THOMAS BETHMONT + MATHILDE CHENIN
Groupe de Recherche en Homéopathie Binaurale Empirique, 2013-2014
Concert set-up for 5 headphones, deckchairs, binaural controller
The Groupe de Recherche en Homéopathie Binaurale Empirique was created from a desire to open up a new area of research in binaural beats, a sonic phenomenon produced within the brain. When two slightly different tonalities are experienced separately by each ear, the mind synthesizes the two tracks. For Média Médiums, we have invited the artists Méryll Ampe and Gabriel Gelineo to experiment with our machines and prepared colored sounds (white noises, pink noise, etc.). During the exhibition a set up for group listening allows for both a comfortable and intense experience of these phenomena. Four experimental sessions are planned during the exhibition, each based on a different color of sound. Between each session, the set up will broadcast the previous session's research.
Crassula ubiquiste, 1985-2014
Collection of 32 plants, photographs
Fragments of the succulent plant, crassula ovata were collected from various places in several countries, China, the United States, England, Japan, France, Switzerland, and Denmark. The cuttings were cultivated and sometimes generate new cuttings. In this manner, diverse individuated instances of a single plant can exist in a variety of places, their life expectancy as a colony is indeterminate. Today we know that plants can communicate amongst themselves. Beyond that, what is the situation for transmission between ubiquitous plants? Might plants be able to share information and experiences based on models of teleportation and quantum entanglement? Might such an investigation contradict or amplify the role of this collection and exhibition of plants as memory objects? Simply said, the power of remembrance that they communicate is part and parcel of their life here and also there.
I need a haircut, 2014
Chair, computer, Oculus Rift virtual reality head-set, headphones, real-time 3D program, loop – 8'15”
A stereoscopic camera explores an immersive digital space, allowing the spectator to panoramically observe his immediate location thanks to virtual reality. In this environment where only the gaze is free to move, a data center and a barber salon coexist. A radio broadcasts the Introit and Kyrie of Verdi's Requiem, one of the musical pieces that Gerardo Gentilella used to play in his barber shop in the New York Stock Exchange, where for 43 years he gave traders haircuts until his shop closed on June 30th, 2006. In March that same year, Archipelago Holdings, a firm specialized in high frequency trading, merged with the New York Stock Exchange to form NYSE Arca, a “for profit” company.
STÉPHANE DEGOUTIN + GWENOLA WAGON
Souris Télépathes, 2014
1/5 scale model of a data center for the film World Brain, mixed media, 60 x 90 x 100 cm
In 2013, researchers at Duke University succeeded in setting up brain to brain communication between two rats. Then they linked up one hundred rats, then one thousand. A wireless meta-rat brain was created. No one knows exactly what it produced (rat thoughts not yet being decoded), but one thing was certain, the behavior of the rats changed, the group cohesion was astounding.
The camera, placed at ground level, circulates nervously in a data center, scanning the isotropic aisles, immaculate and sterile, all bathed in a uniform light. It is synchronized with the rhythm and perception of a rat exploring the space, moving in and out of the machines. The rat moves along the corridor, slowly but surely. He advances like a pathfinder, marking out the terrain for his community, stopping occasionally in front of certain servers. The noise makes one think that he is starting to nibble on the cables.
Self-Sorting Documents, 2014
Custom software (Java / Processing / OpenGL), Mac Mini, FullHD 42" monitor
Over the course of researching and amassing thousands of images on communication phenomena, from ectoplasmic cantilever trumpets to electronic vocoders, from the planchette to the telautograph, from the celestial telegraph to intercontenental satellite transmissions, one of the main preoccupations became the surprising tenacity of traditional hierarchies and of devising ways to produce new correlations by provoking categorical slippage. Self-Sorting Documents was conceived of as a way to both visualize the entire archive and to rethink these historically hard-wired, hand-me-down, binary definitional operators - rational / irrational, science / pseudo-science, etc. Within its virtual space, a mobile camera slowly visits the 300 keywords that make up the project Média Médiums, exploring the current images associated each node, while in the background things whirl and churn, loosening up long-anchored image-text relationships, rebellious documents with a mind of their own.
