02 n°91 sep/oct/nov 2019
02 n°91 sep/oct/nov 2019
  • Prix facial : gratuit

  • Parution : n°91 de sep/oct/nov 2019

  • Périodicité : trimestriel

  • Editeur : Association Zoo galerie

  • Format : (210 x 297) mm

  • Nombre de pages : 92

  • Taille du fichier PDF : 9,6 Mo

  • Dans ce numéro : les frères Quistrebert.

  • Prix de vente (PDF) : gratuit

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7 Interview Ben Thorp Brown 4 Ben Thorp Brown — in conversation with Patrice Joly Ben Thorp Brown presents at the Jeu de Paume a three-part exhibition that outlines his concerns about empathy, a feeling that is difficult to define—not to be confused with compassion— and that seems to have difficulty imposing itself in a world devoted to individualistic demons and more tempted by transhumanist theories than by mutual aid reflexes. The puzzling video Cura, produced as part of the Satellite programme, follows a turtle wandering around Richard Neutra’s famous VDL House, built according to principles driven by empathy concerns quite similar to those of the artist. By attempting to restore legitimacy and strength to a thought of utopia to which we systematically oppose the irrationalism of its prerequisites when it is not the irrefutable arguments of Darwinism, the artist demonstrates that the forces underlying empathy are based on another vision of history, based on collaboration (between men of course but also with animals, the living, nature and things), that undermines certain fundamentals that can be blamedfor many societal dysfunctions. Like any utopian thought, however, this raises many questions that we have tried to highlight in this interview. There’s a powerful architectural theme in the film you’re screening at the Jeu de Paume in Paris, using the figure of a tortoise, an animal that represents architecture if ever there was. You lament the fact that this latter no longer offers this possibility of interconnection between people which it used to have when it was still composed of natural, porous materials, and that it shifted towards a safety-related and in fact « compartmentalizing » function which corresponds with the deep-seated individualistic trends of the time—in a word, that dwellings have become kinds of safes for humans. This doesn’t stop you defending a more empathetic vision and displaying great optimism, but do you really think that the future will be more favourable towards people living in large cities, when the decades to come will irrevocably lead to an over-concentration of the world’s population in the large metropolises, and thus make it harder to introduce architectural programmes that are more respectful of sensibility, inter-connection, mutual assistance, and the like ? I think it’s a question of priorities, which is essentially rooted in this question of how we view another. Recently, we’ve encountered some pretty extreme examples of how the built world and the natural world come into conflict, whether through fires, rising temperatures, hurricanes, and other more directly human designed problems in building safety such as the Grenfell Tower, or the continued use of lead pipes in the water system in places like Flynt, Michigan (among others) that have caused significant health problems. I see these as linked phenomena in a world that is eroding in its ability to care for one another and itself. With each example, we can point to specific causes of the scenario, often directing us to explanations that appear outside of our control as humans, however, part of my interest was to speculate on a new kind of empathy that might stretch between humans, the natural world, and the world of things, shifting the narrative that we tell ourselves. I wanted to achievethis through some fictional means, and I imagined another chapter to the Roman myth of Cura told from the point of view of a tortoise who lives in a modernist architect’s house in Los Angeles, which is one component to the overall project of The Arcadia Center which is an institution that comes into the world to help a community investigate these concerns. You want to oppose a narrative to the one that certain transhumanist authors like Yuval Noah Harari pinpoint, emphasizing going beyond the biological limits of the human being by him becoming contaminated by technologies and algorithms, an option which, in your view, endangers our propensity for empathy and collaboration. But don’t you think that it’s already too late, that the cyborg (to borrow Donna Haraway’s term) is already in us and that we are already considerably prosthetized and algorithmized ? I think the narrative that I really want to contrast is the myth of the survival of the fittest, which we’ve inherited from Darwin, and which has been used to much detrimental effect to explain the non-human world inaccurately, and within human society to narrativize an individual’s place within it by naturalizing a degree of comfort with inequality. Yes, we’re definitely all inhabited by technologies, and I don’t think I’d propose this is why we might lose our empathic capacities for others though. I think it could be happening as psychological resilience and the capacity to manage
[Toutes les images/all the images] Ben Thorp Brown, Cura, 2019. Video. Co-production  : Jeu de Paume, Paris ; CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux ; Museo Amparo, Puebla. Ben Thorp Brown. 7 Interview Ben Thorp Brown 5



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