The Axiom serves as a prologue to The Everted Capital. It shows the abstraction of a landscape composed entirely of elements which served as money throughout human history. Its rocky ground is made of a wide range of minerals used in the fabrication of pre-metallic tokens, Its flora is an assemblage of heterogeneous plants whose fruits or fibers have been transformed into currencies around the world, Its fauna is an improbable juxtaposition of small living species whose shells, teeth, furs or feathers have served as money. Set in a future in which the sun has become extinct, this film has been shot entirely with a high resolution thermal camera. Filmed in total darkness, it shows the inner heat of all elements which compose its discontinuous landscape and the temperature transfers between them.
In 7231, the Earth has long since been dismantled, and the memory of what it was has been forgotten. Humans live on Dyson sphere – a superstructure built around the sun and able to absorb all of its energy. The physicist Freeman Dyson, who theorised it in the midst of the cold war of the earth Era as a possible solution to overpopulation and depletion of resources, has also long since been forgotten.
The film recounts the story of a community of immortals living on such a structure and going about their endlessly repetitive activities. The action is centered around one specific and catastrophic event: the reemergence of death as an atavism of our world into this other world. Performed entirely in the underground spaces of the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania, the fiction is a one hour unit played by 24 performers and repeated 24 times. Every hour, one of the character dies and leaves the scene. As less and less characters support the fiction, the negative space produced by their absence in the narration grows exponentially. Standing at the border of this expanding vacuum, the shrinking community adapts and morphs. At the end of the 24h performance, there is only one performer left : an immortal new born baby for eternity playing in the empty space of the museum.
This 24 hours long filmed performance starts on august 15th 1971 in the Uchisange Elementary school in Okayama, Japan. As the earth is being dismantled by the acceleration of its rotation, a group of mortals have taken a family of immortals as hostages and are ready to die with the earth.As a tv crew enters the building to check on the hostages and interview the mortals, an infant is born.
The events recorded during the performance take place 3000 years later, as the earth dismantling is near completion. The film follows the life of the last mortal-82nd generations later- as she incessantly repeats the original scene from august 1971. As in the initial scene, a child is born. But this child is not a regular child. She is the product of a cross-breeding between mortals and immortals. Neither mortal nor immortal, she is More Than Life.
Using deep fake technology to transform objects and spaces in the mutating newborn infant, the film is generated in real time and changes shape at every iteration.
- Thisstoryoffriedrichkurzweiliwanttotellitmyself -
Inspired by the writings of the feral child Kaspar Hauser and told by the young Friedrich, both father and son of Ray Kurzweil, this story unfolds on the microscope images of a blade cutting through metal. Filmed at the scale of a fold of matter, this cut is the axiom on which the first season of The Unmanned rests.
- In which genealogy is broken and the father-son of a son-father drifts in an emerging new world -
First episode of the series The Unmanned, “The Death of Ray Kurzweil” shows the wandering of Ray Kurzweil (promoter of a technological immortality and of transhumanism) along with his father-son, Friedrich, in the vastness of a tropical forest. This film of anticipation, entirely filmed by drones, takes place in 2045, at the critical threshold of technological singularity.
- In which defeated he leaves the scene and the stage is left in search of its scale -
Second episode of The Unmanned series, “The Brute Force” reconstructs the minutes following Garry Kasparov’s defeat against the IBM Deep Blue computer on 11 May 1997. A camera with computer-programmed movements scrutinises the elements of an empty setting after the chess champion has left the scene, thus abandoning it to the disproportion of a world without its own scale.
- In which he changes the rules of the game and all imitations are suddenly interrupted -
Third episode of The Unmanned series and replicating the editing structure of “1834 – La Mémoire de Masse”, “The Outlawed” takes place in August 1953 on the island of Corfu, in Greece, at the Club Méditerranée resort where Alan Turing spent his last summer. On a sunny afternoon, the mathematician and inventor of the modern computer, subjected to hormonal treatment after being convicted for his homosexuality, embarks on a makeshift raft to study the morphogenesis of marine organisms. As he explores the coast, the raft progressively drifts away. In the absence of any shore, lost at sea, an ungrounded scene unfolds.
