Multiversité [Multiversity] is a difficult term to explain, encompassing notions and practices derived from software and the expanded generative processes behind various creative universes. This is the title of a new exhibition in Centre Pompidou's Gallerie 315 — through 6 August — which is truly pioneering in its genre. Nourished by the present's futuristic impulses, it also takes you back in time, to enthusiastic utopian exhibitions such as Les Immateriels, inspired by the early stages of 1980s information technology.
Curator Valerie Guillaume explores the fluid galaxy of innovation, ferrying visitors far beyond 2.0. She does this via fifteen fascinating key-projects, specifically developed for the exhibition in collaboration with the Centre's fledgling Industrial Perspective Department, opened in 2010.
The difficulty faced by this exhibition was less that of exhibiting innovation and more a question of lending concrete form to its meaning before and after, since the body of material on show is drawn from the convergence of disciplines that are blurring their boundaries, e.g. architecture and design, under the impetus of social networking and production technology. The show starts with expanded calculation possibilities and a focus on their applications to a particular generative practice. The Generating section features works that really are morphogenesis, or the application of aggregation processes borrowed from the geological or biological vocabulary.
The splendid Andrew Kudless/Matsys project was inspired by the calcareous sedimentation of crustaceans living in dense agglomerations. Neri Oxman's work seems to prefigure the advent of Conceptualism, very similar to the idea of expanded pretence.
The Making section focuses on developing the potential of the Centre's own FabLab, which flanks artist residencies and, in this case, is linked to the Shanghai Centre in Porto Novo, Benin, with products developed by Togo designer Kossi Aguessy. Lastly, designer Markus Kayser has produced fascinating pieces with sand from the Egyptian desert, created using the Sinter Solar System.
The third section of the exhibition, Representing, centres on the graphic and interactive environment, which has become second nature to us. Tweets, databases and social networking — and the whole voluminous mass of talk and meaning produced by today's flow of communication — are redesigning our universe, as shown by Antonin Rohmer's wonderful wallpaper at the start of the exhibition. The visualisation and interface of this idea of behaviour in and attitudes to communities, chat rooms and blogs throw open the door on contemporary metaphysics.
The work by Lustlab, in collaboration with Pieke Bergmans, (in which two outsized table lamps move and interact with the communicational flows of a portion of social life on the Web) clarifies this expansion and unconscious interaction of the global information universe. Finally, the project by the Medialab in Sciences Po of Paris University raises doubts on the very function of the museum as a visitable structure. The group's research shows how the history of art might pursue a very different dynamic and path, inspired by a numerical and digital aesthetic, in the very near future. All that is needed are archives and software that can not only visualise the artists' thought processes, but also incorporate them directly into the debate or the controversies that inspire them or trigger their reactions. Not even scandal strategies will manage to withstand these cold, sensual digital shifts. Ivo Bonacorsi
Through 6 August 2012
Multiversités Creatives | Creative Multiversities
Centre Pompidou, Gallerie 315