Reseaux-Mondes • Centre Pompidou • Paris, France • 2022
The “Networks-worlds” collective exhibition brings together sixty or so artists, architects and designers who question the place of the network in our societies, embodied by social networks and the very dematerialisation of the network itself. More than ever, in the age of the Internet and this great "network of networks", the network is at the heart of technological changes and societal issues such as surveillance, atomisation of the individual and the actor-network. The exhibition also addresses the first network, that of living beings, which interconnects species.
The term “network” first appeared in the 12th century ("retis") in reference to a fishing "net" or a knot. The word resurfaced during the Age of Enlightenment and in the mid-18th century in Diderot and D'Alembert's Encyclopaedia, in which the metaphor of the network replaced that of the tree to define the knowledge system. The primary "networks” are thus the body and living beings. The network is defined by a principle of reticulation, an arrangement of interconnecting points linked together in an exchange of flows that is deployed in a three-dimensional space.
Divided into five sections, the exhibition retraces the development of the concept of network through a timeline that reveals the shift from mechanical networks, to allow territorial planning in the 19th century (roads and rivers), to the immaterial networks of the digital society, with cybernetics in the post-war period. New communication networks (radio, television) came into being at the same time as computer networks, forging new knowledge infrastructures. From a technical matrix, a mechanical artefact and a model for understanding space-time, the network has become virtual in the age of the Internet, constituting one of the major challenges of society today. The philosopher Michel Serres constantly questioned the epistemology of the concept of networks, while Jean-François Lyotard saw, in the network, the very symptom of our "postmodern" condition.
• Oasis or Mirage? (2021)