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  • clocks
  • time perception

Gauthier Déplaude talks about Horloges, etc.

Gauthier Deplaude spent a week at GMEA in early December 2023 as a research resident. In this video, Gauthier talks about his Horloge, etc. project and his relationship with technology. 

From the second of the 19th century to the millisecond and then the microsecond of the 20th, and today even beyond that, our world is accelerating at a dizzying pace. This acceleration is intimately linked to the rise of digital technologies (including artificial intelligence, its ultimate avatar), which draw their power from the speed of their processors.

But if this acceleration is shaping a world at so rapid a tempo that we can only skim the surface, for example via virtual worlds, leaving control to the machines, it also reduces our experience of the present. We are experiencing a singular moment: the collapse of our physical and temporal presence to the world. The clock is an ambivalent symbol of this singularity: it represents omnipresent and oppressive time as well as slow and present time, the one we live with and whose rhythm is close to our heartbeat at rest. It is also more than a source of reminiscence: it is a physical object that belongs to our daily life, a resilient link between our virtual and our material worlds.

Two wall clocks form the core of this project. Freed from their functional constraints, they invite us to explore a new space of expression, beyond the usual litany of seconds ticking one after the other.

This exploration is accessible from several perspectives: listening to the clocks and the different elements of their ecosystem (mechanical noises, electrical impulses, power supplies and electrical network), visualizing the unusual movement of the hands and putting into perspective our perception of time, revealing the expressive potential of everyday objects and their emotional impact.

“horloges, etc.” invites us, firstly, to challenge the temporal injunctions that clocks impose on us through a process of symbolic reappropriation and, secondly, to be- come aware that the functional objects among which we live and which condition our everyday lives are potential means of re-establishing our presence to the world.

Gauthier Déplaude is a young visual and sound artist. He lives and works in Strasbourg, France. He was a research engineer in the electrical industry for fifteen years, and has a PhD in Physics and holds several patents on electric arcs. Since 2018, he has been developing an artistic practice based on this experience: first through technical collaborations with sound artists and experimental musicians, before adopting his own artistic path. He commenced work on ”horloges, etc.” in early 2022 and it is his first completed project. Gauthier explores the electrical dimensions of our day-to-day environment. He takes as his starting point the awe and emotion inspired by technical objects, in their singularity, their imperfection, their fragility. He designs tools that detach these objects from their functional constraints and invites them to express themselves outside the usual one-dimensional terms by excluding any attempt to control them. He believes that, since technical objects condition our lives, redefining their function is a means of experimenting with other ways of living, pointing to other possible futures. His work adopts a minimalist approach. With ever-increasing evidence of the negative impact of unlimited technology growth on both society and climate, this form of technical sobriety offers a sustainable path to sharing emotions through art. His current active fields of research are sound performances and visual works based on clocks, car indicators, electric arcs and filament light bulbs.