Pit Report: France

Des nouvelles de France

Here too there is an electronic scene but the French are very cautious
about the Internet. They see in it the great American Satan–and you
know we already have the "Minitel" (unfortunately "franco-French" and
very poor for feedback)! As for art, that is my object of preoccupation,
a lot of French artists have been working for a long time with
computers, but only now is the public beginning to admit that it is
possible for an artist to control the tools and to stay in an artistic
field. A great confusion has been created by the Imagina forum (in Monte
Carlo), a symposium portraying 3D Images or Virtual reality as the art
of the future, causing a big media confusion between new and
"avant-garde." As usual the French are split into factions, without
connections or exchange of ideas, desiring mainly to get some power. The
Internet should produce new kinds of connections but for the moment
French people, as I've already said, don't really *believe* in the
Internet! A great event is coming in November, a biennial exhibition in
Saint-Denis (a suburb of Paris) devoted to "Artifices." This year a
section will be devoted to works on the Internet.

As for me and the people who are working at Synesthesie
(http://www.cicv.fr/SYNESTHESIE/homepage.html), an artistic review 100%
WWW co-produced by the CICV, we represent a happy few in France trying
to understand and to participate in the changes that seem inevitable
with the NTIC. The CICV is a center where artists can come in residence
and get access to technology on a defined project. The CICV helps
Synesthesie and provides Internet access.

We think that these inventions can bring the best *and* the worst. Thus,
it is very important to watch and participate in innovation by giving
tools to those who can create a counterpower in front of the
totalitarization of the world. The Internet is a forum where we can
clearly expose our choices, our needs and manifest our capacities of
invention. New Age is not a solution. NTIC are already the patrimony of
Humanity and should be considered as a broad shareware rather than a
mere business. As for art, our desire is to find critical concepts and
tools to understand and express what is happening. I am looking with
great interest at the Net, at people like Joseph Squier, Geert Lovink,
Stelarc, people at The Thing and RHIZOME. We hope that with the online
translation of Synesthesie into English we'll get a broader audience and
more feedback.

Have a look at Synesth