Thierry Fournier
with the voice of Maryseult Wieczoreck

A white dot on a black screen is following the spectator movements while he/she is using a computer mouse in front of it. Without activity, the installation diffuses the sound of human breath, barely audible. When the dot moves, the voice of a woman appears: static, then beginning to grow and increasing rapidly with the hand actioning the mouse. As the spectator’s gesture develops or focuses on a point, speeding up or slowing down, the sound unfolds and develops itself. The voice shifts from breathing to whispering, from singing to shouting, from the tiniest details to burgeoning vocals. The voice is reacting to the gesture and requests it. The sound gradually gives a shape to an acoustic body that reveals itself through the tactile exploration – although its interpretation remains offered to the audience.

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Ce qui nous regarde

installation, 2005

installation, 2005
Emmanuel Berriet and Thierry Fournier

The installation Ce qui nous regarde proposes a space in which the audience leave traces of its passages and movements, asking words and images and being questioned at their turn. In front of a large panoramic screen showing of a large number of words and questions, the presence and the movements of the spectators triggers the apparition of several videos trating the subject of development. The project proposes an hybrid form between cinema and interactive installation.

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Stories Machine

sound installation, 2004

Sound installation, 2004
Objects design: Zarko
Landscape design: Pascale Langrand and François Schelameur

The Garden of the Navel is a collective project based on an imaginary mythology that ironically names Pougne-Hérisson (a hamlet of 200 inhabitants) as the homeland of tales, where “all stories come from, and where they should come back”. The Stories Machine is an interactive sound installation which composes a soundscape with the stories that the visitors leave themselves. Several microphones are placed in the garden, in which visitors are invited to leave a story of their own, lasting anything from a few seconds to a few minutes, that will then be stored by the installation. As soon as it has been recorded, each story lives its own life and occupies the space. The lifetime of a story is unlimited: it is always heard immediately after it has been recorded, but it may reappear weeks or months later. The space of the Garden develops and grows with time: it is nurtured, visited and searched by the visitors themselves, like a talking landscape, organic and unpredictable.

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