Interdisciplinary artistic research on performance and live audio and video installation.
Artistic direction : Charlie Fouchier
Residence at the LOFFT – DAS THEATER (March 2021) in collaboration with :
Video installation : Paula Abalos
Performance : Maike Hautz, Jean-Baptiste Mouret
Support dramaturgy (dance) : Sigal Zouk.
Support dramaturgy and technique (streaming) : German Farias.
Online public presentation : 25th March, 2021, 7pm CET.
A production by Charlie Fouchier in cooperation with LOFFT – DAS THEATER.
#TakeCareResidenzen is funded by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as part of NEUSTART KULTUR.
Digital media are increasingly present in our daily lives. Every person, every cultural institution has its digital avatar. Whether for communication, entertainment, work, health, etc., the use of these media increasingly permeates every corner of our lives. This colonisation of interpersonal exchanges by digital media is shaping a new perception of the individual and new determinations of its relationship to the group, and outlines a new model of society.
The potential influence of the increasing share of what can be called digital identity in our social relationships on our psyche can be surmised through the analysis of a technical development with similar characteristics that occurred in Europe during the Renaissance. At that time, new techniques for making mirrors allowed people, for the first time in human history, to see their own image clearly and fully. To appreciate the psychically shattering aspect of such an event, one must remember that before this, most people lived their entire lives without ever seeing their own face.
The appearance of the modern mirror quickly led to its widespread use in wealthy circles (see, for example, the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles). This increasingly ubiquitous presence of this other-self embodied by my reflection, this identity-alterity of my exteriority, led the subject to identify itself with its image, and to reinforce the perception of the self as an entity independent of the environment. It is thus at this time that the notion of “individual” appears as a definition of the person (from the Latin in- (negation) and dividuum (to divide): who cannot be divided), as well as the modern concept of “artist”, seen as the original source of a singular creativity, i.e. distinct from the common, distinct from the rest of the world. Finally, we find this perception of the subject as distinct and indivisible in the Cartesian formulation of ‘I think, therefore I am’, which proposed to found the ontological separation of the subject from the world through analysis.
As an individual, I know myself through my feelings, ideas and thoughts. But also through my interactions with others: through their words and actions when addressed to me or when they confirm or contradict my worldview. This creates for me a dynamic perception and representation of my identity, which depends on others and exists through my exchanges with them.
My embodiment in society through digital avatars constantly places me in the presence of my image, in the presence of my “exteriority”, as I want it to be or imagine it to be for others. Like a repetition of the mirror stage, this digital reflection places me in the presence of another “I” that is alien to me, but with which I continually identify myself out of need, interest or under group pressure.
The digital “world” that is emerging is a world of people’s digital avatars. It is a world in which images of individuals tend to be perceived as subjects and to be manipulated as such by their owners. However, this digital “world” lacks what underpins the inter-individual and cultural fabric of humanity: the body (my perception as a physical being and the perception of my sensations and emotions as a modality of the existence of my physical being), the intercorporality (the awareness of my existence as caught in a network of physical interactions with others), eye contact (the fact of being able to look each other in the eye), and touch (which is necessary for our mental and physical capacities and health). The digital thereby designs a social model that separates us from a part of our being as humans and as living beings.
By introducing digital media of interaction and communication into physical cultural shared spaces, tHere questions the relationship between these two modes of interaction and togetherness. Although digital has imposed itself as an alternative or even a necessity in the face of the situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic, it cannot replace the existence of physical places of exchange and artistic experience. By bringing together and interweaving digital and physical forms of perception, expression and interaction, tHere makes the differences and contradictions between these modes of communication palpable, and questions the possibility of a digital model of society.
© Charlie Fouchier, 2021 / All contents are under International License