The White Matter
In this exhibition, Mounir Fatmi looks at the impact of new technologies on memory, while questioning medium obsolescence. The evolution of technological and scientific progress led to a quick replacement of analog media caught up by digital images in a more and more virtual society. The artist therefore brings back to life anachronistic tools that used to be worshiped, like typewriters and antenna cables, in order to question the revolution of the image and the medium, which profoundly affected our perception of the world and distorted our memory.
The title of the exhibition, 'The White Matter', refers to the white substance present in our brain and responsible for conveying information in the nervous system. This type of tissue is composed of millions of communication cables, each containing one long fiber called axon surrounded by a white substance, the myelin, which facilitates signal transmission. Like cities connected via telephone lines, these white cables connect neurons from one region of the brain to another. mounir fatmi’s white world invites us to immerse ourselves in this white matter, which is constantly evolving, up to the wireless connection system of our hyper-connected society.
According to communication theorist Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), media are the extensions of our senses, of our body. Each medium is like an extension of our brain, like a computer. mounir fatmi is revisiting this idea by proposing an installation made of a multitude of white cables, in reference to the long neuronal fiber extensions that transmit nervous influx. If “the medium is the message”, it is no wonder that mounir fatmi chose to focus his exhibition on the ultimate medium: the cable. Following McLuhan’s statement, the medium shapes the scope of the message and determines the scale of men’s relationships. The medium is therefore more important than the message. And technological progress constantly alters our relationship to the world, our way of thinking and our social behaviors, without encountering any resistance.
Spectators are unsettled by the white cables scattered in the exhibition space. Their eyes get lost in this labyrinth and desperately look for a beginning, a middle and an end. The white on white wall display suggests a disappearance, a “white canvas” or a screen on which spectators can project their own desires, fears and hopes.