Orbites 2019

Orbites 2019

Software: Claude Micheli

Beaugrenelle, Paris
From 12 September to 7 November 2019
Curator: Jérôme Neutres
Coordination: Büro Constance Breton
Technical production: Voxels Productions

Beaugrenelle Paris
Atrium Magnetic
12 rue Linois
75015 Paris

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From September 12 to November 7, 2019, Beaugrenelle presents Miguel Chevalier’s Orbits exhibition, which is made up of two dynamic light-based works: Orbits 2019, a monumental sculpture suspended from the atrium, and Sociatability, an interactive digital installation presented on level -1 of the atrium.

Orbits 2019 is a fourteen-meter-high light sculpture-installation suspended beneath the atrium’s glass roof. This sculpture-installation is composed of nine aluminum rings covered with LED lights. The rings, from 1.5 to 3 meters in diameter, are arranged in a cascade. These balancing rings turn lightly in the ambient air. They are like a juggler’s rings stopped in mid flight. This work is a first for the artist. It was conceived specifically for Beaugrenelle and echoes the atrium’s architecture, which is composed at each level of an ellipse. The circle—the figure of modern abstraction—also serves here as a veiled reference to those artists who, from Marcel Duchamp’s bicycle wheel to Alexander Calder’s mobiles, introduced movement into twentieth-century sculpture.

Thanks to the LEDs covering the sculpture and to a specific computer program (software by Claude Micheli), various choreographies in colored light are generated in real time. They bring these nine rings to life while continually transforming the volume of the sculpture.

Surprising visual experiences are created while playing with the circularity and height of this sculpture-installation. A new poetics of matter, a pure light aesthetics in its combinatory variations, is being worked out here. Depending on the moments of the day, graphic worlds permanently oscillate across various visual-art levels, thus offering a series of contrasting dynamics: soft or rapid pulsations, top-to-bottom movements that play on the verticality of the space, circular movements, monochromatic and dichromatic variations in color, and so on.

Waves of light embracing all the colors of the color wheel move in continuous flux as they circulate from one ring to another, cross each other, and wander off on multiple chance paths. These flowing lines become the metaphorical image for the multiplicity of data generated each day that weave together our environment and circulate nonstop at an ever more rapid pace.

Composed of circles representing life on the microscopic (atomic) as well as macroscopic (planetary and universal) scale, this new artistic work treats of life, mutation, transition, and perpetual motion in creative ways.

A cosmic work, it offers us a poetics of time, with its speed and its variations: erasure, traces, strata of time in flux, with its interruptions, its circuits, and its future evolutions.

Sociatability is a generative and interactive digital installation that mixes reality with virtuality, technology with poetry. At level -1 of the atrium, the wooden table top, 5.4m x 3.9m in size, becomes the medium for a projected virtual universe that develops in real time (software programs by Cyrille Henry and Antoine Villeret). Various black-and-white and multicolored graphic scenes appear one after another in random fashion. Pixels, networks of lines, meshes, and curves come and go as they undulate before our eyes.

These virtual universes interact with visitors who caress the table with their hands.

The visitors’ movements disorganize the apparent order of the pixels, which bustle about in all directions. Straight lines break apart to form abstract landscapes. Cells give way beneath one’s hand to reveal a variety of stacked networks.

This artistic creation continues the work of Kinetic Art and Op Art artists, who had conducted research into movement and optical illusions and who prefigured today’s networks of pixels and the digital world. Surprising kinetic universes are thereby created. Upon this plane surface, the moving shapes seem to take on volume.

This creative work allows an intuitive approach to interactivity. It allows us to feel the sensuality of matter and light. People cannot resist the desire to draw near to it, to touch it, and to interact with it in company with others.

A Film by Claude Mossessian