PRIX COAL 2023: an edition on plants
With Plant! the COAL Prize 2023 invites artists from all over the world to sow the seeds of creation and…
Published on 13 June 2010
Object Oriented Art, L’Alalie
Biodiversity is a complex whole whose fate has not upset man during the past centuries, centuries during which it has nevertheless begun an alarming decline. However, ethnologists know that minority peoples, living in conditions very similar to those of their ancestors, were concerned about this long before we were.
In fact, the disappearance of species corresponds above all to the disappearance of ecosystems where man was present, just like them, inseparably. It is the alalie. Of course, when we hear this word, we think more of its homophone, the hallali, the moment when the animal is about to succumb. On an emotional level, this moment has always left us speechless, in the midst of “alalia”, or desperate “aphasia”, a state where speech can no longer be expressed. This homophony is also the perfect description of this common disappearance of animals and cultures whose languages are silenced forever. The work that has come to us from this state is first of all the fruit of a long process of research in which we ollect the names of extinct species in extinct languages, the names of endangered species in endangered languages, and finally the names of common species in commonly used languages. The goal is to produce a gigantic charcoal drawing (5 m x 10 m) where all the names of animals translated into these many languages will reconstitute a planetary geography, whose meaning will only be perceived by recognizing the words “cows”, “pigs”, “chickens”, “dogs”, “cats”… in English, Spanish, Chinese or French on a large part of the globe. This design will be overhung by a motorized mechanism connected to a clock. This mechanism is similar to an oversized windshield wiper, made up of aligned brushes, which brushes against the drawing, sweeping it lightly three times a day, at the rate at which animal species are currently disappearing, gradually erasing it. Alalia returns us to a primary function of art where the word fades away to leave only the trace of a physical world that survives. What if utopia, the fundamental vitality, held in a capacity to look at the world with a virgin, erased glance?
Art orienté objet is an artistic duo created in 1991, in Paris, composed of Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoît Mangin. These two artists put ecology, understood as the science questioning our conditions of existence, at the heart of their artistic approach. Since 1991, they have been working on installation, performance, video and photography around the theme of Life. This leads them to approach biology as well as behavioral sciences (psychology and ethology, hence the strong animal presence in their work), ecology or ethnology in unexpected and poetic creations, as much political as visionary. They are preparing a monographic exhibition at the Magasin de Grenoble in the summer of 2010.
PASCAL BIRCHER – THE DOOR TO HELL
The Gate of Hell: this is how the inhabitants of the Turkmen desert call the Darvaza crater. To the tourists, the official guides explain that this crater was caused by a natural disaster. It is in fact the result of a spectacular industrial accident. In 1971, the Soviets inadvertently drilled a natural gas pocket during a drilling operation and caused a huge landslide. It was quickly decided to set fire to the hole, without organizing a rescue, in order to get rid of the toxic fumes as quickly as possible. But nearly 40 years later, the Gates of Hell are still burning. The Door to Hell project consists of an investigation, at the same time plastic, documentary and phantasmagorical, around this ecological trauma. The Darvaza crater will first be photographed from a fixed point at regular intervals for 24 hours, from dusk to dawn. Because it has never been mapped before, it will also be mapped, in order to be reproduced, in the form of a sculpture and topographic surveys.
Mixing sculpture, maps, photos, and sound testimonies, the final installation device will explore the link between environment and construction of the imaginary, under pressure of political and economic power relations. It will constitute a reflection on the relations of domination between states, systems and ideologies, their effects on ecosystems and their most intimate impact on individuals. In resonance with the apocalyptic representation, literally hellish, carried by the Western documentary and cinematographic production, from Al Gore to Roland Emmerich, The Door to Hell will also try to highlight the impact of a shock on the collective representations of hell and the end of the world.
Born in 1972 in England, Pascal Bircher has been living and working in Paris for the past 7 years where he is represented by the Martine & Thibault de la Châtre gallery. Pascal Bircher’s work consists mainly of an investigation into the question of origins, in the broadest sense of the term, drawing his references from history, science (especially astrophysics), literature, but also genre cinema and popular culture. Like a laboratory technician perfecting his preparation in a test tube, he precipitates personal and collective mythologies, samples of reality and fictional elements, in the hope of formulating the unfathomable. His aim is to probe the mechanisms by which identities and histories are constructed and evolve from a nebulous point. His creative process is inspired by a dynamic of shock. He thus explores the possibilities of representing and objectifying the invisible and the unspeakable, what resists understanding and observation, using the detour of a friction between fiction and reality.
