Want some more in-depth information on our organizational outreach strategy? Take a look into our latest productions and participations.
A technical walk through of our experimentation with algorithms in the production of comics was presented in
NeurIPS, a prestigious conference on neural networks and creativity. Applied Memetic is a transdisciplinary team of artists, researchers and computer scientists with the goal to synthesize the first comic book narrative entirely using machine learning. It’s an opportunity to explore processes that don’t conventionally account for the production of comic books, by weakening the aesthetic predispositions and received knowledge that are reproduced through specific (human) evolutionary interpretations of artistic production. Instead, we are interested in harnessing the machinic understanding of comics through recurrent patterns, probability distributions and outliers in comics language that have been lurking in our pre-attentive reader’s cognition and that we haven’t been able to articulate in words. With the support of Koneen Säätiö and Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (Soutien public à la bande dessinée).
Ilan Manouach, Ioannis Siglidis, Thomas Melistas and Fivos Kalogiannis
While speculations about the growing role of machines in artistic production have been a consistent trope in modern and contemporary art debates throughout the 20th century, comics from their early beginnings, have been symbiotically expanding with the development of printing, distribution, communication and media technologies. These industrial processes of completion based on generalized automation, standardization practices and an orchestrated division of labour are so embedded in the ways we understand and consume comics that have become an essential feature for the conceptualization of artistic practices in the medium. A typical production line of manga comics, for instance, involves dozens of people handling specialized roles in a quasi-taylorist production belt, often in ways that have been criticized for resembling a sweat shop, while distribution has been increasingly involving massively digitized operations of logistics and global supply chains. Comics is an industrial form of artistic expression. At the same time, the comics industry has been quite reticent in embracing the complex nature of technological developments in automation and especially in artificial intelligence. Synthetic and generative processes might soon reshape the ways we produce, consume, archive and distribute comics artefacts. A more wide adoption of artificial intelligence in different strata of the industry might reconfigure existing readership(s) market(s) and will ultimately force a radical realignement for the practitioners’ artistic ethos and contribute to the formation of new reader sensibilities. During the talk, Ilan Manouach presented two published projects exploring different perspectives on automation, Peanuts Minus Schulz (JBE), The Cubicle Island (5e Couche, Forlaens) and a twitterbot experiment revisiting the format of the press cartoon using deep learning. The research for this talk was supported by the Onassis Digital Residency Program (Athens), the Kone Foundation (Helsinki) and the Federation Wallonie Bruxelles – soutien a la bande dessinee program (Brussels).
We presented in Connect for Creativity’s international conference about digital arts the research we have been doing with our fellow team of Applied Memetic. We introduced the conceptual ramifications of generative architectures and their implications in the comics industry and more specifically we presented our Neural Yorker prototype, a twitter bot that posts automatically cartoons that were generated by an algorithmic model that was trained on millions of cartoons and punchlines.
Creative Explorations: From Social Entities to Ubiquitous Systems
In the paper “Comic Books as Ontographs: The composition process of Abrégé de Bande Dessinée Franco-Belge”, I examine the composition process of my book Abrégé de bande dessinée franco-belge, published in 2018 under the book catalog of eight publishers in Europe and elsewhere. Abrégé was built following the precepts of ontography, a model of conceptual representation for objects theorized by video game designer and OOO philosopher Ian Bogost. Abrégé presents a visual a personal typology of graphemes drawn from a shared reservoir of the Franco-Belgian bande dessinée tradition, where one can find a variety of comics proto-memes, metanarrative devices, paratextual elements and building blocks of the European BD.
