Paint on computer case and printed circuit board, 550 x 600 x 260 mm, 2023
A completely black PC case bearing the inscription "UNLIMITED" is opened up, revealing the innards of this black box that tell the story of Moore's Law on a printed circuit board.
Unlimited is part of a series of artwworks produced in 2023 whilst in residency in the Art center 40mcube in Rennes.
Modiﬁed computers and woven blanket. variable dimensions variables, 2023.
The cloud, a marketing promise that we are all too often not told what it is, is in fact something quite simple: a (large) pile of computers running all day long to serve us, the physicality of which is concealed behind the vaporous promise of the cloud. So that's what Cloud Computing is: a bunch of running computers draped in a blanket with aerial camouﬂage patterns.
Cloud Computing is part of a series of artwworks produced in 2023 whilst in residency in the Art center 40mcube in Rennes.
Painted wood, plexiglass, laser prints on tracing paper, electronic device and ink on sticky notes, 1150 x 1000 x 250 mm, 2023.
Keep it new, all the time! New telephone, new colours! And yet nothing seems to change: the same shapes, the same mechanisms at work, the same marketing speeches and their obvious lies.
Constant renewal is part of a series of artwworks produced in 2023 whilst in residency in the Art center 40mcube in Rennes.
Inkjet prints, 60x75 cm, 2023.
With the profusion of photographic images and the speed with which they are triggered and consumed, the scannographies take their time: images fixed by a mobile document scanner sensor, they are by nature slow, capturing the passing of time, the breath of the wind, the flow of water or the most imperceptible movements.
Scannographies is a project initiated in 2023 as part of a residency at the festival Medienfrische in Boden & Bschlabs. Limited edition prints of 5 are available for sale. You can contact me by e-mail for a full list of available prints and their prices.
Painted wood motorised mobile, personal assistant, audio recording, 160x45x25 cm, 2023.
Time passes, punctuated by the pendulum made of a personal assistant: a wait that encourages reflection, which this robot indulges in and shares with us.
Google metron'home is a piece created in collaboration with François Proulx as part of Useful Fictions #3, École Polytechnique and École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs summer school.
Computer program, LCD screen, aluminium bar, ultraviolet LED, cables, ceramics and flowers, variable dimensions, 2023.
Play is not unique to humans; it has been observed many times in animals. However, when a computer plays a continuous series of chess games against itself, is it still a game ? It seems that for robots, playing is not a hobby but a job like any other. Anyway, what is the point of passing the time if you don't die like a bunch of ﬂeurs that wither as time goes by ?
A game of chess was produced thanks to the support of the CIPAC.
Sublimation printing on photographic paper, grid tracing paper and laser printing, 21 x 15 cm, 2023
When we ask an artiﬁcial intelligence to do something, it almost always does it; its natural behaviour will be to give us a plausible answer, even when it has absolutely no idea what is being asked of it. This is what happens when we tell Dall-e, an artiﬁcial intelligence specialising in image production, to create a photographic still life for us. When we ask it to do this, it can only invent images which, although realistic in appearance, are neither still lifes nor photographs: the exercise requires it to capture reality and express its relationship with the banality of everyday things, which obviously makes no sense for an algorithm...
Computer visions on real life has received support from DRAC Bretagne and the city of Rennes.
Fossil, fern, tar, smartphone, digital image and pine tablet, 42 x 15 cm, 2022.
Phones with broken screens pile up in our drawers, objects accumulate in our tracks. Ferns have been growing for hundreds of thousands of years; they grow and perish from forest fires and natural deaths that turn them into oil. Will the traces we leave behind last for so long ?
Performance, 9 min, 2022.
Should developers make a point of putting bugs in the applications and software they produce? The Rebugging Manifesto is a performative reading that defends this point of view and shows how the bug can be a tool at the service of individual liberties.
The text of the performance is available here.
Synthetic ﬁber carpet, 300 x 85 cm, 2020.
Le respect de votre vie privée est notre priorité was made possible thanks to the support of 40mcube and self signal.
Silver, CNC engraving, two chains of 3600 x 6 mm, 2020.
