Philippe Quéau

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Most Recent Affiliation:

  • Institut National de l'Audiovisuel


  • Paris, France, French Republic

Writings and Presentations:

  • Title: Bonsai
    Writing Type: Paper
    Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 1991: Art and Design Show
    Abstract Summary:

    We are currently witnessing the end of an artistic world. Artists of tomorrow will no longer produce works but something yet to be named. They will no longer create objects but rather types of microuniverses in perpetual evolution.

    These universes will be woven with uninterrupted changes, with mobile networks of lines, surfaces, forms, and forces in constant interaction, produced by the coupling of mathematics and calculators. From fractal dragons to cellular automata, from zooids to logic viruses, mathematical beings move and metamorphose in their symbolic spaces. They can change or alter the very laws by which they are constituted. They can provide the virtually autonomous substance of a new, intermediary art. The metaphor of the “symbolic bonsai” has been chosen to render the intermediary “life” of this intermediary art. Why intermediary art?

    In an attempt to explain art using the words of language, even the greatest minds diverge to some extent. According to Plato, for example, art is the quest for “likelihood;” according to Hegel it aims to “reveal the truth.”Should art seek likelihood or truth? Is the artist a magician or a prophet? What, in fact, is truth? Plato said truth is a “divine vagabondage,” which undoubtedly is why it remains beyond the reach of art, why he contends we must be satisfied with a “likely” imitation.

    Since we are not gods, we cannot “vagabond;” we need laws. And this need applies to art. Thus, art must also be a science. As a product of human activity, art must obey rules inherent to the techniques used to create it. But art is also sensible representations, and as such refuses the domination of abstraction and laws. The best way to resist laws is to change them—constantly. Art itself must therefore be change—perpetual change.

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