what was found in the mountain (the language of impossible trees)
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ABOUT THE WORK
“For aurèce vettier, digital is not an end in itself. By considering artificial intelligence as an interlocutor, the artistic studio founded by Paul Mouginot in 2019 claims a hybrid approach that is always ready to give cuttings.
aurèce vettier's herbariums have a photographic sharpness that is reminiscent of the work of Karl Blossfeldt. By isolating details, a bud in the making, the fineness of a stem, the curvature of a leaf, the studio seems to be following in the tradition of scientific observation through oil painting. But the relationship to the scientist is not where one thinks it is. It is in the code. These plants, so ornamental, are not real, and they could probably not exist without the computer that generates them. They appear plausible through an algorithm that composes from real databases and herbaria, but they are grown as anomalies, so to speak. The plant breeder is the person who spends his time creating new varieties, most often roses come to mind. It may be a question of obtaining more fragrant flowers, more resistant plants, but in the field of horticulture it is more often than not a question of aesthetic reasons; the same reasons that motivate the breeder, and lead him to finish the pieces with brushes, to give them a materiality off the screen.
Cultivars, those man-made varieties, can be more fragile for the very reasons they are sought after. A double row of petals discourages pollinating insects and makes the flower sterile, unable to reproduce without manual intervention. aurèce vettier's creations also have a link to rarity; they are unique because they are selected from hundreds of possibilities produced by artificial intelligence. They are unique because they are the result of a dialogue between different hands and intelligences, those of the programmer, the painter or the sculptor and of course that of this generative entity. At no time is it a question of letting "the computer spit out works", as aurèce vettier emphasizes, claiming that beyond the concept, there is a sensitive approach that goes as far as the making of objects. The herbariums can thus be continued by the sculpture which reproduces a branch or a shoot. The work is enriched by various traditional techniques such as bronze or painting.
Before founding aurèce vettier studio, Paul Mouginot created a company that provided algorithms and applications to the fashion industry. Familiar with new technologies and art history, and a collector of contemporary art in particular, he did not embark on this new challenge randomly. Close to historical digital artists and current technophile communities, he had a clear idea of how he could renew approaches by moving towards more hybridity in both content and form. Where many artists who handle code get involved in writing, and develop artificial intelligence through database design before letting the machine stand on its own, aurèce vettier intends to extend the collaboration beyond protocol. As the studio claims, the algorithms used are not necessarily the most recent or the most complex, but those that leave the most room for a return trip with the human.
There is indeed a notion of dialogue with artificial intelligence; it needs time to learn and adjust. It needs to be fed with a database, as vast or as specific as possible, to prepare it to grasp subtleties and then practice.
Each programmer develops according to his or her own individuality and the simpler the algorithm, the more it shows the sensitivity of the person behind it. So there is no fear of copyright, on the contrary. "The algorithm is an engine for writing, a way of encouraging creation," explains aurèce vettier. So when he started writing poems and then set about finishing René Daumal's unfinished novel Le Mont Analogue, it was with the enthusiasm of the Surrealists for automatic writing. Like automatic writing, the algorithm can provide access to the unconscious and, through the interplay of translations between English (the language most commonly used in computing) and French, can be used to compose in a completely lucid manner.
Extending his kinship with the surrealists, aurèce vettier's latest works find their starting point in dreams. By seeking to transcribe them into images through the use of algorithms, the studio blurs the lines and surprises itself: technology extends human dreams and enriches them. Through his work process and his performances as a public writer, aurèce vettier is looking for new ways of interacting with the public or with technology, and in so doing, he is part of the line of artists who, after Barthes and his essay on the death of the author, are abandoning the idea of individual artistic genius in order to better assert our collective creative capacities.”
– Henri Guette, art critic, member of AICA, and exhibition curator
Text originally published in the literary magazine Sève, edited by Vidya Narine, in September 2022