Julien Bayle

Julien Bayle

, France

About Julien Bayle

When landing into artists’ hands machines, particularly those designed to create visual and audio artifacts, become magical objects, ‘charged’ entities…

While brushes or violins allow us to guess – through their shape and history – what may come out of their handling, even before painters or musicians have yet grasped them (one visualizes bristles dipped into the paint, one anticipates a mark on the canvas, strings vibrating or wood echoing); laptops or modular synthesizers, on the contrary, work the other way round. The potential they hold remains totally invisible to us, dissimulated under their shells. Whether on hold, flashing or buzzing slightly, they are waiting…

Mystery is maintained as the performance begins and the sound piece kicks off. For an audience who is not familiar with this kind of gear, these connected and luminous cases may just look like medical or office equipment. As for the artist’s action and posture, just in front of the screen, they may seem like those of an industrial assembly line worker or a trader in a dealing room: he presses keys and manipulates a mouse while gazing at the screen.

And suddenly, beyond any mechanical rationality or other process of engineering, something emerges. It contacts all of our senses and perceptive abilities: beyond sound and sight. Vibrations and rhythms interact with our organism as a whole: the lowest and most dense frequencies resonate inside our stomach while the rhythmical instability – whether planned or resulting from chance processes – comes in to contradict and provoke the various natural rhythms that inhabit our bodies.

To locate Julien Bayle’s work, one could refer to history, to Marinetti and Russolo’s Futurism. One could mention about Duchamp, think of Rauschenberg and Klüver who, when founding Experiment in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) back in the 60s, placed artists and engineers on an equal footing. One could call on artists such as Carsten Nicolai, Ryoji Ikeda or Haroon Mirza (to mention just a few major influences) and note that obviously Julien Bayle’s work fits in the line of a beaconed artistic history and aesthetics path which, since emerging at the beginning of the 20th century, have been closely linked to the technical and industrial developments of our western societies and capitalist economy. One could mention its dual perspective, both scientific and artistic, and try to understand how biology and computer sciences feed into and interfere with his practice. Alright… but what else?

While all of the elements mentioned above allow us to better understand and define his work, it is also important to know that Julien Bayle comes from Marseille (France). That may seem anecdotal (indeed, that probably is indeed!) and not necessarily perceptible through his work, and yet… Wandering across Marseille means being in several places at once, in one movement going across multiple strata and geographical, historic, sensorial spaces that apparently bump into one another, question one another, contradict and complete themselves. It means venturing on a fragile line between chaos and structure, between a specific area and the multiple worlds to which it belongs and through which it exists. It means finding an exit, a center, an axis, within an archipelago without center or edges, constantly re-configured by new inputs, unpredictable breaches…
From a city’s form to the piece’s format, this aesthetics of network, mutation, fragility, polycentrism and ubiquity provides many keys to understand his work.