Thinking with Edmond Couchot – ArtsHebdoMédias

To pay tribute to Edmond Couchot, artist, theorist, professor emeritus of the University of Paris 8 and to prolong the debates on his ideas, evidence of a living thought, on November 16, 17 and 18 a parallel colloquium will take place with an exhibition at the CDA and Locksmith of Enghien-les-Bains. demonstrations For a digital imagination with Edmond Couchot: hybridizations between the arts, sciences, technologies and the human is jointly designed by the research team “Digital Image and Virtual Reality” of the Laboratory of Visual Arts and Contemporary Art of the University of Paris 8 and le lieu d’art, supported by the University Research School (EUR) ArTeC, by ComUE Université Paris Lumières and the Paris Research Commission 8. On this occasion, ArtsHebdoMédias publishes the text written to announce the conference and announces the publication of Edmond Couchot’s latest book: Automata, robots and virtual humans in the performing arts, at Vincennes University Press.

Edmond Couchot as an artist, as a theorist and as a teacher was passionately interested in the relationship between the arts, sciences, technologies and people during their historical evolution. Focusing on the study of the process of image automation, he analyzed how the transition from imaging techniques based on optics (perspective painting, photography, cinema, television, video) to those based on digital technology (image synthesis, multi/hypermedia, virtual/augmented/mixed reality, etc.) has profoundly modified the techniques of figuration (from representation to simulation) and created new works, where programmability, interactivity, hybridization and virtuality are at the center of the process of creating digital art.

Automata, robots and virtual humans in the performing arts, in Presses Universitaires de Vincennes.

The evolution of the relationship between the subject and the various modes of automatic machine image generation is the crucial theme of his works and reflections. Based on many creations conceived by digital technologies, he described the upheaval they cause in the artistic act: the emergence of new perceptions and technical-aesthetic experiences, the arrival of a renewed vision of the world, the emergence of a transformed subjectivity, changes in status. of the work, the role of the artist, the place of the spectator, and the emergence of an aesthetic of hybridization… highlights the profound transformations digital technologies are causing in the way digital artworks are produced, distributed, and preserved.

His attention is also focused on the question of specific temporalities of images, according to their techniques of generation and dissemination, to question the relationship between arts/sciences/technologies/people: the temporalities of painting, photography, cinema, television, video and digital. images.

He pointed to the radical changes in our lives, in our culture and in our arts that digital technologies are causing, with the emergence of a new temporality that he calls “uchronic”, as a result of “the intersection between the subjective time that the interactant lives and the interactant and it who calls it “uchronic” radical changes. real-time”.

A symposium and exhibition to honor the thought of Edmond Couchot.

He was also interested in robots, avatars and virtual actors, emerging from laboratories, which slipped into artistic practices and showed that thanks to the appropriation of these artificial entities by artists, the traditional family of “natural living arts” has been renewed with, in side, the family of “artificial living arts”. He analyzed the modified relationship that these arts maintain with contemporary science and technology, revealing what remains and what changes in the aesthetic experience lived while attending autonomous artificial beings, from the effect of the presence and sensitivity that they cause in the spectators and the emotions that they. trigger

Edmond Couchot noted that the way of viewing the relationship between the arts, sciences, technologies and people changed significantly when artists, art theorists and aestheticians integrated, or were inspired by, in their practices and reflections, insights and paradigms from the cognitive sciences. . It is from the many disciplines that make up the cognitive sciences (neurosciences, psychology, ethology, life sciences, artificial intelligence and artificial life, communication and information sciences, anthropology, philosophy and aesthetics, sociology, etc.) that he questioned the complex project . of the naturalization of art, relying, again there, on numerous artistic creations.

Education also occupied a large place in the reflections of Edmond Couchot. 38 years ago, he shared with his fellow teachers-researchers-artists, co-founders of the department of Arts and Technologies of Image (ATI) of the University of Paris 8, the basic idea to offer students their artistic and technical giving. skills. This alliance of scientific and technical knowledge (computer programming, algorithms, knowledge about digital technologies) and artistic knowledge (research-artistic creation), perpetuated and renewed by the current teacher-researchers at ATI, gives students the opportunity to develop their . aesthetics in innovative artistic creations and thus allows them to be integrated both in higher education and scientific research, and in the professional environment of digital creation.

The symposium, accompanied by an exhibition, refers to the different approaches developed by researchers and artists, together with the reflections directed by Edmond Couchot on the hybridization between arts, sciences, technologies and man. The event is part of the vision of this author, whose opinion was neither a technologist nor a technoclast and is based on a deep and complex look at digital technologies and their consequences in the field of artistic creation and culture. “This does not mean that technology inevitably imposes on art what it should be. When this happens, works are just submission, fashion. But when technology is rethought, deviated from its instrumental and pragmatic purpose, then it becomes an aesthetic experience, a means of intersubjective exchange of emotions, feelings, ideas, knowledge; this makes sense. (Leonardo/OLATS, 2015).

Note the presence of a large number of academics attached mainly to the University of Paris 8 but also to other institutions in France, Quebec and Japan. It is Norbert Hillaire who will close the stand-action with a titled intervention Edmond Couchot or the journey of Orion. Read on ArtsHebdoMédias, the text published when the artist, theoretician and researcher died. The full program of the conference can be downloaded from the website of the University of Paris 8: Click here.

Contact> A symposium : November 16, 2022, in the amphitheater of the Maison de la Recherche of the University of Paris, 8, 9 am to 8:30 pm. Entrance to the university: rue Guynemer (opposite the Saint-Denis University metro station). November 17 and 18, 2022, in the auditorium of the Enghien-les-Bains Arts Center, 9:30 am to 6 pm, 12-16 rue de la Liberation 95880 Enghien-les-Bains.

Exhibition: from November 18 to December 2, 2022, at the Arts Center d’Enghien-les-Bains & Serrurerie d’Enghien from Tuesday to Friday (14:00 to 19:00), Saturday 19 November and Sunday 20 November (2 pm to 7 pm). Opening on November 17 at 6:30 p.m. Free entry, after registration: Click here.

A book : In Automata, robots and virtual humans in the performing arts, which has just been published by Presses Universitaires de Vincennes. Edmond Couchot analyzes how artists have adopted these artificial beings, which are robots, avatars and virtual people, to renew, alongside the traditional family of “natural living arts”, the family of “artificial living arts”. The book invites you on a journey of more than two thousand years to retrace the genesis of these products and their techniques. It shows how artists have captured these artifacts to create creations that resonate with our times. The living artificial arts, while still providing us with precious pleasures, will prepare us to live henceforth in good company with these artificial beings who reflect our image back to us and force us to redefine our humanity.

Open Image> Dandelion, Edmond Couchot and Michel Bret, 2005.

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