We presented Ilan’s book The Cubicle Island which explored a hybrid mode of content production bringing together thousands of human «microworkers» and AI. The Cubicle Island is a post-digital, conceptual comic book project. It is an experiment with the distributed ramifications of digital labor. The Cubicle Island labors silently through the products of an extremely deskilled textual workforce, both human and non-human, and embraces the epistemic and technological acceleration put forward by the interconnectedness of the global precarious. It consists of a 1500 detexted desert island cartoons, for which I have solicited some 17,000 textual contributions through the interface of a popular digital labor platform. With varied formulations for each subsequent call, I was explicitly asking contributors (both human and automation processes) to provide me with a funny text between 50-70 words for each of these cartoons. By welcoming contributions from the most generic algorithms that were haunting this project from its inception, The Cubicle Island occupies a semantic textual field, an uncanny valley of Artificial Artificial Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). Without sacrificing the cartoon’s semantic complexity and reader engagement, The Cubicle Island puts the emphasis of comics in their (digitally) distributed, partly human labor. The percolation of the comic strip units through the reader swarm of the digital factories and their cheap algorithmic surrogates, calls into question the primacy of the punchline and the drawing as the defining factors of the cartoon format and the comic industry. In the age of surveillance, capitalism’s selective transparency, The Cubicle Island thematizes new formations of labor and leisure (the newly coined playbor). The Cubicle Island is a durational performance based on 50 years of desert island press cartoons that highlights the extreme isolation that comes with new regimes of work in the making of an international class of precarious cognitive workers.
WHAT ARE THE FUTURES OF COMICS?
How the niche storytelling medium shows the way forward for the visual arts.
Scenario Magazine, the Institute’s quarterly magazine publication (Q4, 2019)
Artist and researcher Ilan Manouach invites futurist, fintech entrepreneur and comics artist Lex Sokolin for a conversation about the upcoming paradigm shifts that will shape the comics industry in the future. Compared to most sectors of the entertainment industry, comics as a form of artistic expression depends on very little for its production. Indeed, posting one’s own “relatable comics” online, setting up a mail-order for a serialised zine, or printing one’s own graphic novel on a print-on-demand basis sets the entry barrier low compared to other visual arts. Therefore, it is natural that for a few artists, comics can be a Petri dish of experiments and a safe playground in which one can explore the ways artistic practices and experiences are shaped by the ongoing mutations of the increasingly technological, financialised, global production flows.
Ilan Manouach & Denise Araouzou (abstract)
Ilan Manouach’s previous work and research has shown, comics are particularly amenable to programmatic processes. From his early comic book appropriations to the latest book based on the orchestrated work of hundreds of comics artists, each project can be easily described as a set of instructions, in a programmatic fashion that highly resembles the bottom-up algorithmic processes of deep neural nets in machine learning. His current research project Applied Memetic is focused on Generative Adversarial Networks and their ability to generate novel images by emulating the probability distribution of given training datasets. The main motivation is to apply a GAN-derived model, to the generation of sequential comics art. Graphic narratives are not only important in general domains of artistic expression. They are tools whose multimodal expressive communication has become our primary modality in sharing and shaping representation of our worlds. By exploring the potential of AI’s ability to create graphic narratives Applied Memetic is also able to study gradually how human emotions are understood and can be reproduced by an AI within a narrative.The study poses the question whether the human capacity to feel empathy could be programmed and applied to artificial caregivers and companions in the future. For the Web Residency Manouach will be submitting texts and research on the ongoing study in collaboration with curator Denise Araouzou who is currently investigating affective labour in the beauty and healthcare industries.
Applied Memetic: Developing and researching synthetic media content
With the new interfaces and new musical instruments as the main theme and starting from the activities developed throughout the year at Sonoscopia, these meetings will provide to the community the opportunity to share processes (developed or under development), their applications, and reflect on their continuities, drawbacks, pasts and possible futures. As a practical and experimental area by excellence, where the focus is the moment and the project, not often experimental and improvised music has the possibility for a reflection that goes besides the work and the performance. These meetings do not pretend to erase the risk and uniqueness of the moment where a musical work is presented, but they aim for a step further, after the performance and the stage. A step where, by a shared information, a reflection contributes to the consolidation of the artistic processes developed. These meetings are marked by a communal spirit and the inclusion of multiple voices that goes beyond the musician, the artist, the curator, the audience or the multiple intervenients in the creation process. The meetings are based on a philosophical relaxation and seriousness that we believe to be essential in the development of the future of our activities and, consequently, in their widen impact on the local and international scenes of exploratory music.
