the essential
For its first meeting this year, the Residence 1 + 2 presents the exhibition “(Un) Innovation”, by Maxime Matthys, at the Bellegarde cultural center. The photographer wonders about the often harmful effects of new technologies.

Despite all the difficulties, especially health, which have accumulated, Philippe Guionie has managed to maintain the 5th edition of the Residence 1 + 2, of which he presents the first stage of the rocket at the Bellegarde cultural center with the work of Maxime Matthys. The young Belgian artist, who studied at ETPA, a photography school located in Auzeville-Tolosane, became known for his series “The ministry of privacy” on facial recognition in China. During the 4 months spent in Haute-Garonne, his residency led him, at the initiative of Philippe Guionie, behind the scenes of the Toulouse Computer Science Research Institute (Irit), which is the largest laboratory in France. material and celebrates its 30th anniversary. Explanations from Maxime Matthys.

How do we get interested in cutting-edge sciences in order to the issues into images?

Apart from an S bac, I have no special scientific knowledge. So I am used to talking to researchers so that we can work together, each in its own right, in complementarity. My ideas, I don’t just want to express them in an aesthetic way. I always want to provide information without being boring. Since I started, I have been interested in the impact of science on humans.

Is that what you did with your most famous series on facial recognition?

Yes, I worked with a student from N7 in Toulouse before going to China several times. I saw how mass surveillance demonstrated the atrocity of a technology, the peak being reached today with the oppression of the Uyghurs.

In Toulouse, how did you work with Irit?

At first it was very complicated; I was a little lost when I arrived in this Paul-Sabatier laboratory which has 650 researchers. All of them have compartmentalized and precise knowledge. I made a series of meetings with those who were interested in my approach. I offered my ideas while remaining open.

Today this gives the series “Les Jocondes” and “Love center” …

The first deals with artificial intelligence in the field of contemporary art. I made the machines work on creation (here the works of counterfeiters) so that they then create themselves. For “Love center” I wanted to make one fall in love data center by nourishing it with artificial poetry. I photographed the machinery using technical imagery, which captures the heat released.

Your most striking series concerns 5G …

This is personal work and it is critical. I am a photographer and yet, paradoxically, I am passionate about what cannot be seen. This is the case with 5G which I have tried to illustrate, in the form of a dystopia, what it risks causing for civilization and ecosystems. I took pictures of nature in protected areas. I then microwaved the prints (which uses the same frequencies as 5G but more powerfully). This results in blistered, torn photos. This is what 5G could cause, due to the planned obsolescence of smartphones, Internet overconsumption, etc. in the years to come. My series isn’t called for nothing: “Why should we speed up when it’s time to slow down?”

Exhibition “(Un) Innovation”, by Maxime Matthys at the Bellegarde cultural center (17, rue Bellegarde), Toulouse, until October 24. Free. Phone 05 62 27 44 88.

Virtual or real

Created and directed by Philippe Guionie, the Residence 1 + 2 aims, in a dialogue between photography and science, to bring together a renowned artist and two young shoots. To be discovered from October 10 at the Cordeliers chapel in Toulouse, the same weekend when a “Photography & Science” conference will be organized at the Museum. Until then, from October 2 to 4, Maxime Matthys will lead a transdisciplinary workshop at the Bellegarde cultural center on the theme “Virtual or real – In what world do we live?”.