Arborescence ’06

Douglas Edric Stanley


Information post-only / no rants / just letting people know that Arborescence ’06 is yet again here upon us in « lovely Aix-en-Provence ». The festival is slowly detatching itself from the Art School where it began and spreading out into the city of Aix as well as onto the site of the Friche bel de mai in Marseille where there will yet again be an evening of concerts, performances and installations on the night of October 6th — notably yet another installation-lite of the ENIAROF project. I will not be showing anything personally (well you never know with ENIAROF, but nothing officially anyway, maybe we’ll improvise something, I’ll let you know). Then the festival returns back to its home town the following evening, on the 7th, for the official opening of exhibits throughout the city, where it will be ending up at the Art School for an evening of more concerts, installations and performances. The exhibits last until October 14th, but the best time to see them is on the 7th where you can finish up with the concerts at the Art School which are always very popular.

manège construction
manège tableau de commandes

On the night of the 7th, the 2nd-year students will be showing their Spectacle Psychorotatif in the school’s courtyard alongside several other installations. I actually had very little to do with this project, to my great regret, as it was mostly a production of the students with the core-team of the Laboratoire L.O.E.I.L., and with Jean Racamier and Eddie Godeberge — I was too busy elsewhere. But I really enjoyed the little time I had working with this group of students, especially during their 2-week workshop exploring Processing — they built some brilliant prototypes and installations with very little (if any) knowledge of programming or even what you could do with it. An inventive bunch, I look forward to working with them this year. Their performance for Arborescence will be both simple and complex: based on a structure borrowed from Peter Sinclair’s « Fée Electrique », they have built a three-story multimedia rotating projection tower, with moving video projectors sound generation, actors, robots, prosthetics of all sorts, inflatable structures, shadow-puppets, and other literally kitchen-sink utensiles (i.e. there’s a giant bionic man+blender+robot thing). It all spins around and makes noise. Students run around taking pictures of the audience and allow them to take a ride by uploading their pictures into the manege as it spins around. It’s both cool and ridiculous. Performance on Saturday the 7th.


I should also mention two former collaborators have participated in an interresting object called the Voyage Immobile. It will be sitting in the parking lot outside the Friche during the evening on the 6th in Marseille. Although it’s signed « Digital Deleuxe » (I don’t really know their work, in fact); the sound was created by my friend and collaborator Julien Hô Kim who fans will recognize as the the sound designer for both The Signal (2004) and Asymptote (1999); and the interactive image/program was created by Stéfan Piat, who was a very active member last year of ENIAROF, my Atelier Hypermedia, and Plot. Stéfan actually did a clever job taking what was basically a fairly classic commission to illustrate the works of Cézanne digitally for the overbearing/chaotic Cézanne 2006 exhibit in Aix-en-Provence, and turned it into a far more subjective melding of the painter’s works and the locations that inspired him. It is esthétically very similar to his installation forsinicola. Digital Deleuxe then built the structure around these two artist’s collaboration, and also (somewhat pretentiously) signed it as their own. I suppose I’m subjective, but come on, it’s just a container built to house what is basically these two artists more significant contribution.

Update: the Jean-Michael Bruyère / Jeffrey Shaw installation has been moved from the previous site in a centralized park, to the Fondation Vasarely. This does not suprise me one bit, given the difficulties the festival has had in getting permits for anything. I’m only an advisor for the team that produces the festival, but I’ve seen them tearing their hair out for what is ultimately a generous proposition for the city: bringing highly spectacular interactive installations out into the fabric of the city. This is the third imposed location change. Ah, city planners…