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"The Dead Web – La fin" at the Mapping Festival

Geneva, Switzerland

From May 23th to June 2nd, 2019


“Will the Internet end soon?”

It all began in May 2015, when I read an article on that spoke of the possibility of a collapse of the World Wide Web. Although this event is largely hypothetical, several articles have been written on the subject in response to a scientific symposium that the Royal Society organized around the Internet Capacity Crunch. 

In a context where the network could collapse even before the end of its “adultescence” —in 2023, the Web as we know it will barely be more than 25 years old—we can try to picture the fall of the Web and the after-world that would ensue: Empty server carcasses and a sea of electronic junk? A digital oblivion on all screens? Machines imitating the Web? A handcrafted Internet?

How will the at once dematerialized and delocalized dynamics of power structures be impacted in both their evident economic and inevitably political manifestations if the network is disconnected? 

But also, what can still be said or done in the meantime? How does one occupy or not– what is essentially borrowed time and space, a space-time henceforth to be shared between digital and physical realities.

In the wake of these reflections, I wanted to gather artistic proposals that echo these considerations.

[Nathalie Bachand, Curator]


This project is produced by Mapping Festival and Molior. It has received support from the Quebec Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. Molior recognizes the continued support of the Montreal Arts Council. The Dead Web – The End was presented for the first time at the Eastern Bloc Artist Center in Montreal in January-February 2017. This project is also supported by the 67th Standing Committee on French-Quebec Cooperation (CPCFQ).

Nathalie Bachand

Nathalie Bachand is an independent curator interested in digital issues and the conditions of its emergence in contemporary art.

Among her curatorial projects, her exhibition The Dead Web – The End, initially presented at Eastern Bloc (2017), has been co-produced by Molior in Europe: at the Mirage Festival in Lyon (2019), at the Mapping Festival in Geneva (2019), and at the Ludwig Museum in Budapest (2020), co-curated with Béla Tamás Kónya; she was guest curator for Art souterrain 2021 Chronométrie; her exhibition project, DataffectS, was presented at the Galerie de l’UQAM (2022); and she co-curated, with Sarah Ève Tousignant, the SIGHT+SOUND 2022 Dancing While Waiting (For the End of the World) festival, organized by Eastern Bloc (2022).

She is a member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA), writes regularly on visual and media arts, and sits on the Board of Directors at Avatar in Quebec City. Previously in charge of development for ELEKTRA-BIAN (2006-2016), she is currently co-artistic director and project manager for Sporobole. She lives and works in Montréal.

Artists & Works

Dominique Sirois & Baron Lanteigne

In Extremis


Installation. Screens, ceramics (sandstone), printed polyester fabrics, cables, ducts and media players

In Extremis, by Dominique Sirois and Baron Lanteigne, is the result of a very recent collaboration between the two artists. Both a sculpture and video installation—comprising passages between the two—, the work raises the question of the liminal space between the virtual and the real, the materiality of the digital and obsolescence.

Through an arrangement of proliferating screens—some in working order, others not—textile cables and structures, it suggests a certain disorder in which there is discontinuous dialogue between connection and disconnection. Could the Internet survive it’s own death, in a virtuality that would escape us? This question, which evidently remains unresolved, here stimulates reflection about the way in which the Internet’s infrastructure extends beyond the screen. Between the hardware, the screen apparatus and the undetermined space of the digital, there is a gesture—that of turning this system on. Various zones are revealed: first, the screen-portal that receives and emits the data; then the touchscreen and its manual operation, which is extended into a great number of connectivity phalanges; and finally there is the other side of the screen—beyond the screen? The networks’ infrastructure, more specifically the underground fibre optic channels, which are akin to a nervous/bone system, then reveals the fragility of the World Wide Web—unless this fragility is nothing but a facade?
Frédérique Laliberté Forever A Prototype


Web-based project and installation: sculptural elements (metal, cardboard, wires), lighting systems and loudspeakers, website (computer) Forever A Prototype, by Frédérique Laliberté, is an eternally « progressive » web project, an autonomous collage machine that generates semi-random virtual compositions by searching in a bank of categorized and classified digital files: images, sounds, animated gifs, videos, text, etc. The result of each visit is a series of ephemeral constructions, based both on the rigidity of archival processes and on their  casualness. A makeshift Internet, a sort of mimesis of itself, this website can only reuse and renew that which already exists, giving a function to hundreds of giga bytes of latent data.

More specifically, the program activates a series of commands that select random files within their respective categories. It then places these organized elements in the virtual canvas of the web page, within well-defined compartments, layers, and sequences. Taking the form of an installation, the project presents itself as a contextual environment: an simulation of a functional device. Incessantly evolving in a virtual space and time, this parallel universe is extirpated from its abstraction when visited by a web user.

The creation of Forever A Prototype was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

Julie Tremble

BPM 37093


3D animation (mute), 1 min. 14 sec. (loop): flat screen

BPM 37093, by Julie Tremble, is a short 3D animation that « relates » – whether fiction or reality, the uncertainty here is voluntary – the death of a star and the slow transformation of its materiality: As the artist describes, “BPM 37093 is a star, very similar to the sun, which is now dead. Scientists have discovered that by dying, the star has almost completely turned into a diamond, as the sun will do in billions of years. The video is a fantasmatic representation of this scientific phenomenon, [and the] 3D modeling, a tool favored by documentary cinema to deal with astronomical phenomena. The animation diverts this technique, perceived as realistic, to illustrate how our understanding of certain natural phenomena, whose perception is inaccessible to us, depends on fragmentary information, representations, and imagined associations.” This representation of the death of a star, symbolic of the (possible) death of the universe (and incidentally, that of the Internet) is also the birth of something else: here, a diamond. The highly accelerated temporality of this extinction of a star – 1:14 for millions of years – adds resonance to the whole exhibition project, which, putting into question the Web, also questions the notion of duration and instantaneity, as well as our representations of the world, those many synthetic images of which we are right to be wary.

Inspired by film, visual arts, literature, and philosophy, Julie Tremble‘s work focuses on the role that narration plays in our experience of the world. Over the past few years, she has explored the notion of explosion through experimental fictions and digital animations.
Julien Boily

Memento Vastum


Oil on board, 122 x 152 cm (48″ x 60″)

The painting Memento Vastum by Julien Boily – an oil on board – tells us of a lost memory. Vastum (“waste” in Latin) refers to the notion of loss, to what is left behind in favor of a certain idea of progress. The tension between tradition and progress fuels this idea of multifaceted loss in the work of Boily.

Loss of know-how, artistic certainly, but also of traditional knowledge immediately replaced by new – often in the form of information or even data. It is a recursive dynamic that is constantly accelerating. With the arrival of novelty, what preceded tends to be evacuated. This notion of vestige crosses, in the work, those of programmed obsolescence and vanity. If in the 17th century the mirror was a recurring element in the composition of vanities – these still lifes evoking the ephemeral character of humanity – today, our electronic devices and computer tools could fulfill the same function. Among these objects that send us the reflection of our desires, our fears and our vanity, is not the Internet like a two-way mirror?

Memento Vastum is part of the Canopée Médias Collection

Lauren Huret
Praying For My Haters
Sculpture: Various materials, 213 x 100 x 241 cm
Video: video HD, 17minutes
To manage the image and content traffic that continuously rushes through their platforms, social media networks call on outsourcing companies that employ thousands of people whose profession—moderator—consists of sorting and censuring contents. Exposed to thousands of images each day, obliged to endure difficult work conditions, content moderators have access to limited psychological support and are bound to silence as a consequence of non-disclosure agreements. Over the course of a research trip to Manila in the Philippines with the aim of meeting moderators, Lauren Huret explores—through the figure of the “cursed image”—the psychological and physical consequences of this work, as well as its long term effects on our societies.
The work is presented in two components: a video and an architectural sculpture. The sculpture consists of a representation of Quezon City, a Manila neighbourhood. In an allusion to the opacity of the work that takes place inside these glass towers, the model dissimulates a corpus of stretched out, distorted and baroque images. The exhibition visitors can enter the model by slipping into the centre of the main circular building, from where they can glimpse computer servers camouflaged in the belly of the structure. This fantasized reconstruction, this skeleton of a furtively accessible architecture, presents itself as an analogy of social media interfaces.
The video opens with a view of a surreal, fantasized and haunted world: the panorama of the city of Manila is transformed into a hellish scenario. The resilience effect produced by the images is evoked through a soundtrack that mixes “karaoke hits” with city noises and whispers. The text expresses a subjective standpoint about the cursed image and attempts to question the notion of open content sharing in the era of a global neo-colonial  economy, which impacts the life of thousands of people.
Praying For My Haters speaks of the traces that this web of taboos and prohibitions, violence and death leaves in its wake—traces whose forceful charge promises to endure well beyond its disappearance.
Lauren Huret, Praying For My Haters (sculpture), produced in collaboration with Benjamin Elliott.
Mixed media, 213 x 100 x 241 cm, 2019.
Aides techniques : Hunter Longe, Antoine Berthier.
Co-production Centre Culturel Suisse Paris, FCAC.
Lauren Huret, Praying For My Haters (video), HD video, 17 minutes, 2019.
Sound art: Antoine Bellini and Lauren Huret.
Editing: Lauren Huret and Hunter Longe.
Co-production Centre Culturel Suisse Paris, Pro Helvetia.

Lauren Huret (born in 1984 in Paris, FR, lives in Geneva) is an artist, video artist, performer and researcher.

She completed the Master WORK.MASTER in Visual Arts (2013) at HEAD, University of Art and Design. His visual work, mainly composed of videos, performances and collages, deepens our ambiguous and confused relationships with the machine, especially those related to new technologies and the many unknowns aspects that result. She has just completed two solo exhibitions, one in France at the Centre Culturel Suisse de Paris and one in Basel at the Haus der Elektronischen Künste since February 2019.

Lauren is currently in residence in New York until June 2019, benefiting from the residence of the Canton of Geneva in NY. She is preparing a solo exhibition at the Roerhs & Boetsch Gallery in Zurich for October 2019.

Lukas Truniger & Nicola L. Hein



Performative installation: drum skins and electronic components

Comprised of hybrid instruments made out of drumheads and electronic components, Membranes is a performative installation that transforms written text into luminous percussion. Over the course of the emergence of each automatic translation, the network of instruments begins to share the texts, thereby transforming the written elements into visual and sound motifs. In drawing on the example of the West African “talking drum,” Membranes creates a new language that is constantly developing and adapting itself. The instruments form a reactive network of semantic and aesthetic actors: a play of forms, light and sound unfolds between them. In following this archetype of a musical communication instrument and  in seeking to create a speculative acoustic interaction space, this audio-visual installation offers an alternative communication environment.

In its installation form, the work uses texts generated by an algorithm that analyzes a database comprising various theoretical texts about the relation between music and language. A dialogue between the various independent object-instruments takes shape and generates a network of dead agents—transformed algorithms—that testify both to a form of communication that is historically rooted in a cultural tradition and a hypothetical language spoken in a world after the Web’s demise.

Projet EVA (Etienne Grenier et Simon Laroche) 

L’Objet de l’Internet


Kinetic installation: aluminum structure, acrylic panels, computer, motors, microcontrollers and electronic components, LEDs, sound system, vinyl lettering for quote, bench

The disorganization of the world by financial capitalism, uprooted and volatile, in part fostered the emergence of the Internet. This network has gradually become the matrix through which our communities and individualities have restructured their exchanges. The promise of a greater flow of ideas, increased freedom, and even new forms of citizenship, now comes up against the power of capital and the dislocated and entropic nature of such a technological arrangement.

The Object of the Internet is an installation by Projet EVA (Etienne Grenier and Simon Laroche), evoking the idea of a mausoleum conjuring the end of the Web. Through optical and kinetic processes integrated into a device in which the visitor inserts his head, the human face is broken down into a multitude of fragments. Visitors are projected into a dystopian future where, on social media, only the traces of our selfies, which are artificially animated, remain in the form of a reflection. The latter, condemned to the status of a sterile solipsism, agitates in a sidereal void of the end of the Internet.

The epitaph of the monument-mausoleum: “I have seen many people spill their guts on–line, and I did so myself until, at last, I began to see that I had commodified myself.”
–Carmen Hermosillo, poet, blogger and pioneer of the social Internet, 1994.
The creation of The Object of the Internet was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.
Romain & Simon de Diesbach



Installation: phones screens

At once a screen and mirror, the smartphone, this identity box of each and all, is an object of memory and illusion. The mobile phone and the screen are markers of our era and they also bear the marks of our daily gestures. These ubiquitous devices literally infiltrate every nook cranny of our everyday lives, and have thus cleared the way for the monetization of leisure time. In the process, we have become bound to a form of instantaneousness that simultaneously distances us from the present moment: we are perched on the edge between the virtual and material world. 

The smartphone is an object requiring almost constant attention: we protect it, we talk to it, authorize it to remember moments of our lives and to inform third parties of our every move, so much so that it rapidly becomes irreplaceable: in no time its status changes from a precious and essential object to junk, to a dysfunctional and technological artefact, covered with a greasy film that bears witness to a compulsive use. These panes—shattered into a thousand pieces, trapped in cement, like the fossil traces of a bygone age—once again confront us with our behaviour before the GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple) entities. In returning to the state of mere physical mirrors, they also remind us of the eventual end of our digital identity.