• The ArTec University Research School aims to promote original links between research and higher education (master’s, doctorate) between artistic creation, cognition and digital technologies, between humanities, engineering, design and social sciences, between university campuses, cultural institutions , associative activism and private companies. It is based on a partnership with a wide range of academic and cultural institutions: BNF, Center Pompidou, National Archives, Gaité-Lyrique…. The field of research concerned is circumscribed by its title: Arts, Technologies, digital, human mediations and Creations. Art, creation and technologies bring a particular dimension of questioning and openness to the fundamental issues of human mediation, on the cultural, social and political level. Artistic creations constitute here both privileged grounds and methods for better understanding the challenges of the changes in progress. This meeting brings together students, teachers, researchers, artists and the curious, to try to project future imaginaries, beyond established forms.
  • The External Council of ArTeC is made up of Maryvonne Arnaud, artist, animator of the Laboratory in Grenoble and of the local.contemporain magazine; Noel Fitzpatrick, Professor of Philosophy and Aesthetics and Dean of the Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media (GradCAM) affiliated with Technological University Dublin, Ireland; Alain Fleischer, artist, director Le Fresnoy, Lille; Benoît Hennaut, Director of the National School of Visual Arts of La Cambre, Brussels, Belgium; Philippe Mouillon, artist, animator of the Laboratory in Grenoble and of the local.contemporain magazine; Marie-Hélène Pereira, Director of Programs at Raw Material Company, Dakar, Senegal; Catherine Quéloz & Liliane Schneiter, professors in art history, former directors of the CCC program of critical cybermedia curatorial studies at HEAD, Geneva and coordinators of the Independent Platform for Research and Doctoral Practice (IRPDP) in Switzerland.Each of them is asked to react, imagine, question, project themselves from the new imaginary forms proposed, more or less emancipated from the dominant references, correct postures, authorized, necessary or sustainable horizons.

Here is an excerpt from Philippe Mouillon’s notes in response to this solicitation:

“Should we take a dog?” wondered Alain Damasio while presenting us the School of the living, this place of “polytic” transformation that he is currently setting up around Sisteron. This is a question that has crossed humanity since the Neolithic era. Should we take a dog? – Yes, if we want to protect the domestic from the wild, No, if we don’t want to upset the ecosystems present beyond the Domus. This scruple for external balances was rare in the history of humanity. We even shamelessly sent dogs into orbit around the Earth, that is to say without agreeing with them on the mission, doubtless believing that they did not have sufficient expertise. However, if we sometimes agreed to let go, then we would not take a dog, but a dog could take us. We could propose to him to associate our horizons, as do the shepherds for whom the dog is like a hybrid extension of the hand, or like these peasant-hunters studied by the ethnologist Charles Stepanoff[1] and who claim to be possessed by the earth, surveying it while trying to place oneself from an escaping point of view, that of the hare or the wild boar, which requires integrating the dog’s perspective into oneself. These blurry zones thwarting the necrotic distinctions between nature and culture, humanity and animality, already intrigued Xenophon[2]. It could be useful to reclaim them to approach our new earthly condition less naively.

Because our common references are, alas, simply, the dominant references. The colonization of imaginations by the stars of finance, whose collections of contemporary art now punctuate the cultural calendars, and by the digital oligopolies, whose infinite financial capitalization has no historical equivalent, requires calling on more incorrect approaches such as the says the philosopher Jaime Vindel[3] when he talks about fossil aesthetics[4] by highlighting the links of dependence and complicity between the imaginaries of industrial progress and the interests of multinational oil and gas extraction companies. We could in this sense speak today of an aesthetics of the click and propose, in response, to begin university training by decarbonizing imaginations in order to achieve a choir, a common song, because there is probably no another sustainable horizon.

But beyond dogs, ecosystems are disrupted by fighter jets, as bioacoustician Bernie Kraus reminds us of how much toads need to sing along, to chorus[5], to escape their predators and seduce their soul mates. This tuning of the Toads’ Chorus takes about 45 minutes, cruelly torn apart by the sound barrier of military planes which ruins unison singing efforts and allows predators to taste them greedily.

Behind its playful appearance, the digital industry is an industry of hunters, particularly hungry for military funding. In his “Bestiary of the Anthropocene”[6], Nicolas Nova tells us that some armies train birds of prey to intercept drones. Others, or the same ones, invite science fiction authors to imagine sneaky because unexpected threats. We could propose, in response, to complete university training with an awareness of threats, of our collective blindness in the face of predators.

But the main lesson of Nicolas Nova’s presentation remains the obstinate search for context. Our new historical condition requires us to leave our air-conditioned and decontextualized sphere, our immense anthropized Domus, by force, to think about and heal the consequences of this new situation. The externalities are no longer where we imagined them and seem to us to have become toxic. We could propose, in response, to continue university training by training in the perception of furtive clues, mainly located outside the academic Domus, then in their amplification and putting into perspective by integrating the perspective of the dog, or that of the smartphone repairer[7] or of any other otherness, that is to say by agreeing to let go of ourselves in order to welcome and meditate on the discreet dynamic divergences.

Finally, I still remember the joy experienced in discovering the “Voices of rain forest” collected by the ethnomusicologist Steven Feld[8], these wonderful songs of birds and various critters which are, for the community of Bosavians living in the tropical forest of Papua -New Guinea, not the expression of ecosystems but the nocturnal songs of the ancestors. And I thought then of the considerable weight of the tradition of the Last Judgment in our backpacks of Europeans steeped in monotheism. How good and soothing it must be to listen to the ancestors twitter those extravagant chirps at night. Not to live in innocence, but to gain intensity. The experiences of disorientation proposed by Yves Citton and the ArTeC team, leaving established programs for the transmission of knowledge, obviously come up against the difficulty of rethinking the legitimacy and accounting methods of this weighing of souls which ends each university year, but they work within us, however, expanding our ability to escape ambient orthodoxies.

Philippe Mouillon

[1] Charles Stépanoff L’animal et la mort. Chasses, modernité et crise du sauvage Ed la Découverte 2021

[2] Xénophon L’Art de la ChasseLes Belles Lettres, 1970

[3] Jaime Vindel  Estética fósil.Imaginarios de la energía y crisis ecosocial Ed Arcadia (Barcelona) 2020

[4] https://modernidadesdescentralizadas.com/projets/esthetique-fossile/

[5] Quoted by Pascale de Senarciens and Ella Gouet, ArTeC master students

[6] Nicolas Nova A Bestiary of the Anthropocene: On Hybrid Minerals, Animals, Plants, Fungi Ed Onomatopee 2021

[7] Nicolas Nova Dr. Smartphones: an ethnography of mobile phone repair shops, 2020

[8] Quoted by Jonhatan Larcher (ArTeC post-doctoral fellow) and Damien Mortier