- In which a storm breaks out in a computing division and its simulation is turned inside out -
Fourth episode of The Unmanned series, “The Uncomputable” is the story of a failure: the building in the northern plains of Scotland of a giant climate prediction factory by meteorologist Lewis Fry Richardson. This enormous inverted terrestrial globe supposed to host 64,000 women-computers and able to forecast the world weather was never built. Partly shot in a wind tunnel (used for aerodynamics simulation), this episode shows the impossible attempt at building the factory and the collapse of its hypothesis of a global computation. As a storm breaks out over the construction site for the simulation, the film itself and all of the parameters are progressively turned inside out.
- In which predicting its past it lives working and dies fighting -
Fifth episode of The Unmanned, “La Mémoire de Masse” unfolds during the second Canuts revolts in Lyon in 1834. These riots now known as the ‘bloody week’ came as a reaction to the automation of work in the silk industry by the Jacquard Loom and its implementation of the punched card – first historical ‘mass storage’ system allowing the inscription and replication of complex weaving patterns. This inaugurating event in the history of workers emancipation movements of the 19th century is actually the first revolt against modern computation. Fully computer-generated, the riot sequence that splits the film in two parts operates a reversal of history by transforming a revolt against the algorithm into an algorithm of revolt.
- In whiche a lemyng starre returneth in the yeer foretolde and alle thing that spak to us turneth ayeyn to silence -
Sixth episode of The Unmanned and sharing the same camera movements as the episode “1997 – The Brute Force”, “Mil troi cens quarante huyt” refers to the appearance of a comet in 1759 – thus validating the computation and rational prediction of its return by the British astronomer and mathematician Edmond Halley. The action of the film goes back four centuries earlier, in 1348, and unfolds around one unique scene: the escape and the death of a bishop and his court in a forest during the first major outbreak of the Black Plague which was said at the time to be born in the hair of comets.
- In which an intelligence going back to its place of origin discovers the agony of gods on which it thrives -
Seventh and last episode of The Unmanned, “a flood” is set in 1542 as the first conquistadors enter the land later to be known as the Silicon Valley. Mining the colonial past of the region, and entirely generated and edited with an autonomous artificial intelligence system, this film for and by machines only features the return of an intelligence to its place of origin and the death of the animal gods who used to live in it. Closing the series onto itself with a machine trained solely on its first episode (“2045 – The Death of Ray Kurzweil”), it shows the wandering of an inhuman vision trying to revive meaning by recognising itself on the god’s corpses.
Bassae is an ancient Greek temple in the Arcadian mountains of the Peloponnese. “Bassae” is a film made by Jean-Daniel Pollet in 1964. Ever since 1987, when its restoration work began, the temple of Bassae has been covered by a large white tent, making it disappear. Forty years ago, Jean-Daniel Pollet described how stones had fallen back into silence, as the gods withdrew from the scene. “Bassae Bassae” shows the temple now made invisible by its very restoration. Like a contemporary reprise of the original work, “Bassae Bassae” is a film about that which has become mute and invisible.
Narration from the film “Bassae” by Jean-Daniel Pollet, first read by Jean Negroni in the original 1964 work reread here by his son David.
Entirely filmed with a timelapse technique in the archipelago of Svalbard(North Pole), La Mesure Végétale suspends our vision in the frozen vicinity of the Global Seed Vault, a seed depository buried in the arctic permafrost.
If the modern museum was historically conceived as the place for a vast operation aiming at reducing the unboundedness of the world to the scale of the human, La Mesure Végétale shows a full reversal of this paradigm. In this everted place of conservation, it is the climate itself, which while negating all form of life, ensures the possibility of its preservation.
If cinema came into the world as a means of recording its movements, setting its rhythms by the frequencies of life forms, then how should we film the mineral and the singularity of its specific time and unfolding? Shot with an ultra high-speed camera in the empty mineralogy department of the National Natural History Museum closed to the public for the time of its restoration, this film considers the museum as a stone in itself.
