Lyon Biennale of art - Philippe DESTINE

Thierry Raspail, Artistic Director

“We are accustomed to think of physical objects as having bounded edges.” So wrote John Dewey in Art as Experience in 1915, adding that “things like rocks, chairs, books, houses, trade, and science with its efforts at precise measurement, have confirmed the belief.”

This is why, he maintains, “we unconsciously carry over this belief in the bounded character of all objects of experience into our conception of experience itself. We suppose the experience has the same definite limits as the things with which it is concerned.” Conversely, he notes that whether our visual experience of a scene is vast or minutely focused, “we experience it as a part of a larger and inclusive whole, […], (whose) margins shade into that indefinite expanse beyond which imagination calls the universe.”

Today the world has changed and the prevailing idea is that the most important properties of space can no longer be defined a priori by categories or by tying them down to a territory with borders and impregnable identities. These properties are now determined by a permanent flow of currents and fluctuations (capital, men, risks, ideas, information, etc.) that permanently change the spatial coordinates.

In 2005, 90 years after John Dewey, Hartmut Rosa wrote: "The space of flows is first and foremost an organization of nodes that function in networks with no stable hierarchy, operating by means of temporal coagulation and reversible inclusions.” Today, twelve years after Rosa, this observation is simply banal, since technique, lifestyles, images, the invention of connected history, a proliferation of augmented objects with infinite edges, the silhouette of the human, reflections on the question of modernity, the plasticity of historical models, the globalized world and the dynamics of the social networks, have all profoundly altered our relationship to shapes, while shapes have lost their stability.


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