The perfect jewel to share sweet words safe from prying eyes.
A pair of engraved silver necklaces on each of which, that are several meters long, are engraved the public and private keys of two pairs of PGP keys. Thus, Privacy is intimacy is the ideal piece of jewellery for the most reckless lovers, it allows two people who would wear these necklaces to always have on them the possibility to create their intimacy. This work symbolizes the possibility of intimacy through privacy and inscribes it in a form of preciousness by being a jewel
Privacy is Intimacy was made possible thanks to the support of 40mcube and self signal.
Bronze, dispositif électronique, programme informatique, 17 x 20 x 10 cm, 2020.
Arriverez-vous à vous y connecter ?
Internet ? was made possible thanks to the support of 40mcube and self signal.
Painted stand, miror, tablet computer, earbuds, video, 115 x 20 x 11 cm, 2019.
The information exists, you know it, but you'll never be able to get it.
Modiﬁed computer screen, computer, photographs, 45 x 42 x 20 cm, 2019.
Who, better than your screen, can witness the most intimate ?
The LED, which indicates that the screen is working, has replaced its backlight. It is no longer as talkative as usual but if we approach it, it will surely give us some fragments of intimacy.
Painted frame, LCD display, computer, computer program, 17 x 12 cm, 2019.
Worships have changed, look for the new trend !
Updating itself automatically, the machine and computer program paints us a new icon every time the most followed person on Instagram posts a new photo. The ultimate cult object, Up-to-date Icon reﬂects both our modern cults and our faith in technology.
Inkjet photo print, electronic device, power supply, computer program, 60 x 90 cm, 2019.
The best things are the most awaited.
By materialising an unbearable situation, that of the load interrupting, if only for a moment, the ﬂow of the stream, STRANGEST VIDEO EVER !!!! 👽👻😱 WATCH TILL THE END !!! suggests that the promise made by its very title will never be kept and invites the spectator to be satisﬁed with the almost hypnotic wait for the inﬁnite loading. But anyway, don't they say that everything comes to those who wait ?
Energy drinks cans and meal substitute bottles, variable dimensions, 2018.
Life optimization at 100% ! Don't waste your time by eating or sleeping !
Digital images and smartphones, 12 x 40 cm, 2018.
Hashtag after hashtag a new picture was born. Synthesis of all the pixels seen, it is a global view on the landscape but, is it the ﬁnal and transcendental picture of it ?
Each image that Impressions displays is the result of a social network's global conception of a term: an average image of those associated with it on the network. These computer-hallucinated landscapes testify of the existence of a mass imagery hidden deep in the databases.
Impressions was produced in 2018 during a residency supported by fondation du Château Mercier.
Set of 6 postcards, 11 x 15.5 cm, 2018.
The only job left is to prove we are not robots. let's make it fun !
Captcha tourism was produced in 2018 during a residency supported by fondation du Château Mercier.
Website, variable dimensions, 2018.
If you were not able to travel to the sea this summer, you still can go to the sea of knowledge.
The project is online here.
Postcard, computer, wood, microphone and speakers, 12 x 16 cm, 2018.
Is this real life ?
.echo was produced in 2018 during a residency supported by fondation du Château Mercier.
Sound installation, invisible, 2018.
Don't believe in anything. Everything is fake !
Singing birds was produced in 2018 during a residency supported by fondation du Château Mercier.
Map, laser prints and mobile website, 78 x 57 cm, 2018.
Every gain is a loss.
mARp was produced in 2018 during a residency supported by fondation du Château Mercier.
Bank cheque, ink on paper, wood. 50 x 65 cm, 2017.
A gamble with the potential buyer: to bet on the value of the artist and sell the artwork or to cash the cheque...
Raspberry Pi, thermal printer, electronics, variable dimensions, 2017.
Robots will replace everything, artists included. A simple push on the button and here is an original artwork.
Skateboard, 45 x 30 x 15 cm, 2017.
A mix between a skateboard and a mouse pointer. Skate over 1920 pixels and continue the ride on the asphalt: the virtual is real.
