Cyborgs in the Mist

Stéphane Degoutin et Gwenola Wagon

Film

2011

The film Cyborgs in the Mist takes place in a district of Saint-Denis which concentrates different utopias aimed at transforming the world, and draws a portrait of modern society as a process of atomization. The investigation begins at the Villa Coignet, an abandoned monument to the technique of reinforced concrete, and continues in the Saria meat and bone meal factory, then explores one of the largest data centres in the Ile-de-France region, as well as delivery warehouses and evangelical churches. A group of researchers occupy the Villa Coignet and create the LOPH laboratory, which fights against mankind's programmed obsolescence.

Map of the territory covered by the film, in Saint-Denis, France
Layout plan of the Coignet factory and villa
The Coignet villa in its environment
The Coignet villa
On the door of the church "Love and Truth", in Saint-Denis
François Coignet
Preparation of meat and bone meals
Retaining wall of the villa Coignet
Excerpt from the movie Soylent Green

In 1851, François Coignet sets up a factory in Saint-Denis. He develops a new kind of mortar that becomes as hard as stone agglomerated concrete. To demonstrate its possibilities, he had a villa built entirely in this material : the first house in the world to be built entirely in concrete, as if in a single block – a monument to the modern world in general, and to the northern suburbs in particular.

Perhaps is it precisely because of its symbolic importance – symbolic of a history we do not want to see – that the villa is left in a state of advanced decay. The plaster is peeling off, revealing the raw material of this monument to the universal powder. It is in this place that one hardly notices that the research of the LOPH laboratory will take place.

Acknowledging the inevitable development of robotics and artificial forms of intelligence, the LOPH laboratory experiments with ways of adapting mankind to be able to fight against its planned obsolescence ("Lutte contre l'obsolescence programmée de l'homme" in French). Its aim is to experiment with survival scenarios for when the period of human domination of the planet comes to an end. How can we anticipate this reversal in the evolutionary logic of the species ? How can we adapt to this new environment without too much violence ?

It is essential to anticipate catastrophic scenarios. Teams of academics are involved, as well as science fiction writers and fledgling forms of artificial intelligence.

Explanation of the packet transmission system (found footage)
Excerpt from the movie Soylent Green
On the door of the church "Love and Truth", in Saint-Denis
Pastor Lionel Charles
Eglise évangélique de France, Saint-Denis
Pastor Philippe Ndjoli, Saint-Denis
Facade of the Eglise évangélique de France, Saint-Denis
Found footage of an evangelist dance
François Muzard, architect specialized in data centers
Equinix data center, Saint-Denis
Equinix data center, Saint-Denis
Saint-Denis (Google maps)
Remains of a factory, rue Charles Michels, Saint-Denis

Diffusion

Exposition Reconfiguration des particules, Le bel ordinaire, Pau, 15 janvier - 21 mars 2020

Événement Attentifs ensemble, La Station gare des Mines, Paris, 29 mars 2018

Screening. Synesthésie. Saint-Denis. 2018

Colloque Le sujet digital, Archives Nationales de France, Pierrefitte, 19 novembre 2015

Événement Liturgies urbaines, Espace Paul Ricard, Paris, 25 septembre 2013

New Atlantis. August - September. km temporaer, Berlin, 2013

Exposition Sciences et Fictions, Galerie de Roussan, Paris, 15 mai - 15 juin 2013

Exposition Les espaces d'Abraxas Image de ville. Seconde Nature, Aix-en Provence. 10-30 novembre 2012

Projection Manifestation 2062, Gaîté Lyrique, Paris. 7 février 2012

Festival Accès(s), Pau, 6-9 octobre 2011

Événement Forum des utopies, Musée des arts et métiers, Paris, 23-26 juin 2011

Exposition LMQTP, Synesthésie, Saint-Denis, 20 mai - 16 juillet 2011

Annexes

“Cyborgs dans la brume” (scénario du film) in Marie-Christine Bureau et Michel Lallement, Forum des utopies. Le travail augmenté, Burozoïque, coll. Le hangar des utopies, 2015.

Credits

Film, color, sound, 46'

Written, directed and edited by Gwenola Wagon et Stéphane Degoutin

Voice : Stéphane Piveteau

Image : Marianne Tardieu

With : Lionel Charles, Laetitia Giorgino, Nicolas Maisonneuve, Nathalie Matter, François Muzard, Philippe Ndjoli, Michael Wiss, The Singularity University, Saria Industrie

Music : "Feuillets d'Hypnos" by Patrick Fradet/Orkestronica

Thanks to Dora Stanczel

Production : Synesthésie / Conseil Général du 93.