The Louvre is the first museum. Its opening in the late eighteenth century inaugurated the critical and political space for the modern sight. In 1989, a particle accelerator was built under the Louvre in order to analyse works of art prior to their restoration. This film shows a confrontation between these two machines of vision and the inevitable death that results from it.
Sixth film in a series of works that responds to a strict protocol: the sunset is filmed with a video camera but without any lens. Every time progress is made in image resolution and a new camera brought to the market, the film is shot once again. This process will meet its critical point when the resolution of the image overpasses the capacity of human perception.
Fifth film in a series of works that responds to a strict protocol: the sunset is filmed with a video camera but without any lens. Every time progress is made in image resolution and a new camera brought to the market, the film is shot once again. This process will meet its critical point when the resolution of the image overpasses the capacity of human perception.
Fourth film in a series of works that responds to a strict protocol: the sunset is filmed with a video camera but without any lens. Every time progress is made in image resolution and a new camera brought to the market, the film is shot once again. This process will meet its critical point when the resolution of the image overpasses the capacity of human perception.
Third film in a series of works that responds to a strict protocol: the sunset is filmed with a video camera but without any lens. Every time progress is made in image resolution and a new camera brought to the market, the film is shot once again. This process will meet its critical point when the resolution of the image overpasses the capacity of human perception.
Second film in a series of works that responds to a strict protocol: the sunset is filmed with a video camera but without any lens. Every time progress is made in image resolution and a new camera brought to the market, the film is shot once again. This process will meet its critical point when the resolution of the image overpasses the capacity of human perception.
First film in a series of works that responds to a strict protocol: the sunset is filmed with a video camera but without any lens. Every time progress is made in image resolution and a new camera brought to the market, the film is shot once again. This process will meet its critical point when the resolution of the image overpasses the capacity of human perception.
– Press release for The Unmanned exhibition at Casino Luxembourg, January 2014 –
“The first film shot did not occur with workers leaving a Lyon factory on 28 March 1895, but six months later, when at the end of another work day, the female workers walk once again in front of their employers’ camera, squeezing into the frame and speeding up their steps to adapt to the reel’s running time. It’s the invention of a new physics, operating by the pressure of time spans on the body, by the condensation of space within the frames. Cinema is thus not simply the invention of a rhythmic drive mechanism for film to render the world’s movement, but the act of producing new bodies and new rhythms. Cinema has nothing to do with representation. It is a point of morphological inflection. It was really invented in the fold of an autumn’s late afternoon, with the meeting of a gear’s teeth, a silver salt’s reaction time, and the body of a worker. (Fabien Giraud / Raphaël Siboni)”
Fabien Giraud and Raphaël Siboni’s recent work is part of the historical parenthesis that separates these two factory exits. Starting with this latent period, they imagine the possibility of a cinema that would not subject bodies to the frame, nor bend gestures to time length, and in which the human figure would not be the only standard of measurement. Each of their films shares the same dynamic: to bring up to the surface of our present, temporalities that are radically foreign to it. Whether by reducing film to a pure quantity of light on the earth’s surface (“La Vallée von Uexküll”), synchronizing our experience of a museum to the immensity of geological time scale (“La Mesure Minérale”), confronting a camera with the destructive vision of a particle accelerator (“La Mesure Louvre”) or “doubling” the ruins of an ancient temple (“Bassae Bassae”), all of these films place us in a decentered position in front of the image and thus open to us the experience of a present that will not be simply for us but will be penetrated by the very possibility of our absence.
The new film series entitled “The Unmanned”, which gives its name to the exhibition, is constructed as an attempt to navigate within all of these excesses. Conceived as a non-human and backwards history of technics, it opens in 2045 with the death of Ray Kurzweil at the threshold point of technological singularity- and moving upstream, makes each stone, each inflection, the possible juncture of a completely different becoming.