1% or the invisible art…

For more than 60 years,the ‘artistic 1%’ has allowed 1% of the construction cost of certain public buildings to be allocated to the creation or acquisition of works of modern art, to be exhibited in the buildings of the structure that financed them.”

We all remember the conformations of metal and tiles that proudly framed the entranceways to our schools of yesteryear. They would stand there, eclipsed like their artists by the premises’ architecture, as quickly inaugurated as they’d be forgotten. They would go on to suffer the ravages of time, those rusted statues with their decrepit mosaics, graffitied, or rather signed with the activist artworks of our angst-ridden adolescents.

We intended our own 1% to be more ambitious. Invisible borne of the invisible! It was to strive for the ideal and disinterested expression of beauty through digital-related techniques. How interesting! Digital language as a foundation block of language. The maintained relationship between art and mathematics is ultimately a very ancient idea. After all, is not the number at the very origin of universal creation?

Digital technologyis a helix of Pierre Emmanuel School’s DNA. We, the crew on this initial adventure, had naturally associated the CUMAMOVIi with the genesis of our pedagogical project whilst trying to respond to a double-edged conundrum: how could we give all our secondary school students access to the digital and numerical world andprogressively encourage them to enter into a learning process by means of artistic creation? Of course, our ambition was to modernise our didactic content whilst simultaneously improving the sense of community between individuals, making our pupils players in their own schooling. Opening them up to the world, fostering their access to knowledge whilst developing their critical eye, helping them to build a sense of citizenship, preparing their integration into the working world in the best conditions. For some, freeing them from their statistical destiny… AND ENABLING THEM TO DREAM!

Let us now come to our laureates in the contest for the famous 1%: “Jean Paul Labro, Lyn Nékorimaté and their eight compadres”. The artists of the DING collective, the dinguesii as they were affectionately known, had rather broken in; not like burglars, but more like sorcerers—or miracle-makers. They had nothing to show as digital art is not shown, it is discovered virtually. It brings a new way of being for a piece of work, one whose state of completion remains in constant evolution, a “work in progress”. The digital work does not exist but when it takes form, it remains immaterial and in a perpetual state of becoming.

The collective therefore set itself the mission of bringing contemporary art into Pierre Emmanuel School through digital innovation, thus adhering to our educational and pedagogical project. For two years, the dingues, with the pupils’ cooperation and the complicity of the teaching teams, conceived a common project for artistic and cultural education which aimed, ultimately, at constructing a piece of work which would be invisible but very much alive: the Ipotêtu Museum. Thus we saw the pupils, sometimes the most reticent in matters of scholarship, leap onto the train of knowledge, putting themselves at the service of the project from its conception to its realisation. We saw the most intrepid and the most cautious as they kneaded the material, captured the city’s images, incarnated the museum’s spectral watchmen, danced on top of the world. We saw them… MAKING EMOTIONS!


A little return to the future: I remember, I was a young secondary pupil at Pierre Emmanuel when the artists washed up with these funny machines. We embarked upon a series of creative workshops, during which we learnt to create digital images and sound sequences. But most of all…

In an environment of “mad scientists”, we conjured up gods, called on chemistry and sound waves to sculpt landscapes and master noise, awoke the spirits of paradise which had come to haunt the virtual space of our school. We were invited to write gestures and film movements, to tend the gardens of the musical hothouse. We navigated throughout the Great Sphere, an animated sculpture presiding over the centre of the courtyard and encompassing all the objects within our intimate student universe. We erected columns of ice, standing them around the city like monoliths, vestiges of a civilisation that has left us only its ephemeral memory and that thus remains unknown. We stretched lines between two blocks, two territories, like tightrope walkers that remains thus unknown strung between doubt, hesitation and then the fear which brings out their daring, this path to cross, leading to knowledge first of oneself, then of the world, to better understand it. We listened to the sound of our footsteps echoing, to synchronise them better with those of the Other, the one we chose to follow just like you’ll choose to follow us.

May you lose yourself in the corridors of the Ipotêtu Museum…

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