seconde nature

Douglas Edric Stanley


The Arborescence and Territoires Electroniques festivals have just combined to form a new festival, a new permanent exhibition space, a new name — Seconde Nature — all at their new home within the Fondation Vasarely in Aix-en-Provence. The opening exhibition, Natural Digital, runs from the 1st of June to the 15th of July, 2007.

Seconde Nature logo

By the very nature of the previous phrase, you should be able to read between the lines and see that this combination is above all strategic : take a bankrupt arts center with its former president on the run in Togo from prison time for embezzlement; add the historical weight of Vasarely who desperately needs to be re-plugged back into the art genealogy that has led us more recently to code-based art (to cite but one example); mix in two up-and-coming festivals of digital arts and digital music run by a very dynamic young group of curators, artists and musicians; all this in the context of an upcoming mayoral campaign that should be, ahem, colorful. But despite this local peplum, it is still a good sign that Seconde Nature has finally become a reality. Both festivals were ready to move on to the next round, and a permanent location was a necessary part of this evolution. Both have been playing with the Vasarely/generative-art mix in interesting ways (cf. Marius Watz’s Electro Plastique from the Processing Exhibition) and I‘m curious to see where this might lead.

We have not yet decided on anything definitive in terms of how I might participate in Seconde Nature, but it is a project that I will absolutely be involved in, in some form or another.

The opening exhibit is fairly small, but with two pieces that I’m quite fond of : Edmond Couchot and Michel Bret’s Les pissenlits and Eduardo Kac’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. There are also works from far lesser artists such as this one who nevertheless, thanks to some fancy footwork by his developers, has somehow transformed from what used to be the epitome of the french digital-art caricature into what is now at least a very pretty caricature of what makes digital art, art.