VALÈRE COSTES – RESIDENCY IN THE GUYANA RAINFOREST
The purpose of this project is to set up a platform supported by scientific and artistic organizations with the aim of proposing a residency in French Guyana. The objective is to offer artists a serious logistic that would allow them to live the “experience of immersion” in a primary tropical forest. The Amazon is one of the world’s territories most subjected to multiple cultural constructions (explorers’ stories, Amerindian myths including that of the Eldorado, literary and cinematographic fictions, the notion of exoticism, documentaries….) but immersion allows one to get rid of these reference points in order to build new ones based on experience and not on stereotypes, in order to be able to step back and to know how to gauge the gaps that separate a reality from its cultural construction. The other objective is to be surrounded upstream and downstream of the departure, by scientific actors with a great knowledge of the functioning of tropical ecosystems (ontology, biomechanics, botany …).
The place of residence would be located in the small town of Regina (800 inhabitants, east of Guyana and 115 km from Cayenne) at the municipal ecomuseum of Approuague/Kaw. The city, besieged by the forest, allows in a sticky atmosphere, to apprehend a space where the notions of human activity and natural activity collapse. This platform would be hosted by an existing cultural structure (art center, FRAC …) with whom the specifications would be written.
Born in 1974, lives and works in Dijon. Valère Costes graduated from the Beaux Arts in Dijon in 2000. He integrates the notion of breathing as a phenomenon of capturing the world. The artist sets up robotic technical protocols inspired by natural events as metaphorical objects of breath and our relationship to reality. His art does not claim anything other than its own form, but already this form is speaking because it is written in reaction to a disarming general context. The work does not speak to us about embarrassments caused to the ecosystem, its reflection is located at a completely different level, it questions more directly the idea of nature through the prism of a technological and cultural world. The art of Valère Costes becomes quite naturally allegorical. Allegorical imagery, writes Craig Owen, is imagery that is appropriated; the allegorist does not invent the images, he confiscates them. He attributes the cultural signifier to himself, posing as its interpreter. The allegorist adds another meaning to the image. The artist plays with this confiscation of cultural signifiers.
CÉDRIC PIGOT & MAGALI DANIAUX – FINAL MELT
FINAL MELT is a free satellite TV channel for the general public that broadcasts 24 hours a day, and whose only program is a fixed shot of a North Pole landscape that can be seen evolving by day and night, as the seasons change. Contemplative and undoubtedly a little provocative, the FINAL MELT channel offers its viewers to watch the melting of the ice cap live.
Magali Daniaux and Cédric Pigot were born in 1976 and 1966. They live in Paris and work together since 2001. They are both represented by the Eva Hober gallery in Paris. Together, they try to develop a resolutely polymorphic work turned towards experimentation. Their practice involves visual arts, sound research and writing. From their production to the metaphysical questioning, emanates a sensual, powerful and singular aesthetic. Their work is provocative and even violent, desperately human and totally poetic. More recently, they have added an olfactory dimension to their work with E_0625325,a carnal, sexual and addictive scent that leaves a metallic taste in the visitor’s mouth and 804U Â2X integrated into the work Phii. “It is a medium that takes place in the air and we like the way it is at work, in this sense this work joins our research at the sound level.” Magali Daniaux and Cédric Pigot have often collaborated with industry and sound engineering, attentive patrons with whom they have enjoyed working: Michelin Thailand, De Préférence, Mane, Ateliers Oury Guyé & fils, Esco France Cérébos, Axon, Deutsch Connectique, Arcelor Mittal, Air Treatment Aplliance Europe [scent solutions]Eol Industries.
MOMOKO SETO – PLANET Z
PLANET Z is a desert planet. After a few billion years, a concordance of chances gives birth to a miracle: water. This source of life allows in its turn a new appearance: the plants. The desert planet is thus transformed into a green planet. Suddenly, an epidemic (due to an anomaly, a mutation or a climate change?) spreads: the plants start to rot. A struggle for survival between the plants and the fungi then occurs. The plants resist against these fungal troops, however, the capacity of parasitism of the fungi gave them the advantage. The plants are doomed to disappear, devoured. But while the last ones are wiped out, the future of the mushrooms themselves seems to be in jeopardy. Can the life of a species continue, if it has nothing more to parasitize? Since the industrial revolution, nature on planet Earth is threatened. The consumption and the abusive use of natural resources by men have led them to fear an uncertain future on a planet which, mocked, would let itself die, sterile and deserted… It will be natural and hazardous phenomena, such as the decomposition of food, the development of myxomycetes, the invasion of moulds, which will be filmed and put in alternation. The temporality of the processes will be recreated by the time lapse technique1. The synthetic images will be integrated, hybridized to bring a supernatural touch to this proposed planet.
