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Arts informatifs ? Un monde qui pline ! Un entretien avec Clément Thomas - Alban Saporos - 2001
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french version

Informative arts? A plining world!
An interview with Clément Thomas (

- Alban Saporos - 2001

"At's, we leave Michelangelo's slave on Manzoni's pedestal and focus on one and only goal: becoming the masters of the world. Therefore, to Mario Merz's "Che Fare ?" we answer "Va bene !"." (Clément Thomas)

Alban Saporos: Clément Thomas, you are an artist and you're's Officer Général*. Isn't this a turnchair?

Clément Thomas: For who's heard this before, musical chairs are never enough.

A_S: Your "théorie ctgr" focuses on your conception of the Network as "The Realized World" and you put forward the word of "informative arts". Yet within, you deny making art.
Can you explain this contextual deviance? To paraphrase Marcel Duchamp, do netsters "make" or is it the contrary ?

C_T: does not postulate art as an action basis. I'd say we work in a field where art is a default value just because what we do doesn't fit in any other field (in short, we don't produce screws or batons...not yet though). Theories are wits that have their own working spheres with flavours such as fluctuations and inflammations: raw informative material for good upgrades.

A_S: I notice with pleasure you share the concept of disposable theories but my question rather focused on what the Internet brings that makes it so different and so specific?

C_T: I favour theories' natural wearing. The energy release resulting from theories' banging justifies alone that people continue theorizing.
As to what the Internet brings, i'll answer the Internet brings the Internet: all the attitudes that come along with the Network, the tools to make the whole thing work and one extra: informative raw matter in astronomic quantity. Just as Aladdin's sunlamp, you only need to know where to scrub to extract the marrow.
The after contemporary plines the next route on the Internet.

A_S: Marshall MacLuhan once promulgated a famous law according to which "the medium is the message". Do you believe it now has to be abrogated?
In concrete terms, can we take for granted the merging of a medium with its revelation - and vice versa - as a statue with the marble it's carved from ? How do you deal with this substantialist approach ?

C_T: I didn't meet MacLuhan but I respect his sense of humour. What imports in your question is neither the marble nor the medium but the repeal : the removal.
Arte Povera proved marble didn't need statue.
With Brandt over Haffner, Bertrand Lavier cleverly showed that marble itself can do without marble. Yet what's up when nothing is to be removed?
At's, we leave Michelangelo's slave on Manzoni's pedestal and focus on one and only goal: becoming the masters of the world.
Therefore, to Mario Merz's "Che Fare ?" we answer "Va bene !"

A_S: I wish we get back to this "informative arts" concept. Here we have an extractive process that relates to my previous question. But what do you extract?

C_T: Defining roughly informative arts supposes to think of information as a raw material and to extract it without taking in account what it pretends to convey. By this process based on the technics of signals, operates a semantic reframe that enables to move the pole and magnetize the position.
In this case, you can rightly speak of artistic engineering.

A_S: Yet, you still talk of a "default value"...

C_T: Information is the stuff dreams are made of. It is the appropriate matter for great conquests. Art problematics cannot always be scrutinized from an ecumenical point of view: reading Greenberg at the café Belge while drinking pints of Grimbergen is as much fulfilling.

A_S: How do you deal with a time dominated by sampling and real-time streams? Don't you fear to exhaust a vein without guarantees of popularization and profit?

C_T: Everything gets recycled and informative arts are no exception.
What characterizes informative arts fits in a single word: plining.
Plining is's LA technology; it covers the entire process of data-treatment: from data-drilling and swifting to the final PROduct.
Plining implies upgrade and movement of Informative Objects. Our PROducts' popularity prove they're open and respond to our clients and consumers' needs. Moreover, all of them are open-boucle et copyGNou guaranteed.

A_S: An entrepreneurial informative aesthetics, then?

C_T: I leave aesthetics to beauticians. My opinion is that if there's somebody to create whatever aesthetics, then this aesthetics exists. I'm not interested in value judgments. Everything ends in exploitable and upgradable data.

A_S: Physicians and astrophysicians speak of initial conditions. Is there an Informative Big Band?

C_T : Informative Big Bang? T.Click maybe...

A_S : Still this vexatious dynamics remains very obscure to anyone not being connected to the Internet and even more to the consumer who doesn't find there any narcissistic satisfaction. How do you plan to overcome this difficulty?

C_T : carries on a large-scale works policy that will allow a wider movement of Informative Objects. This needed a new kind of market so we created the NELia**.
Yet we do not forget usual channels and an infocoronary bypass will soon enable us to provide the target with beautyfully crafted PROducts that should satisfy consumers who haven't taken the connective plunge yet.

A_S: How do you see the immediate future?

C_T : Developing the NELia market is of course a priority. will also take part in upcoming major international events. An online school is on its way too but let's not unveil the surprize, you'll know more as soon as Tomorrow...

A_S : Thanks Clément Thomas for answering these questions. A last word?

C_T : It is clearly the end of the "tomorrow free tabula shavings!".
One single thing can be said without mistake about and the informative arts: "VA BENE!".

* Other executives include Paul Dupouy and Jean-Philippe Halgand who are respectively Chief Président and Executive Directeur. <

** The NELia (for New Eco Logic informative arts) was created by to support online creation. In return of the online hosting of exchange values named Data-Heads (1 Data-Head  weights 6.96 KB), it enables anybody to invest in online art, to set collections of
Informative Objects and take part to the creation and development of networked free territories, i.e the GNou Found Lands, to prevent server space from becoming hunting corporates' monopoly. According to this promotional logic, the first NELia store opened fall 2000 on "Shower - a new degree of What!" followed a few months later by a second one on "Black-Soap") - no less than 30 international net art stars and more than 130 downloadable mixes and movies.
Institutions were not forgotten and Data-Head budgets were voted for the FRACs (French cultural institutions in charge of buying contemporary art) to enable them to collect online art.

related links:

Clément Thomas:

GNou Found Lands Territory Desk Office:

Alban Saporos is art critic and curator.
He also is the author of the essay "L'art à l'épreuve de l'information".
He has curated the show "Messieurs Halgand - Mécanique de précision" or the IAAF in september 1999

lire également : theory : texts and interviews
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