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- Interview

10 questions to: Adrien M & Claire B

Adrien M & Claire B are no studio like any other, their creations are a mix between performance and exhibition and fuse reality and virtuality. For their projects they develop custom technical solutions, but always put human beings at the centre of their attention. Guillaume Sinopoli talked to the two creative all-rounders from Lyon …


Interview: Guillaume Sinopoli



Le mouvement de l'air

How was studio Adrien M & Claire B born?

The studio was born when we first met really and it was formalised in 2011. We both worked as artists and we felt we complemented each other perfectly. So we were really excited by the idea of working together.



Does every one of you specialise in certain tasks at the studio or do you both work together on every step of a project?

First of all, we are not really a studio. We don’t do contract work or apply for jobs on the market. We create, produce and initiate projects, that we like to make real. The projects themselves then determine what each one of us does. Claire is often in charge of the overall art direction of a project, its organisation and its realisation. Adrien works on the on the information architecture (with regard to software as well as materials used) and does a lot of the research. But these two areas are always intertwined. Our work is a never-ending dialogue, which is really inspiring. 

Le mouvement de l'air

How do you collaborate with the universe of the stage?

We always worked for the stage. Separately at first (between 2002 and 2010) and subsequently together. It was always our wish, that the human being remains at the centre of the project. To build images that exist on a screen alone was never interesting to us.  



Into which project did you put the most amount of work?

Each project is singular in its ambitions and in its difficulties and comparing them does not make much sense. »L’ombre de la vapeur« (the smog and the steam) is an interactive installation, which covers an area of 900 m2. That is surely our biggest project, but the minute organisation of every step and the amount of work we put into it, allowed us to realise it without any major difficulties. On the other hand for smaller projects like »Hakanai« a lot of specific applications had to be developed and produced. In the end this was probably the most tiresome project to create. »Le mouvement de l’air« (The movement of the air) for example was complex to develop with regard to scenography, because of its challenging suspension systems and because the lighting was a real brain-teaser.


What is the importance of digital spaces in your designs?

We are always trying to make images to go out of their frames. We want to transform them into landscapes, into territories, into living beings, into partners in a game. To make people forget that they are images. For us what is real is formed by concrete matter plus all the layers of the imaginary that the digital world can create.



Creation for you means collaboration between the artist and the public. Why is that such an important aspect of your work?

It’s a collaboration in the sense of dialogue, of inter-relation. That is indeed the centre of our work. On the stage real dancers interact with a digital performer backstage, who ingeniously animates the images. When it comes to installations, it’s mostly sensors that realise simple actions. But in both cases images react, talk, answer and relate. We always try to accomplish a kind of digital animism. 

What are the challenges when you try to present abstract subjects like the unreal or a dream, motives that can be found in your projects?

The imaginary, dreams and illusions are topics that occur in all our work, they are sensual experiences and valuable to us. That’s why we want to communicate them. Digital matter and light in its projected form or in form of augmented reality seems favourable to trigger these feelings. They help to make the invisible visible. 



For »La neige n’a pas des sens« you combined digital art with printed objects. Why did you enter this different universe?

We liked the duality of light meeting matter, of technology meeting craft and contemporary meeting old. We like to create links and bridges, to open up thresholds one can pass through. The digital is just one tool of creation and we like to mix it with something that can measure up.

L'ombre de la vapeur

In your projects you refer a lot to mathematics and other sciences. What is the impact of these worlds on your creations?

They are all tools, but never an end in themselves. Sciences and mathematics are descriptive languages, strong and concise, created to describe what is real. But in general we like to mix the technical side and scientific data with poetics and sensitive issues, to describe imaginary worlds and to blur the lines between what is real and what is fake. We like to make our universe stand out and creating a piece is like offering a vision of possible world. 



Can you tell us more about your latest project »L’ombre de la lumière«?

Initiated in June 2018 »L’ombre de la lumière« (The shadow and the light) is an interactive and immersive work ordered by the Martell foundation, which just opened a large exhibition space at Cognac, a city in the South West of France. This project pays tribute to the genius loci. Before the works began, the surfaces where full of a mushroom called Torula, which feeds on the evaporations of alcohol. Thanks to digital systems we created an animist fiction, a work that reveals shadows and light.


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