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INNOVATION ARTS & SCIENCES

ART AND SCIENCE IN HARMONY By connecting artists and researchers through concrete projects, Atelier Arts-Sciences in Grenoble is part of a long-term plan in which promising new experiments, such as those currently being developed around new forms of writing, are sketching out new technological, artistic and civilian perspectives. Antoine Conjard, director of Hexagone – Scène Nationale de Meylan, and the initiator of Atelier Arts-Sciences, shares his thoughts. Atelier Arts-Sciences is a rather original structure. How long has it existed, and what is its mission, its strategic vision?

© PHOTO LAURENCE FRAGNOL

Michele Tadini & Angelo Guiga, La Terza Luce (price A.R.T.S. 2011).

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Atelier Arts-Sciences was founded in 2007, as the result of an agreement between CEA and Théâtre de l’Hexagone. There were also other partners, such as CCSTI (Centre de Culture Scientifique, Industrielle et Technique) de Grenoble. The idea is to offer artists the time and money necessary to develop a common object in collaboration with scientists and technologists. This involves a whole process of appropriation, exchange and evaluating each person’s expectations in order to build a truly viable project.

Therefore the time required for each project varies widely. It can take the form of seminars or a residency of three or four days, which allows each party to further pursue and refine their research. We’re not about long-term residencies. However, some projects require more adaptability, especially those that develop their own technology, which adds to the difficulty. This was the case for one of our first collaborations, with Annabelle Bonnéry, who was working with motion sensors on various parts of the body. We noticed that the signal was being processed, and the movement was being transcribed, with a half-second delay. This offset was a real problem in refining the project’s sensitive and poetic dimension. So the CEA engineers went back to their lab to develop a new exchange protocol. They managed to reduce the delay to 5 milliseconds, which was imperceptible to the human eye. Currently, [talented beatboxer] Ezra is also working on the project Bionic Orchestra 2.0, which requires exchanges and constant back-and-forths, and in this case a glove that allows him to directly control the modulation of light and sound on stage.

Recently he came back to the set for a week to do electronic processing tests. Also in progress are light studies by the composer Michele Tadini, with Gille Le Blevennec and Angelo Guiga from CEA. The objective is to compose light as if you were composing music.

So that’s what you’re doing in terms of tool development, but you also support other types of collaborations? Yes, we have another angle of work focused more on how new media is changing the world; it’s a more anthropological approach. We’re developing the program Nouvelles Connaissances, Nouvelles Écritures (New Knowledge, New Writing). For now, it’s still empirical in scale, but it will grow along with other projects currently in progress, such as one with the Québécois playwright Daniel Danis. There’s also Les Ateliers du Spectacle (Daniel Chouquet, Balthazar Daninos, Clémence Gandillot, Léo Larroche) and their project Le t de n-1, presented in Arcueil, in Anis Gras, on January 18. We accompany them in their writing protocol, which aims to show the inner workings of a mathematician’s brain. Their process is both scientific and poetic, like visual haikus, poetic objects that last from five to ten minutes.

The budget must have a pretty big influence on the production of the projects. How do you subsidize the artists whose projects you support? Of course, we make sure that the artists are paid, but the financing varies according to the project. The technological aspect is always very important and plays a big part in the negotiations. CEA provides part of the financing, but we can also look for more, for example, from FEDER (Fonds Européen de Développement Régional). Thanks to the workshop’s growing recognition, we now qualify for financing for research institutes, such as those of ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche). It’s important to stress that this stage of research is crucial to the project’s development, so it must be financed independently of the purely creative, artistic stage. For this stage we try to find more cultural financing and subsidies.

Does this collaboration between artists and researchers always go well? Is this stage of mutual immersion in the other’s world really essential? This concept of immersion is almost systematic. Often, the artists have prerequisites and imagine things about the

Digitalarti Mag #12 (English)  
Digitalarti Mag #12 (English)  

36 pages of digital arts featuring: interview of Grégory Chatonsky - Fred Forest exhibition at Centre des arts d'Enghien - Digital arts in p...

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