Performance, 8h, 2017.
To work in order to work better: increase future productivity. I need: a space, a desk, an armchair, comfort and a pot plant. Build them then perform them feigning to work.
Hardwork was produced as a result of a residency called ÇA ROOLE ! lead by association 35h and Léa Puissant.
Macintosh application, 133 Ko, 2017.
A single click and everything disappears.
artificial intelligence, displays, variable dimensions, 2017.
Machines can see but they can also hallucinate.
Co-creation with Laura Gaulard, Anne-Claire Nain, Mehdi Benjelloun and Hubert Mardi.
Website, variable dimensions, 2017.
Be polite when asking something; even with a robot.
3,5" hard drive, computer, USB/SATA device, LCD display, 40 x 120 x 15 cm, 2017.
What realities do we experience daily in digital spaces ? What is a bit, in terms of physicality ? Not that much, right ? And a megabyte ? A gigabyte ?
acrylic on canvas, plexiglass, webcams, computer, display, variable dimensions, 2017.
Through networks your image is conveyed, is duplicated, disappears and reappears elsewhere. But where ?
Archive box in grey cardboard, contracts, variable dimensions, 2017.
You will always win by investing into art !
You can download the text of the contract (in french) here.
desk, chair, computer, computer programm, variable dimensions, 2015.
To click to solve problems, to pile up ressources or to carry out missions. Isn't the game a form of work ?
Co-creation with Clément Gouley.
Cathodic displays, cameras, variable dimensions, 2015.
To copy, to copy and to continue to copy until it creates new forms.
Acrylic on canvas, 320 x 200 cm, 2015.
Copied at scale 1, the wall was an canvas.
I am writing this text in the spring of 2020 in the context of a very particular residency. For reasons that everyone knows, travel and contact have suddenly become impossible. I met Louis Frehring through online video exchanges, which after all is not so bad for discovering the work of an artist who is interested in so-called technological objects, their uses, their implications, and even their thoughts. The health crisis has brought to the forefront notions of data processing, anonymity, traceability and digital isolation that were previously the preserve of specialists or enthusiasts. While a large part of Louis Frehring's work consists of translating these issues, the world seems to have decided to make them crucial for each and every one of us. For my part, I took part in the exercise of visiting digital workshops which, after all, allowed us to tell other stories.
Louis Frehring is making this shift in perception with one of his projects developed during GENERATOR, soberly entitled Internet ? (2020). He created a bronze Internet router with a precious appearance, designed to contrast with the pseudo-futuristic banality of this device that adorns my living room and no doubt yours. The artist seeks to play with the confusion between device (the box), technology (Internet) and network (Wi-Fi). This work echoes a previous project, which was solely online. Sea of Knowledge (2018) created a dreamlike maritime interface for random navigation on an ocean-Wikipedia. Louis Frehring highlights the paradoxical hypercentralisation of this network, while most of us use, by force of habit and capitalist predation, only a tiny fraction of its possibilities. The visible and invisible facets of this work allow several levels of reading by drawing attention on the one hand to the sculptural aspect and on the other hand to the very precise technical aspect.
Fascinated by these machines, Louis Frehring wishes to develop a psychoanalysis of technical objects. With Image disque (2017) the artist exhibited a computer that read its own image in an endless loop. The object, reduced by the artist to uselessness while using all its technological capacities, was brought to speak of itself, ﬁrst by representing itself but above all by expressing itself. It had no access to speech, but its operating process and the physical reality of the calculation were made sensitive by the heating of its mechanism and the noise of its fan. During GENERATOR, Louis Frehring took this logic a step further by designing AI Monologue (2020). He once again uses an object that has become commonplace, this time a smart home speaker - I'll say it right away, I don't have one, but maybe you do - to which he has given a new envelope but above all a new function. The speaker has been trained to express its own emotional life and its feelings about its existence, via a longmonologue. The artist forces the robot to speak - this time literally - in the ﬁrst person. Fortunately it's not me he's asking to monologue to, I would have replied "LOL" and we would have moved on quickly. But this chatty foray into the psyche also demonstrates the limits of this speech. Conditioned by the thousands of sources that are not, or not yet, written by robots, it reminds us that the relationship to technology is above all a social fact.