Gijs Gieskes / Rodrigo Costanzo / Gamut Inc / José Alberto Gomes / Ilan Manouach / Mateo Mena / Gustavo Costa (Sonoscopia) / Wade Matthews (Cruce) / Tiago Fróis (Oficinas do Convento) / Miguel Carvalhais / Nuno Torres / Victor Gama / Adriana Sá / Paulo Maria Rodrigues
In collaboration with artist Maria Arnal, Coro is a 3-day workshop that explores how Shapereader’s tactile resources can be steered towards the elaboration of an alternative system of musical notation for professional and amateur singers /vocalists.
This exhibition questions the heritage of the classic “Franco-Belgian” comic strip in contemporary French-speaking European comics, through more than a hundred original plates and reproductions.
Belgium: PIERRE BAILLY, MATHIEU BURNIAT, BENOÎT FEROUMONT, CÉLINE FRAIPONT, ANISS EL HAMOURI, VALENTINE GALLARDO, DOMINIQUE GOBLET, GRAND PAPIER, JULIEN LAMBERT, ILAN MANOUACH, PASCAL MATTHEY, FRANK PÉ, DIMITRI PIOT, MAX DE RADIGUÈS, FRANÇOIS SCHUITEN, DOMINIQUE THÉATE, SOPHIE THELEN, MATHILDE VAN GHELUWE, NICOLAS WOUTERS, ZIDROU
France: ALEX ALICE, ÉMILE BRAVO, IVAN BRUN, CATEL, FABRICE COLIN, DAVID COMBET, GABRIEL DUMOULIN, FLORENCE DUPRÉ LA TOUR, GESS, PIERRE-HENRY GOMONT, SERGE LEHMAN, JULIEN NEEL, AURÉLIE NEYRET, FABIEN TOULMÉ, TOMMY REDOLFI, STRIPOP, FABIEN VEHLMANN, YOANN
Switzerland: HÉLÈNE BECQUELIN, GION CAPEDER, MICHELE FOLETTI, MAURANE MAZARS, SILVAIN MONNEY, THOMAS OTT, FREDERIK PEETERS, TOM TIRABOSCO, ZEP
Curator: Jean-Christophe Deveney
Exhibition produced by Lyon BD, with the support of Pro Helvetia, Wallonie-Bruxelles International, Le Center Wallonie-Bruxelles in Paris, and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region.
In collaboration with artist Maria Arnal, Coro is a 3-day workshop that explores how Shapereader’s tactile resources can be steered towards the elaboration of an alternative system of musical notation for professional and amateur singers /vocalists. The public presentation has been postponed due to the general strike and the public demonstrations.
In collaboration with artist Maria Arnal, Coro is a 3-day workshop that explores how Shapereader’s tactile resources can be steered towards the elaboration of an alternative system of musical notation for professional and amateur singers /vocalists.
During the international Seminary of Film Archive held in Tabakalera that explores non-conventional and para-institutional uses of archival practices, Ilan Manouach and Maria Arnal are going to present the process and outcome of the 3-day Coro workshop previously held at Hirikilabs. Other invited guests were Xabier Erkizia, Jorge Jácome, Pauline Julier, Aya Koretzky, Helena de Llanos, Jumana Manna, Uriel Orlow, Jessica Sarah Rinland and Ibon RG. The programme was curated by Lur Olaizola and Victor Iriarte.
Hackathens 2019 invites theorists to share their ideas on the issue of ownership of the city in the era of “platform economy” and is therefore a form of collective critical thinking. Furthermore, calls on groups not only to critically think about the questions posed, but also to plan, in the same way, objects, scenes or situations that reflect their understanding of the importance of common Athens and their response to the question “to whom Athens belongs”. This three-day project aims to analyze both the economic and business aspects of the phenomena we are dealing with. The Symposium asks participants to consider the underlying economic and business models and the formal and informal economies behind perceptions of what, who or what are they to whom Athens belongs.
