Attempts at explementation:
Combining material and symbolic operations in art and design research
In computer science, implementation designates that human activity which consists in translating a set of specifications initially expressed in “natural” language into a program a computer can execute. Predicated on the notion that verbalization exercises control over the material world, implementation and its increasingly widespread application exemplify a form of triumphalist anthropocentrism. Confronted by novel forms of materialism necessitated by the ecological crisis, this performative turn today needs to seen in perspective. Instead of viewing our relationship with the environment through the prism of how we are to control it with words, now the need is to develop novel modalities of cooperation with the material world. How can we reverse the process of implementation by listening to what matter says to us—or, rather, what it “makes us say”—and thus envisage a form “explementation”?
Based on a very recent publication (in P. Ribault, Design, Gestaltung, Formatività. Philosophies of Making, Ed. Birkhäuser, Basel, 2022), Samuel Bianchini will develop this notion and approach of “explementation” through different case studies of research-creation – in particular in the field of robotics and active materials -, different examples where the art practice is the main condition to cooperate and to reflect.
Presented by the Concordia University Research Chair in Critical Practices in Materials and Materiality with Hexagram Network, and happening at the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture & Technology, on Monday, September 12th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm in the Resource Centre (Room EV-11.705) @ Concordia University, 1515 Ste-Catherine Street West, H3G 2W1.
Samuel Bianchini is an artist and professor at École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (EnsAD, PSL University, Paris).
His creations involve physical as well as symbolic operations, in context, in public and in real time, stimulating us to contemplate, to think as much as to act. Supporting the principle of an “operational aesthetic”, Samuel Bianchini works on the relationship between the most forward-looking technological “dispositifs”, modes of representation, new forms of aesthetic experiences, sociopolitical organizations and ecological issues. To this end, he collaborates with scientists and engineering research laboratories.
He lives and works in Paris. With more than 100 collective and 20 solo exhibitions, his works are regularly presented in Europe and around the world. In close relation to his research and artistic practice, Samuel Bianchini has undertaken theoretical work, which has led to numerous publications including the collective book Practicable. From Participation to Interaction in Contemporary Art, MIT Press, 2016 (co-directed with Erik Verhagen).
He studied art and design through different approaches and defended his PhD thesis at Palais de Tokyo with a solo exhibition and, more recently, his accreditation to supervise research (HDR). As a teacher-researcher at EnsAD, he is also the head of the Reflective Interaction group of EnsadLab (EnsAD’s laboratory) and the co-head of La Chaire arts & sciences set up in 2017 with École polytechnique and the Daniel & Nina Carasso Foundation. He is also member of the network Hexagram and associate member of the Cluster of excellence Matters of Activity, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.