Roxame : what is the project ?

(Partly a Free translation of an extract from Peinture et Machine )

Since photography was invented, painting has been questioning its role. Why should we continue to paint, since that machine, the camera, gives to everybocy the capacity of creating lasting images of places, persons and events ?

The question has been discussed by the Impressionists, by Duchamp and today by Balpe or Frest. It stands more than ever critical for the future of painting, threatened to be drowned in a shattered space. On one side, exclusive concepts of art, too often not understandable by the public. Around this theoretical center, the vast world of large disribution medias and diverse forms of "local circles", be they the home (where children's drawings are proudly hanged), the street (tags), the regional shows (expressing the creativity and culture of the regional community)or even the big Worls art shows, sort of fashionable parties for rich collectors;

It is urgent to find a remedy for an explosion which foreshadows the mere end of the pictorial work as such. And for that, we must go back to the reason which lead to such a state of things. How could be get there ? Because, after having reached technical perfection, in the end of XIXth century, the painters have locked up therselves in a contesting party of the industrial world.

Yet, how to criticize the painters who hate the machine, when this one is by its nature driven to marginalize their creating activity of unique works ? From Antiquity to XXIth century, this evolution runs along an implacable logic.

So, in Art as in the industrial and audiovisual world, the machines have united themselves, progressively, in a vast system. Around that system, men are pushed out to the edges, if they do not play the game. It is useless to reject them, wheter prentending that they have no real existence, or denouncing their mischiefs. It is useless as well to hope naïvely in them to solve all our problems, letting us happy and idle in a leisure civilisation of which coming would have meant the end of History.

Roxame tries to explore another way : let us bet on machine autonomy, as long as it is not exceedingly dangerous, and let us cooperate with thme respectfully if not lovingly. Machinesare dangerous only if we are not willing to feel sympahy for them. Or if we love them with a technological male chauvinism.

At present, in this beginning of a new century, digital art mainstream stresses electronic media ant interaction. And right so. Placed in the periphery of the machines system, men communicate wih themselves mainly trough (portable) telephones, television and electonic messaging. Some artists, like Fred Forest, take these media as the real object of their art. Others, like Antoine Schmitt, are more interesed in developing autonomous electronic creatures. Here the aims are different : the autonomy and interactions refer not the the works, which are static paintings, but to the robot-artist itself : you cannot take the hand or Roxame and user her like a brush. But you can say her things, or provide her with documents, so that she tries to paint something pleasant for you.

So the projects takes you into a new world of relations with machines. A world where machines are no longer tools or slaves, but partners willing to cooperate. It has a drawback : you cannot be totally sure of the result. And a positiv advantage : you can get more than you expected ! This kind of machine would not be appropriate in a normal industrial shop. But it is a fascinating partnership in an artist's shop.

In this new world (perhaps not so brave, if we follow the Huxley's motto), the painting is only a part of the Art work. As Fred Forest has stressed it in an interview to Stic-Hebdo (alas, in French only at present), a work of art is to day a system. In which the site you are reading in is another part, as well as the various modes of participation that it offers, in particular to you.

That not incidental, but an essential part of the project, and the project's targets. Because, in the beginning of this 21th century, we cannot find a real future to painting (and to Art, if not to Life globally) if we rejectd the machines. We have to accept them as full parters, and be ready to enjoy that interaction.

You will find in the Home page the links to the diverse participation modes presently offered to you.