OutScore curated by Dr. Sozita Goudouna is a research program that generates encounters between dance, sound, performance and the visual arts in relation to the complex notions of notation and score, and the ways scoring elasticity can be conceived in the second decade of the century. Ilan Manouach presented the score for an upcoming Shapereader perfromance. Other artists were Maria Hassabi, Kelly Nipper, Michael Portnoy, Duke Riley, Alexandros Georgiou, Delia Gonzalez, Eleni Kamma, Kostis Velonis, Raymond Pettibon, Erlea Maneros Zabala, Christian Wassmann, Vassilis Salpistis and Marie Voignier, Dionysis Kavalieratos, Maria Georgoula, Nikos Charalambidis, Olga Venetsianou, Angela Svoronou, Sotiris Karamanis and Mark Aerial Waller. The second edition of the project will be presented at ‘T’ Space Rhineberg New York designed by Steven Holl Architects in collaboration with Dimitra & Eirini Tsachrelia and Nicholas Karytinos (Tacet Creations).
Following the invitation of Daniel Jimenez-Quiroz, Ilan Manouach gave a detailed presentation of Shapereader’s different formats of engagement, discussed about the modality of touch in comics and proposed a short exercise with the Metope plates.
Presentation of an academic paper from Ilan Manouach that explores the conditions for user diversity in comics and examines the formal, syntactical and material properties, and technologies that contribute into forging communities of users/readers. St.Ambroise University, Davenport.
National Comics is one of the main frames of analysis in comics… or is it too old-fashioned now that the ‘transnational’ is trending? We will discuss the upsides and limitations of the concept of national comics in the case of Canada, an officially multicultural and bilingual country in constant search of national identity: Does Canadian Comics matter? What is national comics? Most popular comics? Best comics? What about immigrants and emigrants? What are the roles of institutions? A reading session by Kim Jooha.
Comics in India are being treated as cheap objects. People feel they have no inherent value, and are often discarded. Through a documentation of different raddiwalas (paper recyclers) who sort through the pile of books and magazines they get and rescue comics from there, Aarthi will talk about books that are representative of different points in the comics jouney of India: from the Pattachitra and Kaavad, to Indrajal Comics, to Amar Chitra Katha, to Tinkle Comics to Graphic Novels and finally zines. One of the books she will have with her is a rescued comic! By Aarthi Parthasarathy.
Sadly, comics have a longstanding tradition of sexism. Primarily focusing on North American / Canadian comics, we will discuss how sexism has affected the writing of the history of comics (erasing women) and the lack of historiographical discussion in comics. We will also see how contemporary creators (including men), publishers, and readers reflect the rise of feminism (including sexuality) in recent years. Discussed works by Julie Doucet, Carel Moiseiwitch, Fiona Smyth, Jillian Tamaki, Ginette Lapalme, Hue, Jessica Campbell, Aaron Manzyck, Eric Kostiuk Williams, Eli Howey, Victor Martins and Tings Chak. By Kim Jooha.
The creative challenge presented by comics does not begin or end at the drawing table. How does new work find a readership? What makes for a sustainable art practice? How do financial pressures and challenges drive aesthetic decisions, and vice versa? Join publisher and author Josh O’Neill, co-founder of the publishing collectives Locust Moon and Beehive Books, for a group discussion of small press economics, experimental methods of comics production and distribution, and the communities that create — and are created by — comic books. By Josh O’Neill.
Deskilled Comics are intentionally poorly drawn comics. Why do some of us like deskilled comics? How do we distinguish the deskilled and just unskilled? Or do we need to distinguish them at all? Are skills important in art? Why are deskilled or unskilled comics so much popular online? Discussed works by Mark Connery, Kendra Yee, Mushbuh and Patrick Kyle. By Kim Jooha.
The workshop on gender and comics is basically to take people through different images, that Aarthi has collected for here research project and at each image, stop to have a discussion, as well as a visual/written reaction. We could engage in detail with each piece of representation, and have a conversation about it. Then we would either note down our observations on context, character, creator to understand why that image exists in that way, or re-imagine/ re-write that image. By Aarthi Parthasarathy.
