Artwork / Sightseeing
- Abstract: A CCTV camera is filming a beach and we hear its voice, as if it were alive and thinking out loud. But the perfection of her intelligence has led it to doubt and burnout, and to not know what to do anymore: What is this? What should she look at? What is a suspicious behaviour? But above all, what is the point of all this? It compares itself to the click workers who feed artificial intelligences, questioning the meaning of its work with an anthropomorphism that raises its political stakes.
Sightseeing (Penser voir) was initially created by Thierry Fournier in 2018 at the invitation of Pierre Beloüin and the Acoustic Cameras project, which invites artists and composers to annex the real time streams of webcams located in different places around the world.
“With Sightseeing / Penser voir by Thierry Fournier, we quickly understand that we are not confronted with a real AI, but with an artifice, yet we fully adhere to the fiction of this awareness of an entity. Far from breaking our suspension of disbelief, the sound loop that reveals the deception, accentuates on the contrary our empathetic relationship to the AI that “goes off the rails”. It is literally in a loop on its machine condition, and thus on its condition of being (or rather of not being) in the world. While the landscape changes, it doesn’t come out of it, it can’t cope with it. Thus the sound loop is diegetized, appearing as a consequence of this state of burnout described by the artist.
Paradoxically, it is because it is highly efficient that this AI starts to doubt and to malfunction. The machine’s dysfunction thus becomes a metaphor for the dysfunction of a whole world that should be questioned. For how can one continue in such a world? “Fuck. I can’t make it,” the AI repeats tirelessly, while echoing the invisible click workers, the majority of whom are underpaid, who have contributed to shaping it by feeding it. By worrying about its usefulness, it also challenges the injunction to perform, characteristic of our society, which seems to consider man only in terms of becoming a machine. Thus, the fictional narrative deployed by Sightseeing around these issues of knowledge and doubt, performance and failure, meaning and non-sense, appears to be not only philosophical but also eminently political.”
Claire Châtelet, lecturer and researcher, University of Montpellier 3 (France), Les fictions de la machine sensible : l’œil, le faillible et la pensée [The fictions of the sensitive machine: the eye, the fallible and the thought], May 2021
- Biography: Thierry Fournier is a French visual artist, researcher, author and curator, living and working in Paris area. He is an architect and composer by training (a graduate of the École nationale supérieure d’Architecture de Lyon). His practice mainly deals with the relations between human, living and technologies: installations, objects, works on internet, videos, drawings, performances… His curatorial approach transposes these issues into the collective field, exploring in particular the modes of coexistence of works.
Recent solo shows include: University of Montpellier III 2020, L’Art dans les Chapelles 2020, CAPA Aubervilliers 2018, Villa Henry Nice 2018, Musée d’art et d’histoire de Saint-Denis 2017, Lux Scène nationale de Valence 2015.
Curating: Château de Goutelas 2022, Mécènes du sud Montpellier 2020, Tokyo French Institute 2019, Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris 2018, La Terrasse Nanterre, 2016, La Panacée Montpellier 2015 and 2014, Château Royal de Collioure 2014, Zinc / Friche Belle de Mai, Marseille 2013, Fort Lagarde 2012, Centre Pompidou 2011.
Recent group shows : Supplementary Elements University of Strasbourg 2022, Turbulence Marseille 2022, Feral File 2021, Mondes Possibles Merignac 2021, Chroniques Aix-en-Provence 2020, Depo Gallery Istanbul 2019, Le Fresnoy National Studio of Contemporary Arts, Tourgoing 2018, Valérie Delaunay gallery Paris 2018, Variation Art Fair Paris 2017 and 2018, Thessaloniki Biennale 2017, ZKM Karlsruhe, 2013 and 2017 to 2019, Saarlandisches Künstlerhaus Saarbrück, Germany 2016, Ars Santa Monica Barcelona 2016, New Cinema Festival Montréal 2015 and 2013, Renaissance and Fantastic Lille, 2015 and 2013, Tokyo and Kyoto French Institutes, 2014, etc.
Thierry Fournier is also head of the contemporary art workshop The Exercice of the Gaze at Sciences Po Paris. He was head of two research units from 2010 to 2020 : Displays at Ensad / EnsadLab (Paris) and Collection Artem at Ensa Nancy, both dedicated to the contemporary stakes and forms of contemporary art exhibitions. He was a guest artist-professor at Le Fresnoy, Studio national des arts contemporains in 2017-2018.
He is also co-head and artistic director of antiAtlas Journal, a free online art-science journal dedicated to the contemporary stakes and forms of borders.
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