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Reflecting on the collaboration between the Mint project team and Le Fresnoy

Monade - © Alexandre Maubert

The MINT team, which works on methods and tools for gestural interaction, joined forces with Alexandre Maubert, an artist from the Studio National des Arts Contemporains Le Fresnoy, to work on the "Monade" piece. Laurent Grisoni, Mint project team-leader, tells us more about this adventure.

What made you accept this collaboration?

Laurent Grisoni: Today’s new generation of adults were born into the world of digital technology. This concerns all areas of the population. We therefore wanted to get closer to the artistic community, to work with them on installations presenting issues that are related to aspects the team is working on. It’s about promoting MINT's research work, and also facing new technological challenges. Furthermore, these collaborations are an opportunity for us to rise to challenges that are of real interest with regard to our research work.

Have your colleagues been surprised by this collaboration?

Laurent Grisoni: Working with people from "outside" the scientific community generally poses the risk of teams losing their focus, which is why the reaction to this type of project is frequently one of caution. Nevertheless, attitudes have begun to change. Even if the work process is difficult to implement, collaborating with the field of digital art is highly motivating. Furthermore, projects that produce technologically convincing results bring a certain dynamic to other fields of application, which helps justify these projects. Past projects also help legitimize future collaborations.

What difficulties did you come up against with Monade?

Laurent Grisoni: A research team needs to adopt a knowledge-building logic, which does not necessarily correspond to the artist’s rationale. A compromise therefore needs to be found between the artist’s approach and the team’s work. For this reason, it is essential to explicitly distinguish between what is feasible, without presenting any risk, and what might be possible (and therefore not entailing a concrete commitment). Likewise, it is important to make oneself clearly understood when the project is not feasible. This requires scientists to make a significant effort with regards to translating technological terminology. But this is an exercise that we are not often faced with.

Do you have any other projects underway?

Laurent Grisoni: There’s a project with the music group, EZ3kiel. This is also a project relating to gestural interaction, but we can’t say any more about it for the time being... a concert is being planned for a date between now and next summer.

Keywords: Laurent Grisoni Monade Inria Lille - Nord Europe research center Mint project-team