Comics’ entry to the fine art world was the source of the appropriation art (Lichtenstein). But now many comic artists deploy the method of appropriation includes collage. There are exciting similarities of heterogeneity and methodology that collage and comics share, especially with the development of photo editing software. We will discuss collage works of comic artists; comics employing collage; comics influenced by collage; collage as comics; and comics as collage. Discussed works by Julie Doucet, Marc Bell, Michael Comeau, Kendra Yee, Hue, Patrick Kyle, Tings Chak and Ginette Lapalme. By Kim Jooha.
An experimental workshop on comics distribution. The workshop arises from the need to think radically the distribution of any cultural material and in particular of comics from a negative perspective. Through different exercises we will create a protocol for massive elimination of all comics worldwide. Later we will identify spaces of resistance where comics could survive under extreme adverse conditions. By Francesc Ruiz.
This paper from Ilan Manouach regards the complex relationships between comics, conceptual art and post digital affects. The conceptual project Noirs that is discussed in this paper is a detournement facsimile of Les Schtroumpfs Noirs: By shedding light on the industrial fabrication of a book though offset printing technology, a supposedly transparent and mechanic process, it reveals it to be a powerfully meaningful signifying device.
Ilan Manouach is known through his comic books appropriations that changed the paradigm of what can and can not be considered as an authorial comic. Together with Daniel Bueno, they lead an ambitious project: to publish a collection of unusual graphic narratives in Brazil since the beginning of the last century. Searching for the crossroads of visual arts, concrete poetry, poema proceso and graphic design, Bueno and Manouach propose an acute reflection on a vast production little known by the general public creating a scenario of vanguard narratives undocumented in other countries with longer comics traditions.
The Conceptual Comics Workshop emphasises the directness of a subversive, marginal art form whose democratic potential depends on its ability to be criticised within itself. In which language may one describe artistic practices that swear fealty to no single history, no major canons and established critical methodologies? In which terms and by the use of which jargon can one describe the unfixed substances of a subcultural production negotiating linguistic and extralinguistic meanings in a globalised world, other than as realms of affects, potentials and strategies? The workshop will explore practice-based research related to the comic book industry. It will be conducted in English. A certificate of participation will be given to all registered participants.
In 2005, Jean-Christophe Menu, the publisher of L’Association publishes a biting manifesto, Plates Bandes. In an attempt to insulate his own catalogue from the ‘sensibilities‘ of the mainstream, Menu christens the term 48cc to describe the industrial national standard for Francobelgian comics, from its material properties (48 pages, hardcover). In offset printing jargon, a dummy is an unprinted book, which allows the publisher to test the finished object before its manufacture especially when a book goes out from conventional formats. Manouach’s book Blanco is an ode to standardization, 48cc dummy printed in 5000 copies and distributed in bookstores. By multiplying a publishing artifact, whose use is nulled by the popularity and ubiquity of its format, Blanco celebrates the signifying force of the industrialization of comics.
In an age where public libraries are an endangered institution, media collections run by amateur librarians emerge as new, vital topographies of sharing. UbuWeb, a web-based educational archive founded by Kenneth Goldsmith in 1996, proposes a different sort of art history. It provides free and unrestricted access to a remarkable, idiosyncratic collection of film and video art, critical documents and essays, sound poetry and art recordings, among many other unclassifiable strands of the avant-garde. We believe that the Ubuweb has a special meaning for Greece today, as it highlighted, through its spartan, low-bandwidth distribution, important questions regarding the notion of the periphery in an interconnected globalised world. Through talks and workshops Ubuweb in Athens proposes to explore the uses of the archive in regards to artistic production, and examine Ubuweb and other shadow libraries, through the lens of its users and makers. The event is curated by Ilan Manouach and Kenneth Goldsmith.