On occasion, the program is used as a performance tool, becoming Technically Speaking, wherein a specific path is sliced out of the mass, interfacing by voice, interacting with the image archive, documents fleetingly moving in and out of view.
What shall we do next?, 2007-2011
Installation, animation 3D, duration 3'54"
This animated film is presented as an "archive of gestures to come". The gestures have to do with patents for the invention of new devices taken out from the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2006–07. The functioning of these machines — electronic organisers, laptop computers, game consoles, etc.— calls for actions that are specified and copyrighted even though the interface does not yet exist. Observing that technology operates as a prescriber of behaviours it is increasingly turning into private property, the artist appropriates the gestures and separates them from their utilitarian function; with a sequence of images that seem to float on the surface of the screen, he transforms the demonstration video into a choreographic abstraction.
The Voices From Space, 2009-present
Installation dimensions variable. Archival box and custom display case - 192 x 33 x 52 cm. Rotogravure prints, 21 x 29,7 cm
The installation builds upon of a collection of images and audio documents refering to the processes and tools used in transcommunication (communication with the dead) and the materialization of ghosts. It consists of portraits of mediums who by recording their immediate sound environment attempted to pick up voices from the other side. In order to reintroduce transcommunication concerns for decoding invisible matter (radio and light waves...) into perceivable data, these images of mediums undergo a double transformation – first they were “translated” into sound files and then “retranslated” back into images. Far from being a transparent process, this series of computational transcodings alters the images, bringing to mind the physico-chemical images of 19th century spirit mediumistic photography. In this manner, the occult dimension of the scenes work their way into the very matter of the image.
Data Ghosts, 2014
Networked installation, tcpdump/tshark, spectre, sphinx, espeak, aplay
"I have been thinking for some time of a machine or apparatus which could be operated by personalities which have passed on to another existence or sphere. (..) I do claim that it is possible to construct an apparatus which will be so delicate that if there are personalities in another existence or sphere who wish to get in touch with us in this existence or sphere, the apparatus will at least give them a better opportunity to express themselves than the tilting tables and raps and ouija boards and mediums and the other crude methods now purported to be the only means of communication?" - Thomas Edison, 1920
Data Ghosts is a prototype for psychic tracking on the Internet, a “digital ghostbox” which tirelessly scans the network attempting to detect phantom messages which haunt data traffic. Following in the footsteps of Friedrich Jürgenson's pioneering studies of electronic voice phenomena (EVP), this apparatus proposes a digital version, a feedback loop created between data gleaned by tapping into the network (tcpdump), and its automatic interpretation (sphynx). The system uses Internet as a giant echo chamber, data analysed not in its digital form but rather via the noise generated by the incessant flow of data.
HEXEN 2.0/Historical Diagrams and HEXEN 2.0 / Cybernetic Séance, 2009-2011
Historical Diagrams, 29.7 x 42cm, Cybernetic Séance, 21 x 29.7cm. Archival giclée prints on Hahnemuhle Bamboo paper. All works courtesy the artist and Annely Juda Fine Art, London
The works Historical Diagrams and Cybernetic Séance are part of the larger project HEXEN 2.0, which looks into histories of scientific research behind government programmes of mass control, investigating parallel histories of countercultural and grass roots movements. HEXEN 2.0 charts, within a framework of post-WWII U.S. governmental and military imperatives, the coming together of scientific and social sciences through the development of cybernetics, the history of the internet, the rise of Web 2.0 and increased intelligence gathering, and implications for the future of new systems of societal manipulation towards a control society. HEXEN 2.0 specifically investigates the participants of the seminal Macy Conferences (1946-1953), whose primary goal was to set the foundations for a general science of the workings of the human mind. The project simultaneously looks at diverse philosophical, literary and political responses to advances in technology including the claims of Anarcho-Primitivism and Post Leftism, Theodore Kaczynski/The Unabomber, Technogaianism and Transhumanism, and traces precursory ideas such as those of Thoreau, Warren, Heidegger and Adorno in relation to visions of utopic and dystopic futures from science-fiction literature and film.