Conceived according to a pathway made up of different ‘affective zones’, “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace” brings together several artists who examine the impact of the market economy and new technologies on the production of our emotions and their representations.
In 1967, the American writer Richard Brautigan handed out copies of a short poem entitled “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace” in the streets of San Francisco. It describes a “mutually programming harmony” between machines, animals and human beings. But this utopia is doomed to fail because it is “watched over by machines of loving grace”. Fifty years later, while machines are everywhere, they have paradoxically faded away, being integrated into all the aspects of our working environments and living spaces.
In the era of the Internet of Things, the digital economy and the marketing of affects, the artworks, some of which are new, that are being presented in this exhibition reflect the influence of monetary exchanges, digital data feeds, and the movements of goods on the production of our emotions, as well as their values and depictions.
The sociologist Eva Illouz uses the expression “emotional capitalism” to describe “a culture in which emotional and economic discourses and practices shape each other, thus producing a broad, sweeping movement in which affect is made an essential part of economic behaviour, and in which emotional life (…) follows the logic of economic relations and exchange.”
While the pieces in this show are based on abstract structures or materialise invisible economic processes, they are nonetheless run through with empathy and subjectivity. Apparently possessing psychological attributes, they reflect the modelling of our imaginaries and the transformation of our affects into logos, products or sales pitches, thus bearing witness to a kind of reification of our emotions and social relationships.
Curator: Yoann Gourmel
Pedro Barateiro: born in 1979 in Almada (Portugal), lives in Lisbon. Former resident of the Pavillon Neuflize OBC, the Palais de Tokyo’s artist in residence programme (2008 – 2009).
Richard Brautigan: born in 1935 in Tacoma (Washington), died in 1984 in Bolinas (California, USA).
Isabelle Cornaro: born in 1974 in Aurillac (France), lives in Paris and Geneva (France / Switzerland).
Marjorie Keller: born in 1950 in Yorktown (New York), died in 1994 in Wakefield (Rhode Island, USA).
Lee Kit: born in 1978 in Hong Kong, lives in Taipei (Taiwan).
Marie Lund: born in 1976 in Copenhagen (Denmark), lives in London (UK).
Michael E. Smith: born in 1977 in Detroit (Michigan), lives in Providence (Rhode Island, USA).
Mika Tajima: born in 1975 in Los Angeles (California), lives in New York (NYC, USA).
Marie Mathématique (Jacques Ansan, Jean-Claude Forest, Serge Gainsbourg, André Ruellan)
During his solo performances, Abraham Poincheval pushes back his physical and mental limits. For him, life in autarky, enclosure, immobility or the progressive loss of senses are all means to explore the world and human nature. As with the giant bottle, inside which Abraham Poincheval is currently going up the river Rhône, inhabitable sculptures in which, or on which, he has lived for several days, will be scattered throughout the spaces of Palais de Tokyo.
By testing out the artist’s body, they lead him to experience the temporalities of the animal and mineral worlds. Abraham Poincheval is pursing his exploration of closed, confined spaces by living inside a rock installed in Palais de Tokyo for a week. Surrounded by visitors and the art center’s activities, the artist vanishes inside the denseness of the stone, which encloses him like a protective envelope or an isolation cell. In the other performance, Abraham Poincheval measures himself up against the rhythm of life. While experiencing immobility, and the waiting during a gestation, he sits on hen’s eggs which hatches out thanks to the heat of his own body.
For his solo show at Palais de Tokyo, Abraham Poincheval is also presenting two new performances: Pierre and Œuf (‘‘Stone’’ and ‘‘Egg’’).
Pierre (‘‘Stone’’), from February 22 to March 1st, 2017
“The impression we have that our speed is not linked to us, or our own viewpoint.” Pierre is an expedition into the heart of the mineral world. Abraham Poincheval attempts for the first time to live inside a rock for a week, thus taking his experimentation of enclosure and isolation to another level. This large piece of limestone, exhibited in the middle of the Palais de Tokyo, has been sculpted to fit to Abraham Poincheval’s figure. It is displayed open, before and after the performance, thus revealing the survival material it is equipped with. During the performance, it becomes at once a space capsule allowing the artist to undertake an inner journey, a protective casing, and an isolation cell. After his logistical, physical and mental preparation, the experience that the artist goes through is unforeseeable. But instead of wanting to achieve an exploit, Abraham Poincheval is trying to escape from human time and experience mineral speed.
Œuf (‘‘Egg’’), as of March 29, 2017, for a probable duration of 21 to 26 days
For the first time in his explorations, Abraham Poincheval is confronting the world of the living: within the exhibition spaces of the Palais de Tokyo, he will be sitting on hen’s eggs until they hatch out. By replacing an animal, he will experience a gestation time, varying between 21 and 26 days. Abraham Poincheval will be sitting or lying in an enclosed space, a vivarium which looks like a display case. He will be covered by a traditional Korean cloak, made by the artist Seulgi Lee and surrounded by provisions. Limited in his movements, the artist will seem inactive to the visitors. He will be like Toine, the antihero of the Guy de Maupassant short story of the same name (1885), immobilised by a heart attack and forced by his wife to hatch out eggs.
Curator: Adélaïde Blanc
A monographic book published by Palais de Tokyo is accompanying this show.
Palais de Tokyo is presenting the first large-scale solo show in France by Taro Izumi.
In Japan, Taro Izumi is a singular artist. He has developed a world which is expressed in installations, sculptures and videos, whose appearance processes are associated with accidents, play or perturbation.
The installations that he constructs from ludic hypotheses are a source of forms, sculptures and murals which, often thanks to their absurdity, become extraordinarily unexpected items that humorously thwart our artistic and social customs. For example, the invention of mounts composed of everyday elements – chairs, tables, stools, cushions – which are rapidly assembled so as to welcome a body imitating the vigour of a sportsman in action, leads to something which is at once astonishing, a parody of the dream bodies of stadium heroes and a fascinating commentary on the history of the plinth in sculpture.