ÉCRAN TOTAL is a physical and a VR exhibition that I’ve co-curated with Katharina Niemeyer (School of Media/UQAM), Carole Lévesque (School of Design/UQAM), Magali Uhl (Sociology Department / UQAM) and Marine Baudrillard (Cool Memories). The physical exhibition took place in the Summer 2021 at the Centre de design in Montreal. The VR visit can still be experienced with a VR headset.
In his book Écran Total, published in 1996, so long before the advent of life on screen as we know it, Jean Baudrillard talked about sliping on your own life like a data suit. Screens are no longer just an extension of us, they channel the vast majority of our daily experiences and interactions, as it is the case right now as I’m talking to you. Our identity is scattered amongst different platforms : we don’t expose the same self on Linkedin, Tinder, instagram, or in work zooms.
Exhibited in 2021 at the Centre de design, the exhibition ÉCRAN TOTAL revisited Baudrillard’s reflection on our relationship to screens, in terms of simulacra, surveillance, implosion and virality, notions that he explored in the wake of the participative web, and that took a new significance in the pandemic context, when every single experience seemed to only take place through screens. The starting point of the exhibition was a collection of photographs taken by Baudrillard, which were were put in conversation with pieces by post photographic artists Penelope Umbrico (USA), Mishka Henner (UK-BE) + Vaseem Batthi (UK-PK) , Xuan Ye (CAN-CN), Clint Enns, Charlie Doyon and Adam Basanta (CAN). In conjunction with the exhibition, a series of international conferences, round tables, and workshops were held in order to explore the different roles and forms of screens in our daily social and cultural practices.
Through photographs, projections, and installations, the ÉCRAN TOTAL/TOTAL SCREEN exhibition featured four distinct experiences of mediation. The first one was a very “real”, physical exhibition at the Centre de design. The second one was an outdoor installation at the Centre de design and the third experience was that of the reimagined exhibition, a baudrillardian simulacra, progressively and partially re-mediated online on a website. Finally, the fourth mediation took the form of a VR experience, extending the reality of the exhibition, now accessible with a virtual reality headset.
ÉCRAN TOTAL was also featured in the Italian Virtual Pavilion at the Architecture Venice Biennale, where we were invited to discuss the work.
Website of the exhibition and videos of the symposium
VR experience of the exhibition (credit : 3D scanning, VR experience and mediation : ArchivVR) to be seen with a VR headset, or if on a screen, by using the arrows on the keyboard to move through the exhibition
In conversation with Sherry Turkle for the closing event of Écran Total