Absences

Absences is a public intervention project that involves electronic objects interacting with nature. Taking shape the frontier of new media and land art, it proposes a meditation on solitude and association, interaction and adaptation, natural and artificial, biological and inanimate.

Year

2008-2011

Description

Absences is an intervention project that involves electronic devices installed in outdoor environments. Taking shape at the frontier of new media and environmental art, it proposes a meditation on solitude and association, interaction and adaptation, natural and artificial, biological and inanimate. Each intervention consists in the creation and installation of autonomous electronic devices in various ecosystems. These artificial agents act within their specific environment. The project is created as an ongoing, residency-based process which was largely site-specific, each context contributing to the conceptual and technical development of the work.

The project consists in a series of five experimental outdoor interventions, produced between 2008 and 2011 in different residencies around the globe. Each intervention of the series seeks to integrate an autonomous, solar-powered electronic agent into a nonhuman ecosystem. These agents try to adapt to their environment in order to survive, meet their own needs, achieve their own goals, fulfill their own desires. They thus work the opposite of traditional technologies (which try to use nature in order to satisfy human needs). The constraints imposed by the nature of the work and the methodology (electronics, small budgets, residencies, nomadism, energy self-sufficiency) create a situation where the technology is always in an inferiority relationship with its environment.

This adaptive activity between the agents and their environment is mirrored in the research-creation process itself, each intervention being openly determined by the residency context in which they are created. The research-creation process itself is duly documented in pictures, schemas, sketches, notes, text and video. The project also relies on a set of constraints specific to work in residency and thus favors low-fi, open-source and DIY approaches over high-end, proprietary solutions.

Exhibition

The work is shown with a video installation specifically designed for the series. It consists of five (5) small HDTV screens distributed on the floor. Each screen displays a 12-15 minutes video documentation from one of the episodes of the series, containing a mix of footage from the research-creation process, including experiments, prototypes and pictures. The installation offers to the visitor a deconstructed narrative of a long project, made of a mix-match of scientific experiments, sketches, diagrams, landscapes and adventures. It's structure provides many possibilities for the visitors to circulate in the work and relate to it.

Additional material such as broken parts and devices, reproductions, original notes and sketches, etc. can also be included as part of the exhibition, if the space allows it.

Videos

Links

Credits

Concept and direction: Sofian Audry

Technical assistance:

  • Meriol Lehmann (Third Absence, Avatar)
  • Wirot Ponglangka (First Absence)
  • Samuel St-Aubin (Third Absence)

Funding: Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec

Residencies: