Electronic Shadow questions the permeability of the boundaries between the physical and the digital, with one influencing the other, and one inextricably prolonging the other. The multi-disciplinary approach which they are developing involves them in proposals which find their applications occurring willy-nilly in the fields of art, architecture, set design, video and design. These applications, invariably seen from the angle of a “global design”, mix space and image, matter and light, fiction and reality. 3 minutes2, a showcase for a space of hybrid life, is an interactive scenographic video arrangement which proposes a dwelling that is forever changing in relation to the user’s activity. This project, just as much as H2O, Focus, Cassina, and the one produced for Giorgio Armani, are intended to show how our daily round is deeply altered by technologies and the virtual. Electronic Shadow thus creates “environments”, atmospheres into which we plunge, “where the pleasure of sight flirts with that of physical sensations […]” (Christophe Le Gac). For Mestaoui and Aït Kaci, real and virtual are not opposites. There is a hybrid global design, lending substance to this “contamination” between the physical world and its digital extension, which their projects implement. A hybridization especially magnified in the set for Double vision (2006) by Carolyn Carlson, where the choreographer’s body merges with the images, the lights and the sound. This hybridization logically underpins their architectural projects: French Cultural Centre in Palermo, in Sicily (2011), project for the S. T. Dupont Brand, “light skin” for the three Turbulences in the new FRAC Centre premises in Orléans by Jakob+MacFarlane. Here, because of diodes activated by a computer programme, these structures display a transitory state somewhere between a physical reality and another virtual reality in which are actualized formal and perceptible combinations capable of being endlessly re-inacted.
Naziha Mestaoui, who was born in Brussels in 1975, is an architectural graduate with a DPLG (La Cambre, Brussels). At a very early stage she was working on the issue of integrating technologies in architecture and urban planning. Yacine Aït Kaci was born in Paris in 1973 and graduated from the Ecole Nationale des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, where he received multi-disciplinary instruction focused on multimedia. He produced a series of works in the field of cultural multimedia and for French television (CD-Rom Centre Pompidou, DVD-Rom for the Louvre, CD-Rom for Yves Saint-Laurent, Archimède Programme on ARTE…). In 2000, they decided to pool their respective areas of work and set up Electronic Shadow, an agency oriented towards research and innovation, as much at the artistic level as on a technological level (patented system of space/image projection). Since 2000, Electric Shadow has had many exhibitions (MoMA in New York, Centre Georges Pompidou, City of Paris Museum of Modern Art at La Villette, Japan Media Art Festival, etc.) and stepped up its production (Palermo Cultural Centre, Pavillon de l’Arsenal, Double Vision with Carolyn Carlson, Fiac Luxe!, etc.). In 2004, Electronic Shadow received special distinction at the Prix Ars Electronica, and in 2005 they were awarded the First Prize at the Japan Media Art Festival in the art section. As artists, they were associated with the architects Jakob+McFarlane for the building of the new FRAC Centre premises in Orléans.