New Surroundings: Approaching the Untouchable
From March 24th to April 30th, 2023
Laurent Lévesque & Olivier Henley
Nature, this raw material of the terrestrial environment, is the self-generating whole comprised of all the earth’s materials—at least for the time being so long as the environmental parameters have not been completely disrupted by the climate change currently underway.
It is also a subject-object that has been—through every era and in every current—widely depicted, shown, quoted, transformed, remixed through artistic representation. The sublime subject par excellence, the natural event is one that we have the least influence over. If nature is a facet of our reality that often escapes us—and by the same token fascinates and obsesses us—its interpretation through the workings of the digital brings about an almost ontological reversal: its very materiality is put into question, it becomes malleable and immaterial all at once.
3D animation, modeling and photogrammetry are the vectors of a transition to the digital where nature becomes the intangible and untouchable material of worlds in which human destruction no longer exists. On the contrary, the human gesture—which here becomes an artistic one —is rather one that constructs, makes and arranges, composes and develops. The change takes place here only at the price of a perceptive variation: nothing is ever lost, we only see/show differently.
New Surroundings: Approaching the Untouchable brings together works that, each in their own way, question the materiality of the world through an exploration of digital material. With Virtual Reality as their common denominator, these universes belong to an order where the most distant seems to also be the most accessible, while the impalpable offers the appearance of being at hand. This world, revealed by the digital—modified, reorganized, and augmented—is, however, less and less foreign to our own, which changes, deteriorates and gradually disappears. Far from being immutable, the nature we move about in —its sky, its lands and its seas—is perhaps at the dawn of its own ontological reversal and, in any case, certainly at the threshold of an irreversible turnaround.