Icart Prize, Art Centre Christiane Peugeot, Paris, Fr

Text by Élise Arnaud

Under The Ground is an installation that emerges from the ground and projects us into a digital space in ruins. Playing with the codes of dystopia and a post-apocalyptic aesthetic that is characteristic of all her works, Manon Pretto stages the story of an anticipated future. This post-apocalyptic universe allows her to wrap up questions intimately linked to our present but in an exponential way to better question them.

This installation particularly questions our relationship to an increasingly virtual heritage, where soon our entire life will be preserved in the form of data stored in Data Centres; collective memory and living memory are now one. collective memory and living memory are now one and the same. Today, more and more data is stored online, sometimes even a substantial heritage (open source works of art, unesco and intangible heritage, etc.). Faced with this exponential growth of digital heritage, what will happen after the fall? How will we live in the ruins of the digital?

These screens act as scanners and show a world that is no longer. They show the remnants of a vanished world where certain images try to resurface like jolts of humanity: here Nike trainers, there a smartphone, etc. Deteriorated by time, they appear like glitches on a computer, trying to survive.

This installation adapts to the spaces in which it is found. Usually conceived for a concrete floor in order to play on the idea of vestiges emerging from the ground, the artist has chosen here to play with reality in another way. Amongst the remains, we discover tiles on the floor playing with the tiles of the place in the idea of corrupting reality like a space that emerges. On these, traces, ghostly movements that still refer to a presence that is no longer there, but the traces try to re-emerge (shoe prints, fingerprints), notably through the black light.

This installation places us in front of an arid and deserted environment, making these data wither physically and visually.


Winner of the Icart Artistik Rezo 2021 public prize, Icart, Paris

Artistikrezo // Manon Pretto

Credit: Hortense Reynaud