3 Matching Annotations
- Oct 2020
Those who had the capacity to incorporate the clues necessary to wander without feeling lost – mostly owing to their higher level of education – felt ‘at home’ in Les Immatériaux as well as in the Centre Pompidou; those, on the other hand, who did not possess this self-assurance, who could not rely on the cryptic references provided to navigate the exhibition space, experienced a sense of unease, of loss, and occasionally felt threatened or even deceived
Feeling lost as a matter of educational level.
The voices streaming through the earphones did not provide any direct ‘explanation’ of what the visitor had in sight, but rather unidentified fragments of discourse indirectly related to what there were supposed to comment on, without requiring the visitor to press a button in front of each exhibit. Most visitors did not make the connection between the voices and their own movement through the exhibition, which inevitably led to some colourful misunderstandings
Thus the visitor’s book was full of rants about these inadequate earphones, just as the philosophers railed in the catalogue against the software.
Whereas catalogues are the most common element of mediation for exhibitions, Les Immatériaux had none, at least not in the traditional sense. What visitors could buy were two different publications: one was an album that contained, on one side, a sort of diary or ‘making of’ of the exhibition, and, on the other, loose cards listing the content of the various sites, thereby reproducing the deconstructed architecture of the exhibition itself (fig.1). The second publication displayed the results of an interactive experiment between a number of scholars (mainly philosophers) who had been invited to discuss themes provided by Lyotard and his co-curator, Thierry Chaput, with the help of something so new that it was difficult to describe or even name at the time: what today we would call email. In 1985 this technology was far from user-friendly, so that a large part of the distinguished authors’ contributions is dedicated to their difficulties in using the software. Re-reading the transcript of their exchanges today, I cannot help but find their complaints about the technical failures of the programme more instructive of what immaterialisation might mean than most of their attempts to elaborate on such ‘intellectual’ catchphrases as ‘modernity’, ‘time’ or ‘networks’ – catchphrases that date the catalogue as unmistakably as an old-fashioned suit.
- An album
- 'making of' the exhibition
- loose cards listing the content of various sites
- Writings from an experiment with eMail
- An album