For the opening of la Gaîté lyrique ,artists in residence United Visual Artists (UVA) have created RIEN A CACHER / RIEN A CRAINDRE, a series of responsive installations throughout the building.
Drawing from the assumption that digital technology is moving us towards a utopia, UVA have turned la Gaîté lyrique into an all-seeing building that reacts to visitors, seducing and even unsettling them in an powerful and playful way.
Assembly, ground floor.
"Rien à cacher / Rien à craindre"
Visitors will be able to wander through the building, exploring its various spaces and coming across the installations on the way. Every installation reacts to the visitors, adding to the feeling that the building is alive. The installations, mostly having their own dedicated rooms, are connected to each other by an ambient, generative sound and light-scape which is set up in a cyclical rhythm, reinforcing the personality of the building. The sound design has been especially created by Henrik Ekeus and Matthias Kispert who have worked with UVA before.
Visitors will feel scrutinised by a disembodied intelligence, measured, scanned, tracked and categorised; which aligns with the theme running through the whole exhibition. This intelligence may turn from benign, nurturing and seductive to menacing or frightening at any time, based on the actions of visitors, but according to rules that are mysterious. Some installations will focus on this theme with the emphasis on being playful and flattering, putting the visitor in the spotlight as if they were a celebrity, whereas other installations will give the unsettling feeling of being scanned into a database, categorised and ultimately found to be insignificant.
Unsure what to expect or how the all-seeing building will respond to them, every visitor will go on a unique journey, coming across a labyrinth functioning as a musical instrument; a mirror mixing the present and the past; and various installations using the faces and bodies of visitors in a confronting and powerful way.
UVA want to create a visitor experience that simultaneously celebrates and critiques the brave new world of the Digital: to examine the unexamined assumption that digital technology is moving us towards utopia. Starting with the inspiration of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, UVA wish to create the impression of la Gaîté lyrique as an all-knowing, all-seeing building, producing an experience that starts as seductive but contains increasingly sinister overtones; and then to shatter that impression, replacing it with something altogether more chaotic and playful.
At the same time, UVA want to bring the visitor’s attention to the fundamental problem of all technology: at some point, it all breaks down, and then “all we have left is each other”.
Free. Only available by online booking in advance.
Watch the making-of RIEN A CACHER / RIEN A CRAINDRE
United Visual ArtistsEstablished in 2003, United Visual Artists are an art and design practice based in London. UVA produce work at the intersection of sculpture, architecture, live performance, moving image and digital installation.
UVA’s team members come from many disciplines including fine art, architecture, communication design, moving image, computer science and engineering. The cross-pollination of diverse skills inspires new fields of exploration, which is core to their ethos. Pushing the boundaries of research, software and engineering with every project, UVA’s work aims above all to be meaningful and engaging.
UVA’s work has been exhibited at institutions including the V&A, the Royal Academy of Art, the South Bank Centre, the Wellcome Collection, Opera North Leeds, Durham Cathedral and The British Library. Their artworks
have also toured internationally to cities including Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Yamaguchi, Taipei, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Barcelona.
www.uva.co.uk Scanner in la chambre sonore
In la chambre sonore UVA have invited the British artist Scanner to create a new sound work. Based upon writings by the poet Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), Les Fenêtres uses readings of the text sliced and choreographed into a spiraling pattern of words, breathes and the spaces in between words. A generative light system created by UVA responds in real time to the sound, building to a synesthetic peak.
Les Fenêtres by scanner Animation Flash Les Fenêtres by scanner