Nicolas Bailleul — Visual artist

The Loot Bag Theory of Fiction Copier



2023Exposition collective

Collective exhibition for the 2023 edition of Ars Electronica.

Featuring Hortense Boulais-Ifrène, Nicolas Bailleul, Angelica Ceccato, Lorena Lisembard, and Vincent Bonnefille.

The question of truth in contemporary times leads us to consider issues of power ownership in a globalized, stacked, and suffocating world: who owns the earth, what circulates on it (information as well as goods), to create the big narratives in which we live in? Through practices of gleaning on the Internet as a renewed attention to the small, the leftovers or the details of what lies behind a décor imposed as a truth without alternative, our proposal is articulated as a manner of faire avec (Citton, 2020). Faire avec can be translated to “doing with”. It implies a methodology in action within a system, and this is where the word “loot” appeared in our discussions. From simple screws to legendary weapons, “loots” generally refer to items and rewards players can collect in video games and are often at the root of the value system. In that sense, we wish to question objects or data collection by becoming collectors ourselves. In the gesture of the gleaner or the ragpicker, there is the action of bending down to keep what is left (grains of wheat after harvest, if we focus on Millet's painting, for example), but also of giving another life to discarded or obsolete objects. With five artists and researchers from Paris 8 University, we have imagined the exhibition The Looting Bag Theory of Fiction, a direct reference to Ursula K. Le Guin’s essay The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction in which she suggests that bags and containers instead of weapons are the first survival objects in human history (Le Guin, 1986). In the hollow of our bags, you will find the looted object we have gathered and want to redeploy outside of their original territories to draw alternative paths within an imposed system of truth.