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A detail of Dancing Dreams. A radical exigence of transparency. A model for our politicians ?

The Paris Digital Spring keeps going !


(Text revised on april 12).

After the Julio Le Parc show in Palais de Tokyo (until may 13), Art Paris and the PAD (see our report), new digital flowers are blossoming in Paris. Two previews were given today (April 11) at Lelia Mordoch's and Galerie Charlot. The Grand Palais proposes Dynamo, sait to be about cinetic art. A large and impressive show, for sure, but mostly optic and not cinetic. We shall probably see more cinetics in the next show of Galerie Denise René, at the end of this month.

At Lelia Mordoch's, Alain Le Boucher is showing his new creations : Echevelé, Jumping Dreams, Dancing Dreams, Attrape rêves. He perseveres in digging his demanding groove : wire sculptures with leds managed by micro-controllers, and an absolute rule : everything must be visible, from the integrated circuit packages to the last resistor (with only one exception : the power supply box). That limits his creativity to comparatively static movements along the wires. And the spectators have to take their time if they want have a full appraisal of the work complexity, based on tens of thousands lines or programs. But the effort may be rewarded on a longer run. The complexity of programs is such that you will never see the same sequence before hundreds of years.

The new works play upon more fanciful wire forms (Echevelé) or always more complex mathematical formulas, like the sinusoidal dance of lights on the wire circles of Dancing Dreams. His works live here among non digital but no less cinetic works, like a toy trains and the dominant feminine HR manager of James Chedburn. And the gallery has also works by Julio Le Parc, undoubtedly very present in this Parisian spring.

Zajega demonstrating zthe interactivity of Harmonic Plants.

At Galerie Charlot, François Zajega completes his precedent works with a new and more complex generative work, Harmonic Plants. Compared to other generative artists like Antoine Schmitt or Hugo Verlinde (two other pillars of this gallery), Zajega works on 3D models, and that opens the way to surprisingly aesthetic effects by change of the camera position (if the comparison with animation cinema is appopriate).

Harmonic plant is presented by Zagega as a project (we understand: not a definitively finished work). He explains (our translation from French) : "This aesthetic and algorithmic research shows a plant trying to survive inside its environment. The plant is made of interconnected nodes. Each node is alternatively provider and consumer of a nutritive sap. On every instant, the node tries to synchronize itself with those it is connected with, in order to get as much sap as possible. The global environment is a sort of liquid, wherein nutritive particles are emitted by the nodes, moved by currents and absorbed. These exchanges tend to establish a precarious balance. If they fail, the balance is lost, the plant dies and a new cycle starts. The spectator has some control on the system through a Kinect interface. The right hand changes the particle currents. The left one rotates the scene and zooms, letting the interactor evaluate the plant structure. So, the audience is held responsible, for a part, of the system evolution. In absence of action, the plant life depends on fate only. Actions may help or hamper its development and fight for survival."

That's not the kind of interactive work you can really engage with during a short stay in a gallery (or museum, let's hope). The easy thing is to get some control and enjoy the view... with some indugence for the sort of molecular allure of the plant, which would be more appropriate in a serious game than in a work of plastic art. But its subtle and supple moves are a compensation for its abstraction.

When the project develops further, we will be interesting to see :
- how far its spectators will really understand their responsiblity and take the necessary time to exert it (we should say, at least a quarter of hour); seen this way, the project will tends more to game than to "art";
- will Zagega invest more on this game orientation (and its market potential), with an appropriate ergonomics and, for instance, part of the projection dedicated to data about the plant and the environment states and balances, up to (oops, but why not ?) some gingle celebrating a very long life;
- will he, on the contrary (and it is a quite different target audience), consider the interaction as just a gimmick stimulating an aesthetic relation, in this case, for instance, with lush presentations of the environment and the plant itself ?

By he way, Galerie Charlot, as always, shows at the same time a non digital artist. This time the paintings by Dan Barichasse go along well with the digital, since they call to mind the viral works of Joseph N echvatal, for instance, with of course the material substance of traditional painting which lack to screen displays.







Paris ACM Siggraph, the French chapter of ACM Siggraph, worldwide non-profit organization of computer graphics.




Les Algoristes, an association of artists using their own algorithms in their work.





Galerie Charlot An important supporter of digital art.