Saturday, March 10, 2007

Orlan: From the Minitel to the biotech

From: Orlan
Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2007 00:18:52 -0800

Hi everybody! I'm sorry I'm late,I have been overwhelmed by the work for my
Retrospective and my book. A few words that will answer some of Suzanne's questions from different cessions:

New imaging technologies have always play a significant role in the conceptualization and the visual modeling of my work. I have always seized upon new technologies from every side. France before Internet we had the Minitel, I created a Minitel Journal "Art Acces Revue" which goal was to open a space of creation where artists could take into account this new technology, interrogate it, in its lack, in its limits : only seven tons of gray where available and the definition was very low with very big pixels. From Buren to Nam June Paik, from Cage toChiari, all invited artists created specific works, appropriating and decoding a space which was saturated by horoscope, porn chat, cooking recipes and the like. Thus sometimes my work, as Suzanne's work, is about questioning, testing out energies and giving the impetus to confront thoughts, creations, about objects pointed out by artists or their peers in other fields.

I made the first series of my digital self-hybridizations working with a graphic designer based in Montreal when I was in Paris. In France it was the beginning of the spreading of Internet. The digital images were entirely conceived through email exchanges - I would receive the sketch and send them back with my corrections and so on until the image was matching my expectations.

I have always subdued the choice of my tools to my artistic project. Biotechnologies are part of the environment I put into question. An important reference was for me the text of Michel Serres "laicité" the preface to the "Tiers - Instruit" where the metaphor of the Arlequin is used to defend multiculturalism and interdisciplinarity.* I used this text for one the my surgery performance and in a series of reliquaries made of bullet proof glass and iron frames with a few milligrams of my flesh. In collaboration with Oron Catts and Symbiotica I will create an installation : a light-table in the shape of an arlequin coat made of petridishes filled up with colors from different origins, some of the petridishes will contain skin culture samples hybridizing my own skin cells andthat of other humans and animals (fixed or in-vivo).This experience will inscribe in the real and the living theself-hybridizations I have undertake with digital images.I have always enjoyed working on the fake and the real, the living and theartificial. I always think and work with the "AND" instead of the "OR"dominating our Judeo-Christian culture, that is trying to introduce a formof complexity.


*Michel Serres, Le tiers-instruit, Paris, Bourin-Julliard (9 août 1994)

"The current tattooed monster, ambidextrous, hermaphroditic and mulatto, what can it make us see, now, under its skin? Yes, blood and flesh. Science speaks of organs, functions, of cells and molecules, only to admit at last that it's high time we stopped speaking of life in laboratories; but science never mentions the flesh, which, quite rightly, signifies the conflation, here and now, in a specific site of the body, of muscles and blood, skin and hair, bones, nerves and diverse functions, that inextricably binds that which pertinent knowledge analyzes."
"Now already for a while many spectators will have left the auditorium, tired out by ineffectual theatrical effects, irritated at the turn from comedy to tragedy, having come to laugh and deceived at having been made to think; there will be some even--knowledgable specialists no doubt--who will have understood on their own terms, that each portion of their knowledge resembles the coat of the Harlequin, since each one works at the intersection of many other sciences and at the interference point of almost all of them. Thus their academy--its encyclopedic institution--formally rejoins the comedy of art."


African -
TITLE : Masque de société d¹initiation Fang Gabon et photo de femmeEuro-Stéphanoise, 2002 (124 x 155,5 cm)

TITLE : Refiguration / Self-Hybridation n°5, 1998.100 x 150 cm.

American Indian Self-Hybridization #1 : painting portrait of No-No-Mun-Ya, One Who Gives No Attention, with Orlan's photographic portrait, 2005, 48 x60 in.

Reliquary : "Ma chair, le texte et les langages" n°10. 199390 x 100 x 12 cm.
TECHNIQUE : Métal soudé, verre anti-effraction, 10 grammes de la chaird'Orlan, inclusion de résine.

Surgery Arlequin :5e opération-chirurgicale-performance, 6 juillet 1991,décor et accessoires:Orlan, costume Frank Sorbier. Lecture du "Tiers Instruit" de Michel Serrescibachrome collé sur aluminium, 110 x 165 cm.

to post a response, click on the "comment" button below

to return to the main page, go to

No comments: