Audience Works — Samuel Bianchini


Installation, new media, photography

Audience Works
Samuel Bianchini

Past: January 25 → March 16, 2013

Audience Works, mfc-michèle didier latest publication, is an artist’s book that in first instance takes an interest in the work’s public, in other words, in its own audience.

17 interactive installations, produced by Samuel Bianchini between 1999 and 2012, are here considered with the rigorous precision scientists are known for. The 17 works that are investigated are: Sniper, Ta garde (Keep Your Guard Up), D’autant qu’à plusieurs (What’s More with Many), seul à seul (one-on-one), Jeux pOlymiques (pOlymic Games), Temps libre (Free Time), Contretemps, Training Center, Rappel_(Encore), REANIMATION, Sirène (siren), Tous ensemble (All Together), niform, Valeurs croisées (Crossing Values), Discontrol Party, À Distances (Distances) and Qui-vive (On the qui vive)_. The study concentrates exclusively on the audience, which is both watching and activating the work at the same time. Parallel to the creation of these installations, the artist, who is also a teacher-researcher, has here documented through photography how the audience acts on his works, in order to formulate Audience Works, an individual work on its own.

Audience Works proposes a series of photographs shot by Samuel Bianchini who has taken a important number of pictures of the public acting in his installations — more than 30 000. A selection of almost 1000 photographs is here published. The analytical observation of these images reveals the intimacy of the public, first discovering, then comprehending the work, through fumbling, surprise, joy, wonder, fear or frustration. The artist becomes an ergonomist or even an ethnologist, using his own work as a field of research. This volume measures 198 × 297 mm.

A second volume, entitled Notices, is dedicated to the text, notices written for the 17 installations, published in 8 languages: English, Arab, Chinese, Spanish, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Russian. The editorial form that is chosen here is reminiscent of the layout commonly applied to manuals and guidelines of electronic equipment. This volume measures 139,7 × 209,5 mm.

Audience Works consists of these two volumes inserted in a slipcase, limited to a number of 100 copies.

With Audience Works, Samuel Bianchini extends the reactive character of his works and focuses on the participative dimension of his audience by publishing a book whose cover is responsive to temperature; the ink reacts to the heat of the hand. The title of the publication only appears if the reader is able to handle the object — without any gloves.

In order to develop this bias in the context of an exhibition, and given that the artist’s book constantly questions the way it is displayed and handled by the public, Samuel Bianchini has conceived especially for this project a “display cabinet for touching”, a glove box, modeled on traditional laboratory equipment. In three of such cabinets a copy of Audience Works will be displayed during the exhibition. Enhancing and, at the same time, distancing the act of touching, the glove boxes encourage manipulation. Samuel Bianchini deeply values experience: one must live and practice the exhibition, and not solely contemplate it.

The viewer is inseperable from Samuel Bianchini’s creation process. The work can’t exist without the other.

« What if artistic creation today could be compared to a collective sport, far from the classical mythology of the solitary effort? «It is the viewers who make the paintings,» Duchamp once said, an incomprehensible remark unless we connect it to his keen sense of an emerging culture of use, in which meaning is born of collaboration and negotiation between the artist and the one who comes to view the work.»1 

Nicolas Bourriaud.

One of Samuel Bianchini’s interactive installations indirectly addresses Marcel Duchamp’s formulation. Just before the spectator leaves the exhibition room, he is suddenly cheered by a resounding crowd: Encore (Rappel  — the title of the work) at the end of a concert or cheering by supporters. The spectator is the centre of all the attention.

Samuel Bianchini, Audience Works, published by mfc-michèle didier, 2013. With support from the Agence nationale de la recherche (ANR), France, and CNRS (Maison européenne des sciences de l’homme et de la société, Lille) in the framework of the research project PRATICABLES. Dispositifs artistiques: les mises en oeuvre du spectateur / PRACTICABLE. The Work of Art as Dispositif: Setting the Stage for Audience Participation (DALMES — ANR-08- CREA-063 — 2009-2012) and the Fondation nationale des arts graphiques et plastiques, France.

1 Nicolas Bourriaud, Postproduction — Culture as Screenplay: How Art Reprograms the World, New York, Lukas & Sternberg, p. 20..13

  • Opening Thursday, January 24, 2013 6 PM → 9 PM
  • Lecture Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 7 PM

    Samuel Bianchini presents the publication ‘Audience Works’ at an evening studies event. The event will enable the artist to engage with researchers and student-researchers.

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  • Samuel Bianchini