this issue is made possible by:
Newsletter 2/2003
5.Jg. / Nr. 28 - ISSN 1617-6901
earlier newsletter

ed. by Roberto Simanowski (Editorial)

Content Newsletter:
Editorial | Introduction 1 | Introduction 2 | Introduction 3 | Introduction 4 | Birgé-Intro | Birgé-Interview | Clauss-Intro | Clauss-Interview | Clauss-Review | Durieu-Interview | Durieu-Review | Lamarque-Intro | Lamarque-Interview | Schmitt-Intro | Schmitt-Interview | Schmitt-Review | Servovalve-Intro | Servovalve-Interview | Servovalve-Review | Concrete Poetry

This issue - Paris Connection - is co-produced and co-published by Arteonline.arq.br (Rio), Coriolisweb.org (Toronto), dichtung-digital.org (Berlin), Turbulence.org (New York). The version on dichtung-digtial is made possible by ZKM. It contains introductions to, interviews with, and reviews on: Jean-Jacques Birgé, Nicolaus Clauss, Frédéric Durieu, Jean-Luc Lamarque, Antoine Schmitt, Servovalve (introductions and interviews by Jim Andrews, reviews by Roberto Simanowski and Carrie Noland). All contributions are in English. For a French, Portuguese and Spanish version see: http://vispo.com/thefrenchartists. (Go direct to the main page of Paris Connection).


Co-publishing a project such as Paris Connection is a way of expanding collaboratively to amplify the critical process and also the its much deserved exposure. Paris Connection showcases a looselyknit community of artists who know each other, sometimes collaborate with one another, and all use Macromedia Director, combining cool programming and philosophical reflection, representing a version of software-art slightly different from what Lev Manovich depicts in his essay "Generation Flash."

Introduction: Jim Andrews

In looking at the work of any of them, one is suitably impressed. In looking at the work of all of them, the relations between their various approaches and issues are fascinating, and the range of the work, taken as a group, is wide but coherent. This has partly to do with the fact that all work is done in Shockwave where the emphasis is on fusion of the visual, the sonic, video, and programming. But the coherence of their work, viewed collectively, has mainly to do with their influence on one another, and collaborations together.

Introduction: Regina Célina Pinto

This group of French artists and their intriguing creations inspire us to ask the following question: like the impressionists before them, could they be producing a new dawn of seeing or a new view for art? A complex, eminently active, interactive and scientific view?

Introduction: Roberto Simanowski

Is there netliterature as brilliant as this netart? The problem lies in the art form. While visual artists are inclined to reflect on their material and to look for new material, experiments in literature mostly do not happen on the visual level of words but on the mental level of pure language. Another reason: since formal aesthetics and abstract paintings the audience of visual art is used to paintings that involve sensual stimulation rather than mimicry or realism, literature still has to meet the demands of meaning-centered expectations; the effects of digital technology do not seem to fit into such agenda.

Introduction: Helen Thorington

Algorithmic poetry may very well be a good description for them all—if one takes poetry to be an all-encompassing term, rather than a division of literature. The mathematics—the programming—are at the service of the art, at the service of synthesis, at the service of human intelligible meaning and emotion. In the way in which we talk about these six artists one can sense that we are in an in-between. We may not know what art will be in twenty or thirty years, but we can be sure we will not talk about it in the same way, any more than we now talk about performance art in terms of the discipline from which it emerged and those that contributed to its development.

Jean-Jacques Birgé: Introduction

He is not an artist-programmer, does not do Director work, but he is nonetheless influential in the group. He creates the sound in many of the works of these artists. He is a musician, composer, producer, moviemaker, author - and has been doing multimedia live shows since 1965.

Jean-Jacques Birgé: Interview

I teach too, but not many young people have enough general culture to follow. They are stuck in one musical style, as the style is nothing. The only thing that matters is to be believed. My style is philosophical and has nothing to do with fashion, that's why I could last! .... I still think we should change the world. It's running upside down.

Nicolas Clauss: Introduction

It will be interesting to see, as his work proceeds, whether he is able to sustain invention without getting into programming more deeply. What often happens to digital artists who can't program whatever they want is that they hit a point where they begin to repeat themselves, unable either to implement what they imagine or, worse, sometimes unable to imagine beyond what they know.

Nicolas Clauss: Interview

In 1999 I came back from overseas after a trip of 6 years (from India to Korea and Australia), I had a few show sin France then and decided to see what was possible with computers. Then I saw in an exhibition the cdrom Alphabet, I was amazed, I asked around me and someone told me it was done with a software call Director. I got the software and started working on it like crazy for 3 months. ... My aspiration is to experiment with the space between video, interactivity and painting and I find it very exciting.