Born in 1980 in Tokyo (Japan), of Japanese nationality, Momoko Seto lived in Japan until the age of 19, then came to study in France at the École supérieure des beaux-arts de Marseille (Master’s degree in 2006). Former resident at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco/Oakland (USA) and student at Le Fresnoy, Studio National des Arts Contemporains between 2006-2008, she works in Paris in a CNRS unit, at the Réseau Asie as a documentary film maker. Momoko Seto proposes to observe familiar natural phenomena. She hijacks these images and creates a new world (a planet) in which extreme and disturbing situations exist. Using the genre of science fiction, which uses parables to talk about the real world, she evokes in a metaphorical way the environmental challenges we face.
HEHE – GREEN CLOUD
Nuage vert uses the steam emissions from the Saint-Ouen incinerator. A laser image is projected onto the fluctuating contour of the vapor cloud to form a plume of green light. Its presence is visible in the urban landscape every night for a week. The Green Cloud presents a simple and dramatic form, a sign floating gracefully above the city: at the end of the creation-destruction cycle, where the community burns what could not otherwise be recycled, there is still meaning and beauty. During the event, the steam emissions become both an environmental sculpture and a warning sign to all of us to throw away less.
The work plays a revealing role, it makes the public aware of its involvement in this cycle and invites everyone to participate in the process. Strictly speaking, it is in the interaction between the Green Cloud and the public, through debates, mediations and negotiations that the project as a whole will convey a series of messages on the concept and reduction of waste.
Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen form the duo HeHe. They live and work in Paris since 1999. Using a language based on light, image and sound, they conduct research on the relationship between individuals and their architectural and urban environment. For HeHe, the city is an infinite source of possibilities, not only for building the future but also for exercising critical thinking, for reprogramming buildings and infrastructures, for making the invisible visible and for creating new meanings that weave a narrative for the inhabitants.
FRÉDÉRIC PRADEAU – SEA WATER PURIFIER
The Seawater Purifier project is at the heart of research into new materials, and in particular ceramics. The work is a sphere in microporous ceramics of 62 centimeters in diameter envisaged as a filter which immersed in 500 meters of depth for the 50 bars of necessary pressures makes it possible to obtain by effect of communicating vessels of the purified sea water. The ceramic paste was specifically developed according to the constraints of porosity and mechanical resistance in partnership with Imerys (world leader in industrial minerals) and by the CRAFT (Centre de Recherche des Arts du Feu et de la Terre). A material is defined as a material with properties that make it useful. The ceramic material developed for this work concretizes a potentiality in a process of interactions man nature. In order to operate the sliding of the work in the utility, Frederic Pradeau projects its immersion in the predefined conditions, connected by a pipe to an anchored buoy tank. This implies the design and manufacture of the buoy tank as well as a launch by a competent structure. The test of a sphere in operation would make it possible to consider the development of the project for multiple applications. The Seawater Purifierprototype is currently on display in the Mirages exhibition at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris La Villette.
Born in 1970 in Poitiers, Frédéric Pradeau lives and works in Vincennes and Liverpool. He is represented by the New Galerie de France Paris, Laure Genillard Gallery London and Static Gallery Liverpool. A graduate of the Ecole régionale des Beaux Arts de Poitiers and the Ecole municipale des Beaux Arts de Bordeaux, he was nominated for the David de l’Art contemporain in 2007. Frédéric Pradeau regularly creates complex devices whose results are often of great simplicity, even touching the banal. From the cocacola distillery to brick making, his work focuses on the modes of production of our daily lives within the consumer society.
