In 2016, nearly twenty years after its first exhibition at the Frac Centre-Val de Loire, New-Territories has been invited again for a “1993-2050 flashback”.
This event retraces and traces 57 years of work, scenarios, projects, controversies and foresights. It presents the prolific production of the Avatar, a hybrid figure digitally generated in 1993 to stand in for the jackboot or masterfull figure of the “architect/author” and to synthesize his multiple collaborations – BoyeRoche (1989); Roche (1990); Roche & François (1991); R-F-L-H-R-P (1992); Roche, DSV & Sie (1993-97); R, DSV & Sie. P (1998); R & Sie. D/B: L (1999-2001); R&Sie(n) (2001 to 2011), and [elf/bt/c] (2011-2016)…
All of these partnership, labels, and systems constitute the fragments of the New-Territories matrix, which has alternately generated, activated, and put them on standby since 1993.
“s/he would rather do FICTION MAKER” (“elLe Pr_FAIRE la FICTION”), the title of the exhibition, immediately points to the two premises that underpin the proposition: on the one hand, the figure of the androgyne, of Aphrodite; a being who refuses gender and therefore refuses to dominate territories or to dominate both through form and matter. On the other hand, “Faire la Fiction” [Making Fiction / FICTION MAKER] functions as a mode of operation to model the world, to script it. By refusing any form of imprisonment, New-Territories lives in a state of permanent migration; always elsewhere – elsewhere geographically, but also (and always) at the very centre of architecture as a collaborative magnetic zone that combines architecture with cinema, writing, and sharing with artists, philosophers, biologists, mathematicians, and sometimes other architects… It is a porous structure open to the world.
Although it already understood the full potential of digital technologies as early as 1990, New-Territories never stopped revealing their disorders and limitations. In its own words: “Architecture is not a matter of projection, but a matter of ‘distortion of reality’.”
In “s/he would rather do FICTION MAKER”, the public is invited on a “paranoiac odyssey” through a series of historic projects (most of which are part of the Frac Centre-Val de Loire collection) and “anthropotechnic” scenarios, (including New-Territories’ latest venture : M4 -mindmachinemakingmyths).
A new piece, designed specifically for one of the Turbulences spaces, uses robotic and computational processes to once more question the idea of losing control of or emancipating from the preliminary design. This involves an uncertain system in the “Making”, which reacts in real time and substitutes contingencies and artefacts for 3D modelling.
The exhibition will scramble chronology in favour of a nonlinear, both geographic and psychoanalytic approach of the projects. It will track the permanence of certain architectural and technological strategies, the architect’s obsessions, the attitudes and systems inherent to a renewed relationship to the world in its biological, political, and technical dimensions.
Voice-overs, convergence lines, modes of operation, and mechanic devices within critical strategies guide and abandon us through a fiction/reality refrain.
A book of interviews serves as an opening and closing of the event. The publication includes interviews with Sylvia Lavin (historian and architecture critic), Jeffrey Kipnis (historian and architecture critic), Cynthia Davidson (architecture critic and publisher), Greg Lynn (architect), Bart Lootsma (historian and architecture critic), Hans Ulrich Obrist (curator), Bruce Sterling (writer), Stéphanie Lavaux (Associate and Artist), and many others. It directly and literally poses the question of the man who presents himself as the private secretary of “New-Territories”: “_Who are you, François Roche?”
Curators: Abdelkader Damani (director of the Frac Centre-Val de Loire) and New-Territories
“Experimental architecture has shifted toward a new corpus of instrumentations, made out of tools, computation, mechanisation, but also and simultaneously of fictions and lines of subjectivity, synchronous with our symptoms; of fears and great escapes in the “here and now”. The purpose of this 1993-2050 flashback is to explore attitudes that show a correlation, a codependency with the forms they underpin, through their conflicts and reciprocities. It is to discover a post-digital, post-human, post-activist, post-democratic, post-feminist world, … a queer, androgynous, carnal, disturbing, disenchanted, pornographic, transient, transactional world, … where scenarios, mechanisms, misunderstandings, and psychological and physiological fragments are what make up walls and ceilings, cellars and attics, … schizoid and paranoid, between the lines of operative and critical fictions… The androgynous folds and recesses behind which… he(s) / she(s) … hide(s), trigger(s) confusion and gut reactions, suspect hostilities, fantasised idealisation, and even premeditated oblivion. We must use paradoxical postures and aesthetical mechanisms to highlight bio-political challenges, the potentials and disorders of contemporary technologies, from their early stages to their merchandising, and suspect them of not being so harmless, beyond conventional discourses and selfconscious aesthetics…”
Avatar NT ®/ 2016