The installation Le respect de votre vie privée (2020), is an absorbent black and grey carpet, the kind you ﬁnd in anonymous lobbies with names like CIG OPRENSIA ASSETS or BEST ELEGANCE HOTELS. Instead of the expected logo, Frehring reproduces messages asking for the user's consent to the use of their personal data, such as: "Your privacy is our priority. By continuing to browse this site, you agree to the use of our visitor evaluation technologies to provide you with an optimal experience tailored to each individual." With this shift from virtual space to concrete objects, the artist invites a change in the regime of attention. Would visitors make the same decisions outside the virtual space ?
Finally, Louis Frehring moves into more personal territory where interest in technology meets intimacy. In an as yet untitled work, he creates two pieces of jewellery, a pair of silver chains, which together form cryptographic keys using PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) technology. This ultra-secure process is best known for being prized by whistleblowers, such as Wikileaks ones, hackers and drug dealers. From an obscure term reserved for insiders in the dark corners of the Internet, PGP has become a commonplace to the point of entering pop culture through the front door with Booba's eponymous track in 2019. With his jewellery, Frehring wants to allow two lovers who exchange them to communicate in complete conﬁdentiality and to use PGP to reactivate the coded languages long used by epistolary lovers. The artist takes up the public and private symbolism of jewellery, an object that is ostensibly displayed but whose details conceal many secrets, much to the delight of romance writers.
With this intrusion into sentimentality, Louis Frehring wishes to contribute to a restorative gesture, a gesture that would make it possible to protect lost intimacy with means similar to those that destroyed it. By reducing cryptography to a physical object, however, Louis Frehring pushes this logic to the absurd. The PGP cryptography he uses requires hundreds of characters, and by associating each of them with a pendant link, he creates an inordinate chain several metres long, far too cumbersome to wear. Although the object is functional, retrieving the characters one by one would be so tedious that communication between the lovers would be impossible. Once again, the artist strips technical objects of their primary utility in order to better comment on their construction and social function.
Louis Frehring is interested in both the insides of machines and the ways in which they interact with their users. He uses plastic forms that shift the gaze and question what is taken for granted. For an artist dealing with theInternet, Louis Frehring makes very moderate use of digital technologies: his works are rather sculptural and he pays attention to the level of technological quality he proposes for each object, concentrating on the precise contributions of each material. Frehring does not propose a technological arte povera, however: acquiring and using a screen or a phone is much cheaper and quicker than making a carpet or working on a metal sculpture - which should question the labour relations that determine them, just saying. It is a choice of discourse, in the sense that the artist wants to talk about technology by making it understandable. The artist is interested in information and its dissemination above all through its containers: the networks, the objects through which information transits, the technologies that make it accessible and those that protect it. He insists on the systemic, on what conditions the possibility of existence of these contents. However, he starts from these packages to offer precise and rich accounts, to reveal stories that tell the intimate experience of this very particular relationship.
Reading note written about the book Digital Dynamics in Nordic Contemporary Art by Tanya Toft Ag. May 2020. Published on La Critique d'art's webite. (pdf in French)
Text written about the exhibition Karmamousse by Alisson Schmitt at Passerelle Art center in Brest. March 2019. Published on n Passerelle's website. (pdf in French)
Interview of Edouard Le Boulc'h during his exhibition Peripheral feed at Passerelle Art center in Brest, February 2018. Published on lle poulailler's website. (pdf in French)
Text written about the exhibition Have you seen Pantopon Rose ? by Julie Béna at Passerelle Art center in Brest, October 2017. Published on le poulailler's website. (pdf in French)
Text written about the exhibition L’agonie du calamar by Thibault Pellant at Passerelle Art center in Brest, avril 2017. Published on le poulailler's website. (pdf in French)
Text written about the exhibition UniAddDumThs by Marck Leckey at Kunsthalle Basel, 2015. (pdf in French)