OLIVIER LEROI – A FLAG FOR THE ANTARCTIC
During his trip to Antarctica at the French base Dumont d’Urville in 2007-2008, Olivier Leroi became aware that this continent that “belongs” to no one has no real identity. The climatic conditions being extreme, no population has ever settled there (polar night, cold, distance, supply…). However, a certain number of governments have established research stations where teams are permanently on duty. The presence of these bases is a mark of territorial appropriation. On this land, which is the largest desert in the world, only a few plants and animals adapted to the cold survive. Among these, the most emblematic is the emperor penguin. Olivier Leroi therefore proposes to design a Flag for Antartica in the colors of this animal. The stripes of this flag would adopt the color distribution of its plumage. Scientists doing research in Antarctica would thus be united under this banner.
After training as a forester in Corrèze and a varied career, Olivier Leroi was a student at the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Arts Plastiques under the direction of Pontus Hulten. Starting with drawing and objects, he has progressively developed a polymorphic practice. In particular, he carries out actions that involve the people he meets in the places where he works: Première neige au pays Dogon, El Zorro Blanco in Mexico, La brigade de Chambord. He preserves the testimonies in the form of drawings, films, photographs… Within the framework of the public order, he endeavors to link the contexts and the lived emergences: Abscissa-ordinate at the College of Brunoy (91), The Beaconat the Lycée du Giennois (45),Twenty-one stories in the wind at the College of Thiant (59), The 5 senses, Institute of Neuroscience of La Tronchesur-Isère (38) It crystallizes meetings, the transversality being one of the nourishments of its research.
PHILIPPE TERRIER-HERMANN – THE WORLD
This project consists in the realization of a large format world map totally redrawn by incorporating various more or less realistic projections. Indeed, this fictitious map of a future world would be designed, with the help of various specialists in geopolitics and sustainable development, taking into account various political and ecological phenomena. This projection presents a future world that would have been forced to redefine these borders, in order to face various population movements linked to global warming and rising waters. Some phenomena of nationalism and protectionism will also be taken into account in these projections. As an example, the United Kingdom, under the decision of the United Nations, would host half of the population of Bangladesh, disappeared under the waters, in the Highlands of Scotland. Andalusia, too arid for the Spaniards, became a territory conceded to various African refugees. The population of Israel, which became a nuclear zone after various bombings in the Middle East, would take refuge in Pomerania, a Polish territory that became an island when the waters of the Vistula and Oder rivers rose. Extreme population densities will have created disturbing conurbations, with megalopolis regions, such as the “New Holland” city/country housing 25 million people on a land granted by Germany. Indeed, many conflicts are already generated by the distribution of the wealth contained in the soil. Water is also becoming a growing source of conflict (Nile, Jordan, Danube, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, Mauritania and Senegal…). These phenomena will certainly increase under the demographic pressure and the various climatic changes. This half-apocalyptic and half-utopian vision is therefore supposed to raise awareness in a parodic and playful way of the effects of pollution caused by man. These various disasters (global warming, rising waters, contaminated rivers, wars, active nuclear zone…) will have the effect of concentrating populations on small plots. Some areas will become totally unlivable, while our former white paradises (poles, Greenland…) will be the new capitals for the “happy few”.
Philippe Terrier-Hermann was born in 1970. After studying photography at La Cambre in Brussels and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he produced his first work Intercontinental1996-2000″ at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. He then lived in Brussels, Rome (Villa Medici), Paris (Cité des Arts) and Tokyo (Villa Medici Hors les Murs). Since 2000, he has exhibited at the Centre National de la Photographie in Paris, the Museum voor Fotografie in Antwerp, the Sharjah Biennial in the United Arab Emirates, the Maison Grégoire in Brussels, the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Castres, the Villa Arson in Nice and this year at the Busan Biennial in South Korea. His videos have been screened at the Point Ligne Plan evenings at La Fémis in Paris, at Super Deluxe in Tokyo, at Etablissements d’en face in Brussels, at De Appel in Amsterdam, at the Jeu de Paume and the Grand Palais in Paris and at the Centro Reina Sofia in Madrid. Some are also part of the collections of the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. He has published four books Fascination & Romans, Internationales, 106 Japanese beauties and 93 Dutch beauties with the Dutch publisher ARTIMO and then Veenman. He has collaborated with the French Institute of Fashion and with the magazines Up Street in London and Hunch in Rotterdam. He teaches photography at La Cambre in Brussels and at the Beaux-Arts de Besançon. In 2007, he is in charge of a photographic mission on the contemporary landscape, commissioned by the government of the Province Zuid Holland. He is the founder and manager of the self-managed art center La maison Grégoire in Brussels.
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