Compendium of Franco-Belgian Comics takes as a starting point the 48cc (48 pages, colour printing, hardcover) comic book format. The name contemptuously christened by the alternative publisher l’Association, points to the product of a normative and just-in-time book industry that dominates the French speaking publishing landscape. During a single afternoon Manouach purchased a selection of forty-eight second hand 48cc books and after careful reading he built a non-exhaustive idiosyncratic index of the elements considered to generally define the tradition of francobelgian comics. Among a variety of comics proto-memes, metanarrative devices, paratextual elements and other hovering dark clouds, shark wings, identity stereotypes and body-shaped holes, the Compendium presents itself as an orchestral comic book, where instantiations of his typology, freed from the imperatives of specific narratives can be read as the in situ building blocks of the European BD. Compendium comes as a co-production of 8 different European publishers, with a print run of 1500 and demonstrates the inherent linguistic properties of the comics medium. This book and its relation with contemporary art has been discussed extensively in Lorenz Antognini’s MA thesis (UNIL, 2018).
The Conceptual Comics Workshop emphasises the directness of a subversive, marginal art form whose democratic potential depends on its ability to be criticised within itself. It brings to the fore practices that are unaffiliated with the commonly accepted history of the medium and holds that if a comics genealogy exists, can only be individual and idiosyncratic. The unlocatedness in the medium’s spectrum is more than an abstraction: works operate on the margins of distribution and reception, artists uncomfortable with the entrenched roles perform under multiple identities and capacities and readers, in the absence of critical discourse engage with the works in forensic, at times nonspecified, ways of examination. I argue, through the workshop, that this condition, more than a minor drawback of a normative industry, induces new behaviours and forms of social relationships. Each of the different assignments explores the very substrate of the comics medium not as a culturally neutral site, but as a way to build alternative historiographies, replete with their own material properties and signifying potential. In the absence of passionately critical discourse in comics, the erratic insights of curatorial and publishing initiatives have failed to produce the conditions for a fluid transdisciplinarity. The workshop, by arguing and claiming the unlocatedness of conceptual comics, entrenched between more respected form of expression, such as poetry, artist books or contemporary art, posits the issue of legitimacy and raises questions to be explored and discussed: In which language may one describe artistic practices that swear fealty to no single history, no major canons and established critical methodologies? In which terms and by the use of which jargon can one describe the unfixed substances of a subcultural production negotiating linguistic and extralinguistic meanings in a globalised world, other than as realms of affects, potentials and strategies?
Manouach’s talk focused on conceptual comics (CoCo) and explores the very substrate of the comics medium not as a culturally neutral site, but as a way to build alternative historiographies, replete with their own material properties and signifying potential. Revuelta en el cómic was curated by Francesc Ruiz and other invited artists were Fatbottom, Gutter Fest, Máquina Total, CCCCC, Efrén Álvarez, Mery Cuesta, Conxita Herrero & María el Problema, Irkus M. Zeberio, Un Faulduo and Martín Vitaliti.
Over the past three decades, academic librarians and archivists have developed a rigorous, yet circumscribed, set of best practices for long-term data preservation. Meanwhile, amateur file sharers have worked out their own approaches to the preservation problem, often with little concern for institutional authority or the strictures of copyright law. Unfortunately, these two groups rarely cross paths. In this workshop, we will present several techniques for distributing and preserving large-scale data collections under adversarial conditions, drawing primarily on methods used by shadow libraries and among individual collectors. Our aim is to foster critical awareness of each of these systems’ benefits and limitations. First, we will teach how to use rsync for real-time mirroring from a centrally hosted data collection. They we will walk through the process of launching a decentralized BitTorrent repository, using Docker and Transmission to create torrents on a virtual private server. Finally, we will discuss the promise and pitfalls of emerging blockchain storage systems. The workshop was delivered by Steven McLaughlin.