Nicolas Clauss: Review

The end of painting is verbally expressed in Clauss’s Mechanical Brushes, a moving still life and a revision of a Futuristic gesture. The brush no longer embodies the appropriate tool. It can only serve as a symbol of its own lack of necessity. The brush of digital images is the code; painting, in its materiality, has become text.

Frédéric Durieu: Interview

The aim of all this is to create poetry. So, I like to speak about algorithmic poetry. A poem is a text that procures you poetry if you read it. The code I'm trying to write is a text that procures you poetry if a computer reads it for you.

Frédéric Durieu: Review (The Body in Cyberspace: Invented, Morphed, Generated, Dismissed)

Many of Frédéric Durieu's works confront the grotesque body. In Autoportrait it is his own face that the user can reshape, in Puppettool the user manipulates the body of an animal. What is behind this play with the digital body? What about the grotesque body of humans: in cyberspace and real life? And how do the body's disappearance, reinvention, and reshaping online affect our self-understanding and our own feelings towards the body? A discussion of the virtual, cyborgian body, drawing from examples of body art online.

Jean-Luc Lamarque: Introduction

When I showed Pianographique to my friend Cliff Syringe, it blew his mind. Pianographique, it seems to me, is interesting both as a tool or instrument and as a work of art. It's visual also, but the sound is the foreground. You can set up a backbeat or a background sound and then improvise with the sounds that don't repeat, and then change background sounds.

Jean-Luc Lamarque: Interview

When I created the Pianographique in 1992, I was very influenced by Dada, surrealists, collage techniques and experimental movie makers like Oscar Fischinger who worked on the synesthetic relation of sound and image.

Antoine Schmitt: Introduction

Schmitt's work is almost down to the code except for the few graphical lines involved. His aesthetic is minimalistic. The philosopher, artist, and programmer/mathematician are all present in Schmitt—a rare combination. It is important to see how the creations of object-oriented programming can be spirited with hope and generous utility for the benefit of humankind.

Antoine Schmitt: Interview

I stand at the crossing of a practice (programming) and an artistic quest, mostly humanist. I use programming as matter that I mold to create what we call 'plastic' art in French, that is, mainly objects or situations. My main concern is 'the tension between what is going to happen', and programming is a unique way of exploring this field. In the case of Avec determination, the tension is between the desire to stand up and the difficulties in doing so, which is both metaphorical and desperately physical.

Antoine Schmitt: Review

Like Rilke’s panther, Schmitt’s creatures have the double life of a symbol. They represent what they are: a panther imprisoned in a zoo and a programmed creature caught in a box. They also signify those looking at them, because their viewers have their own bars. ... Finally we may come to understand: the point is not that we cannot free them for their programmer controls their options; the point is that we desperately hope (or at least should) he really does.

Servovalve: Introduction

One is struck by the minimalist congruence of the visual and sonic in servovalve's audio-visual-interactive Shockwave work. ... ligne de ville is one of my favorite pieces by him. Turn out the lights, go fullscreen on this one, and turn up the sound. The sound consists of a background loop and, when the graphics change, one of several different pure notes plays. It's rather a cosmic piece, somewhat night-skyish suggestive of the architecture of the heavens...or the bones of our own designs.

Servovalve: Interview

Our common point is the use of a tool, Director, for its exploration possibilities... similarities stop here... everybody can express his own sensitivity... and happily, we're not using this tool/instrument in the same way... a trash-metal guitarist, or a country guitarist are both using a guitar... we're building our instrument, and we're playing with it... sometimes we share it.

Servovalve: Review

As Joan Brooks McLane explains in Early Literacy, small children do not distinguish between drawing and writing. The letters are lines and shapes as well as letters. They are houses and trees and snakes before they are H’s and T’s and S’s. The teleology of culture demands that we see the child’s acquisition of literacy—and therefore her reduction of lines to letters and depictions to characters—as progress. ... It is specifically this “flickering” or “oscillation” between an inscription’s two distinct phenomenological modes of being—viewable or legible—that Servovalve exploits in the work entitled nurb.

Concrete Poetry in Analog and Digital Media

Concrete poetry is visual not because it would apply images but because it adds the optical gesture of the word/letter to its semantic meaning. The philosophy behind this shift towards typography is to free the word from its representational, designational function towards the "pure visual", the image for images sake. On the other hand, the deconstructive play with the symbolic orders of language is considered to question social patterns and to even have a revolutionary potential. Does digital concrete poetry rather take up the latter or the earlier legacy? About predecessors, mannerism, aesthetics of the spectacle, and the "l'art pour l'art" of coding.

Issues 2003:

1 - current

Issues 2002:

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

Issues 2001:

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

Issues 2000:

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

Issues 1999:

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7