PRIZE 2015 THE ORDER OF FIREFLIES
The 2015 Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard Prize opens up areas of research which, at first sight, seem well-removed from one another, but turn out to be informed by unusual systems of liaisons.
Thousands of fireflies emit bioluminescent light at regular intervals. Thy flash in unison at the same rhythm as the chirping of hundreds of crickets and metronomes. This experiment in synchronicity echoes the heart beats that each visitor feels when he plunges into water in which “aquatic” poems are being broadcast. This water surrounds an island which researchers have tried to capture in its entirety. Was this to better camouflage a secret laboratory equipped with instruments designed to extract precious substances from our computer waste? Or to plan, in the greatest secrecy, a vehicle destined to give rise to its own destruction?
These areas of research open onto amazing prospects involving the way the objects which form our world are connected, synchronized, and mutually influential, like this leg which tries to co-exist with the negative space of its arm, or these long threads which, when all put together, embrace the entirety of spaces.
The exhibition starts with a video document unveiling the slow transformation of a truck speeding through the countryside. The constantly moving vehicle’s speed prevents any possibility of a fixed point. The truck, to paraphrase Marinetti, appears like a vector.
This vector is an essential factor in the show. It helps to assess forces and movements in the field which separates the ordinary object and the artwork. The numerous studies on the ontology of art have tried to explain how, and based on what conditions, an ordinary object could be transfigured into an art object We know that such research represents the central nucleus of many 20th century artistic and theoretical praxes. Surprisingly, few people (Duchamp as ever being an exception) have asked themselves how and under what conditions a work of art could abandon its aesthetic status and embrace that of an ordinary object.
To bring this reverse ontology full circle, it is thus necessary to look at this “random vector” which reveals the forces and movements of transformation circulating between these two poles. This research was begun in2012 with the creation of the Chalet Society which, in the course of its experiments, has prepared procedures for tests to do with possible interpretations of the artist’s status (Musuem of Everything, 2012-2013), of the exhibition’s status (L’Atelier des Testeurs, 2013), and of the status of the work of art (The Hidden World, 2013-2014).
It is important to specify that such research has scant interest in the notion of territory, where it would be advisable to look at its boundaries and its breaking points. The work of art (just like the notion of artist and exhibition) is neither a point nor a place, it is part of a constantly dynamic field between two poles. Because this dynamic jams, and because its static forces intervene, the work is thus reduced to a simple fixed point, a bhit of territory, an isolated pole, and it relevance atrophies.
The Order of Fireflies is part of this research. We can talk of an “applied” reverse ontology in the sense that it is a matter above all of creating the conditions helping to make the force fields tangible, along with these movements of dynamic transformation.
Each work in this show involves these force fields interacting between two poles, based on different kinds of access; the placement of the works this tallies with a logic governed by these types of access. 1.
After the film by Pugnaire/Raffini, installed as a kind of preface to the show, Robin Meier’s structure can be broached like a research laboratory working on synchronicity phenomena between fireflies, crickets, metronomes and generative music. The point of access (a research laboratory) is situated close to one of the poles (in this instance, the ordinary object), but such a structure is very quickly grabbed by a dynamic transforming this ordinary laboratory into force fields constantly wavering between two poles. As visitors gradually cross the exhibition areas, the accesses proposed operate like cursors sliding inexorably towards the pole opposite that of the ordinary object. Grace Hall’s work is approached by plunging your head into the water in a barrel to hear poems which mingle with the resonances of our own body, the act of listening to which is subordinate to our lung capacity; Brognon/Rollin’s work invites us to make a mental image of the outlines of an island, an absurd task because of the continuous movement of the waves which erase any fixed point; Thomas Teurlai’s studio grapples with the extraction of precious metals present in certain computer equipment, an amateur attempt doomed to fail, which presents just its transformation processes (one might be tempted to say “transfiguration”); the leg of the artist Julien Dubuisson has been cast around the arm of his partner, revealing a negative space which transforms the very notion of the human body; lastly. The Pugnaire/Raffini truck imposes its physical presence, unfurls its flayed scraps, and gets as close as possible to the pole opposite that which Robin Meier’s work skims.
Between these two poles, force fields, which are fed by the Order of Fireflies.
1-The only exception to this logic: the work of Katinka Bock, winner of the 2012 Fondation d’entreprise Ricard Prize, proposes a piece which embraces all the other propositions. She emphasizes not only the physical presence of all the institution’s spaces (by including the exhibition venues as well as the offices, the bar, reception, toilets), but also the fact that an exhibiton is possible anywhere and everywhere: in a kitchen, in a WC, in technical premises.. And by extension outside, when you leave the show. In the street, on a beach, on the seabed, or at the top of a mountain.