Villa Henry, Nice
Curated by Isabelle Pellegrini
March 25 to April 28, 2018
Isabelle Pellegrini presents Machinal at the Villa Henry, a solo exhibition by Thierry Fournier that follows her residency for the creation of En Vigie, associated here with three other works.
Today, many images are no longer produced in immediate relation with the human eye, but are produced autonomously by machines and programs. Most of these “assisted visions” are deployed in the military or on the web (Google, Apple, Facebook…), the detection and anticipation of behavior often using similar means for security or commercial purposes. These “intelligent machines” analyze images but can also perform autonomous actions, as in the case of UAVs. In this context, how do we still define ourselves and where does our responsibility lie? What is our role when we are dealing with systems that not only extend our own aim but anticipate it, even replace it? Do we expect machines to look at our place – even to look at us and define us? What are we trying to see (or not see) through them?
Thierry Fournier’s approach frequently posits the fictional hypothesis that things (objects, landscape, network, machines…) would have their own life, by creating situations of displacement or confrontation with them. With the exhibition Machinal, he brings together four works in which our gaze is inseparable from that of these devices. The term “machine” here refers both to a thought that no longer pays attention to its object (or whose attention is absorbed and captured by devices, as on the Internet) – and the look produced by the machines themselves, autonomously: machine as one would say animal. The classical frameworks of the gaze as perspective and horizon are then redefined as a territory shared, even negotiated, between our own vision and that which devices deploy on the world and on ourselves.
En Vigie / Nice (2018) is a generative video where a program scrutinizes a landscape of horizon, deploying a cinematographic suspense that invites us to espouse its own logic. The installation Just in Case (2017) ironically imagines that a program would be legitimate to detect if we are indeed human, riveting us to the spectacle of its calculation and waiting for its verdict. With Penser voir (2018), a surveillance camera targeting a beach in Nice testifies by a synthetic voice of its inability to detect anything. The series of digital images Non-Lieu (2016) uses photographs of bombardments found on the web and replaces everything that makes it possible to identify the place with a background pattern. Through this set of four pieces, the exhibition proposes a more general reflection on the links and limits between humans and machines, our responsibility and our gaze.
Talk with Fabienne Grasser-Fulchéri
A talk was organised on March 24th with Thierry Fournier, Isabelle Pellegrini and Fabienne Grasser-Fulchéri, curator and art critic, director of the Espace de l’Art Concret in Mouans-Sartoux. Full recording (French):
Pandore Édition publishes a limited edition catalogue, including a text by critic and philosopher Céline Flécheux (L’horizon, Klincksieck, 2014; L’horizon, des traités de perspective au Land Art, P. U. de Rennes, 2009), an interview with Isabelle Pellegrini and documentation on the works.
En Vigie: video excerpt
En Vigie / Nice, generative video, with sound, looped, 31′, 2018 (extrait)