simulation against the grain, by nicolas gourault

22 Sep

to 18 Dec

free admission

gallery um


In Simulation against the Grain, Nicolas Gourault’s first exhibition in Portugal, the French artist and director presents five time-based pieces. Created individually, these pieces range from short films to multimedia installations and real-time computer simulations, which in common share a practical and experimental approach to digital image-making tools with a documentary and investigative narrative approach. Through multiple entry points, as case studies, the pieces explore some sites of conflict and resistance in the era of ‘surveillance capitalism’ (Shoshana Zuboff) in which we live, in which our bodies face a growing array of data and surveillance technologies.
Throughout the exhibition, there is a recurring tension between vernacular images of mass culture, such as found footage or archival footage, and more advanced technologies that use images in new and more operational ways. The pieces explore the power relations inherent in technology and attempt to construct counter-narratives, sometimes ironic or tragic, through the use of testimonies and experimental image-making.
Nicolas Gourault is interested in the process by which digital images are created: what are the tools used to create the images that in turn shape our imaginations and who are the people involved, who may remain invisible in the process? In other words, who is part of representation and who is expelled from it? The politics of representation, which implies power dynamics and value hierarchies, is linked to a very raw question of labour and involves manipulating the tools to use them begrudgingly.
Based in Paris, Nicolas Gourault’s (1991) work wanders between visual art and visual culture, linking these dimensions to political concerns through the documentary and critical use of new media. Through the tools of image production, Gourault explores the forms of otherness that persist within controlled spaces. His works have been exhibited at venues such as the Centre Pompidou, ZKM or Ars Electronica, but also at film festivals such as Cinéma du Réel, Festival dei Popoli or IndieLisboa.

nicolas gourault exhibition has the support of

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