Facebook bashing. The time has come to point a finger at those who imposed the “Like” 1as the sole enthusiastic posture of our society. An obligatory virtual accolade, the raised thumb confiscates the power to say NO. And, when an artist like Thomas Cheneseau, who scrutinizes and sculpts social networks, conceives a means to conjugate the Facebook medium – I like, YOU like, UNLIKE! – he summons his generation in order to expound on digital identity in an exhibition/manifesto.
In our expressivist world2, reticulated to the extreme and globalizing via the pressure of digital liberalization, it is time to propose a new digital protocol in order to recast the web as a globalized social object. At the heart of this post-internet mutation, Facebook is now no more than an image of web nature. And the artists brought together for UNLIKE are the voices to follow in order to face the contemporary technological disruption3. In Poitiers, fourteen artists imagine fourteen different ways to forge unique digital identities by hijacking, disturbing, swallowing, trivializing, and toying with the social network.
Thirty years after the exhibition Les Immatériaux4, and its experiences (telematic, scenographic, mediating, interactive, immersive, philosophic…) of meta-exposition, UNLIKE reveals the immaterial matter of the network at work through a real visual and artistic proposition. Each of the international artists in UNLIKE show that the issue today is not to expose oneself on the internet but rather to expose the network. And Thomas Cheneseau signs this exhibition/manifesto 3.0 by gathering together here these globalized fluxes in a 12th century chapel: a place for living, strolling, looking, listening, communicating and meditating. He creates a response to the dystopia of an algorithmic life where code would be the work itself.
He poses an equation between creation (artistic, esthetic) and power (media, education). A critique magnified by a monstration in the very heart of an ancestral retentional device (a chapel), the architecture of a religious power (even when deconsecrated) which once served, like Facebook today, to control social, physical, and spiritual tracks. Cheneseau and his friends thereby create a work-network, an open work which offers us a new experience both esthetic and human. An exhibition where we can once again invest in the Work with faith.
Custom is a second nature! wrote Saint Augustine5. By welcoming UNLIKE in the tracks of its patron saint, the Chapel of the Augustinians in Poitiers teaches us a new stance to take against our “customary” usage of social networks. And if UNLIKE, dreamed as a spatio-temporal noetic6 experience, is experienced as a reflexive stroll between our two ecosystems (the real and the digital), this exhibition proposes that each of its artists assert their right to “unlike”, and especially that each work in UNLIKE stake its claim as part of the new identity of the network: that of Sacred Object of Contemporary Art, to be conjugated daily.
Jean Jacques Gay7 2016
- on Facebook, we can only “unlike “ when we have already “liked”. Our like is then erased, but without revealing our change of mind. Worse, we can never “unlike” and directly state our disagreement with a statement, image, or social position of one of our “friends” on the network.
- according to Dominique Cardon, this contemporary world where we publish all our data and the sharing of this data has become for all of its inhabitants an expressivistic world.
- Disruption, upheaval announced by Clayton Christensen in his theory of innovation and technological disruption.
- Exhibition/manifesto conceived by the French philosopher Jean François Lyotard (1924/1998) in 1985 at the Centre George Pompidou, Les Immatériaux, an exhibition which was neither technicized nor technophobic , gave form to a new situation presenting a challenge for thought(JL Déotte).
- Thinker and key figure in the emergence of the West, Saint Augustine of Hippo (354/430), was one of the four founders of the Western Church.
- Noetic, from the Greek noesis, pertaining to the philosophic concept of the same name : the act by which thought affects its subject.
- President of the commission of Writing and emerging forms of the SCAM, Jean Jacques Gay is currently a researcher at the CITU (Laboratoire Paragraphe Université de Paris 8), an art critic (member of the AICA), and author/director of films, exhibitions, and multimedia projects for television, museums, and the web. Founder of synesthesie.com, and youth television series such as “Une Minute au Musée” (France 3) and “Mémo” (France 5), Jean Jacques Gay is a curator of original exhibitions of contemporary players in new media, and works with pioneering transmedia experiences, web TV, virtual curating, gamedoc, etc. (“5 Semaines” Louvre/Arte, spamm.arte.tv Arte Creative, “Theatromania” Labex universitaires/BnF), while continuing to collaborate regularly with French and international media.