Louis Bec

Institut Scientifique de Recherche Paranaturaliste

You can see four smaller screens and in the middle a larger screen in portrait format. On the four screens are various information graphics. The screen in the middle shows a blue entity.
Louis Bec
Institut Scientifique de Recherche Paranaturaliste
Medium / Material / Technic
Video, color, sound, 23:11 min., light boxes

Louis Bec was both a scientist and an artist. His journey from classificatory biology to fabulatory epistemology – almost inevitably – led him to the fields of artificial life and, consequently, art. Together with Vilém Flusser, he became engrossed in the artistic exploration of artificial life forms as early as the 1970s. Fascinated by the emerging 3D technologies, he founded the »Institut Scientifique de Recherche Paranaturaliste« in 1972.

The installation presents the high goals of his paranaturalist research on four posters. In 1997, he commented: “Thus the new task of the alive, and of humankind in particular, is to hook a programmed technological biodiversity plan into an interlinked semiosphere riddled with signs and signals, in a way that lays the foundations for a systemics of the alive.”

The central video shows early examples of computer-generated artificial life forms. These fantastic creatures exhibit a repertoire of shapes and movements clearly inspired by aquatic life forms, showing how Bec looked toward the origins of life – which, as far as we know today, occurred in the oceans – for orientation. Bec’s implicit question is: How much separation is there between natural and artificial life?