Dina Kelberman is an artist from Baltimore, MD whose work often utilizes procedural accumulation of found digital images and video to create artworks that are more than a sum of their parts. Such projects include I’m Google, an ongoing tumblr project which has been shown internationally and featured in The New York Times Magazine, and the browser-based Smoke & Fire, which was commissioned by the New Museum. In this workshop Kelberman will discuss her artistic process of Intuition > Rules > Execution and lead participants in the creation and execution of their own procedural experiments. These experiments will invite participants to avoid overthinking, focus on intuition and whim, and create work within a game-like structure. The workshop was conducted by Dina Kelberman.
The workshop means to extend the most genuine qualities of the Internet, as we love it, to some physical incarnation. If I need to summon this online feeling and there is no electricity, what can I do? What are the textures, the smells, the weight we could to associate to digital feelings? Here the feeling serves as an element of preservation, and the physicality of things as a way to think perennial in digital. Based on each participant digital practice and knowledge, and crossed with David Desrimais (Jean Boîte Éditions) know-how, this workshop is a round-trip from digital to analog feelings, and back.
Using pre-existing selected found physical/conceptual material, participants will engage in a game of Exquisite Corpse to generate ideas for new work. The game ‘Exquisite Corpse’ (also known as ‘Consequences’) is related to the creative process, whether that be the laying out of notes for a text, making a storyboard or the construction of a film narrative. It is an index of possibilities and daydreams that in fact need no end outcome, it is all about the journey. When played as a ‘game’ it’s an entertaining way of finding out about one’s own memory, making visible the hidden patchwork quilt of an individual’s knowledge banks – hinting at how we make connections within ourselves and to each other all the time. We are able to visualise the scope for making tangents within the overall journey where every direction is permitted, and sometimes discover the limitations of our own hard circuitry (our memories). With internet search engines, forums and databases we are not limited to just our own recollection of a song or a text or a movie scene, we can search other peoples memory banks too through keyword searches – the whole of the internet is a massive thesaurus of unrealised new connections and potential creations.
Ilan Manouach’s collaboration through the Galerie Anne Barrault to the DRAWING NOW Art Fair, the leading contemporary art fair in Europe dedicated to drawing, and the first to have dedicated an entire fair to the contemporary medium.
Un Monde un Peu Meilleur is a stretched fac-simile edition of Louis Trondheim’s 48CC book. The unsolicited, unauthorized and unwelcomed pirate version that sells in the same book circuits than the original version, revisits with a bitter eye the claims to which the publisher Association didn’t live up to: That the question of format in comics is a political arena that overrides mere complicity of interests bringing together paper bulk orders, industrial workflow standardization, optimal formats and economies of scale, reader attention spans, shelf space and collectors’ best practices.
For the Hippolyte show ECHO CHAMBER introduced the Shapereader Light Booth, an implementation of the Shapereader tactile language. The intertwining of vision and tactility has inspired several aesthetic analyses: from Johann Herder’s theory of feeling (Gefühl) in architecture and sculpture to Alois Riegl’s conceptualisation of a ‘tactile look’ in ancient Egyptian art, and from Michael Taussig’s notion of ‘optical tactility’, to Merleau-Ponty’s concept of vision as a ‘palpation’ with the eyes. The Light Booth was presented as an idiosyncratic luminous dictionary of discrete shapes, that can function as either nouns, verbs or modifiers. Not unlike other constructed languages, the arbitrariness of a limited list of signifiers highlights the working of a highly speculatively use of a tactile language that operates approximately through ambiguous metaphors. The exhibition was produced with the help of the Kone Foundation.
The Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurter Buchmesse) is the largest literary fair in the world. For the 2017 edition, the invitation of honor of France and the French language at the Frankfurt Book Fair is a historic opportunity for the French language to show its openness to the world, to promote the talents that make it live, to present the innovations that make it their engine for the future. The invitation to show the works produced with Shapereader, a tactile communication system for the visually impaired, is a way to achieve but also to enrich the universal ambitions of the French language with a more inclusive vision, this time regarding visually impaired people. The CFWB trusted ECHO CHAMBER ASBL to develop this exhibition project, with common goals and values. The inclusion of a Shapereader exhibition at the Frankfurt Book Fair was an ideal opportunity to give the project a media presence and anchor the project also in the literary events circuit.