The "Serie Noire" CD-ROM contains three sequences entitled DOW JO, Essais 1960-1996, and The Object....
DOW JO was inspired by an exhibit which was to take place in the Bourse neighborhood in Paris. The theme of this exhibit was "September 11".
The visual event appeared before our eyes, was something solid which melted and collapsed.
Several days after September 11, on television, I saw the electric news banners on Broadway in Manhattan which announced the reopening of the New York Stock Exchange.
People applauded the numbers and letters running from left to right. Emotions and passions were the reflection of these letters : DOW JONES, NASDAQ or NIKKEI.
This enthusiasm seemed to me suspect, and intuitively I felt able to discover the cause of this motivating force by submerging myself in the wave of numbers and letters.
The twin towers were symbols of stability. They were the world's greatest temple of business.
And they disappeared.
Hour by hour, day by day, the information inundated us : number of victims, complete destruction of such-and-such a company ... the average stock price indicated a decline of 3.8%, etc.
A famous American investment advisor stated : "Buy the rumor, sell the fact."
A rumor functions only by spreading. Its truth has no real importance. It acquires its value by spreading, until it becomes a system.
The motivating force is this undisciplined, even chaotic, rumor.
Monuments are constructed through expansion, growth, and multiplication.
They trade rumors, and stimulate us by sublimating the imaginary value until it becomes an illusory realization of our dream. Our lives are conditioned by these stimuli. But who constructs these monuments?
Tiny water molecules give birth to waves. Stimulated by a simple displacement of strata, waves give birth to enormous tsunami. All in all, this is simply cause-effect relationships.
Any event, whatever its extent, is a result of movements and molecular reactions.
Numbers are born from rumors and facts linked to our activities : the transformation of raw materials, production, action, and consumption.
As consumers, big- or small-time shareholders, we are surrounded by numbers.
And the electric numbers run from left to right : our reflection, our interests, progress, development, a dream to make real, and happiness.
For three months after September 11, I tried to observe, as much as possible, the events and the numbers, looking for cause-effect relationships.
And it seems to me that I understood a superficial part of the interdependent relationships between individuals, relationships which connect us to monuments and interdependent connections which unite us with the phenomena. As long as these phenomena continue to evolve according to the law of impermanence, our need to stabilize them, to measure them, will lead to a gap between our measurements and the true nature of things.
The ideas of time and space arise from this gap.
Without being conscious of the phenomenon by which we constantly feel the gap, even if we "seem true" or "become an image of what would be true" and deal with the gap through techniques such as adding a leap-day evry for years, we will not resolve the question. This is probably how phenomena repeat themselves.
Each of the three sequences of "Serie Noire" thus repeats itself.
The second sequence, ESSAIS 1960-1996, presents the dates and reveals the places where France undertook her nuclear experiments, and the names of those who contributed to them.
The third sequence, The Object..., presents the names and birthdates of cloned living beings and matter which have been officially declared up to the present. The list begins in 1865, the year in which Mendel discovered the laws of genetics. But it would not be right to say that Mendel is the direct cause of the "Gallery of Horrors" or responsible for experiments on animals. I wanted to show, by this sequence, that the world is a tangle of interdependent and interfering relationships, of elements for away in time or infinitesimal in space.
The Objects are born with a consumerist objective in mind.
According to Marshall Mc Luhan, mechanical technology is the extension of the physical human body toward the exterior :
"After three thousand years of explosion, by means of fragmentary and mechanical technologies, the Western world is imploding. During the mechanical ages we had extended our bodies in space. Today, after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned."
("Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man", 1964)
He calls "Global Village" the globe which shrinks to a small sphere, the result of the expansion of our central nervous system to the dimensions of the Earth.
He warns the public of the consequences of the development of media technology and its capacity to destabilize any situation, to upset the established hierarchy through print technology (Gutenberg), to upset the world of "public = readers", of the "mass", of the "nation".
If the hierarchy collapsed, would the same idea of competition still exist? Would the idea of a dictatorship still have the same meaning?
Media technology makes possible alternatives, diversity, and ubiquity. It is clear that the Internet enables us to create a multitude of communities without a center, or with one (or more) center(s).
These communities resist and escape from concentration and centralization.
"Technology has a neutral character, it is without borders. It has no specific character, no physical properties. One might imagine that such a character defies the idea of nationalism, that it is pacific. But we must watch closely and beware, for it has within itself the same specific character as an arms merchant" says Sugita Atsushi in "Mechano".
Our environments, conditioned by technologies, are in a state of rapid, dynamic expansion.
These explosions are the result of implosions, and this dynamic repeats itself. We must no longer have need of sacrifice, neither of self nor of others.
This is the only way which would lead to a cohabitation. One of the concrete roles that art can play is certainly to discover, starting from domestic, everyday incidents, the gaps in life, while keeping in mind that the history that nurtures us follows a constant process of creation, preservation, destruction.
Whatever one may say, we must begin to not build the tower.
This CD-ROM remains explicitly outside the "trade" economic system, with its determination of material and psychological values. This is why this product has no ©, no ®, no TM, and no trade. It is freely copyable. It is free of property rights.
This CD is given ... free.
(CD-ROM : June 2002 / Web Site www.serienoire.net : October 2002)