“Que l'on fête la science!”

Douglas Edric Stanley


Object Machine, Douglas Edric Stanley

I just had an interresting meeting with Mme le Ministre de la science, Claudie Haigneré (the first French woman in space!). She came to see the installations at the “Fête de la science” where I’ve been showing the Object Machine in conjunction with the Paris 8 research lab Laboratoire Esthétique de l’Interactivité. Since my installation was pretty popular — especially with the teenagers that had been dragged there with their school — Mme Haigneré’s assistants wanted me to give her a demo. So I recorded her into the Object Machine saying a highly original phrase “Que l’on fête la science” (oh la la!) then played her back mixed in with a bunch of “banlieusard” rascals that had been playing with the machine a few minutes earlier.

She didn’t really notice my play, and was oddly speechless. I too was puzzled, and asked her why so silent. Finally she muttered, “Je ne sais pas quoi dire. C’est génial. Je ne savais pas que des choses comme ça existe!” (“I don’t know what to say. It’s brilliant. I didn’t know things like this existed!”). I was suprised by this reaction. She’s the minister of research, for god’s sake. Multimedia’s not really all that new after all. The last time I met the the Minister of Research (Socialist that time), it was in 1999: he’d just come back from the MIT Media Lab and was trying to find things of a like nature in France. Ah, the endless musical chairs of politicians.