Dark Systems Tours

Pierre Cassou-Noguès, Stéphane Degoutin, Arnaud Regnauld and Gwenola Wagon

Tours, performances, books


We've read about flying ships, conquering outer space, androids, zombies and post-apocalyptic ruins. But none of the countless science fiction stories of the 20th century envisaged that technological innovation would focus on warehouses. That deploying logistics centres would make it possible to become the world's richest man. That the backbone of our way of life would be data centres and the cables that connect them.

Yet it is infrastructure in its most prosaic and material form - data centres, logistics warehouses, networks of self-service scooters, automated cars... - that forms the basis of the "cloud society". The term "cloud society" refers to the illusion that we live in a giant cloud from which information, products, ready-made meals, drivers, potential relationships fall as if by magic... At the click of a mouse, all information, all things, all people are accessible. Every wish is fulfilled, every action optimised.

Of course, in reality, this cloud is based on immense and undoubtedly material infrastructures. But these infrastructures remain largely invisible. The first reason for this invisibility is undoubtedly the fact that the subject is not considered to be very attractive: it is a subject for specialists, whose implications are not obvious from a non-technical point of view. Technical systems are complex. Sites are often far from residential areas, on the outskirts of cities, inaccessible and unspectacular. Finally, voluntary strategies of offuscation and/or greenwashing complete this dissimulation.

With the word dark/dark we mean the other side of the coin. This series of researches aims at the "autopsy" of technical systems. They use eclectic methods: cartographies, softwares, tours, performances, situated narratives, etc.

Dark Systems Tours gathers research on the hidden sides of the net (Vincent Bonnefille, Mario Santamaria), of finance (RYBN), artificial intelligences (Guillaume Boissinot, Judith Deschamp, Pierre Cassou-Noguès, Arnaud Regnauld), of free floating locomotion (Raffard-Roussel), kitchens (Guillem Serrahima), liminal spaces (Nicolas Bailleul, Bruce Begout, Hortense Boulais, Tania Ruiz), satellites (Angelica Ceccato), extractivism (Disnovation, Marie Lechner, Clémence Seurat), of plant migrations (Aniara Rodado), telephone marketing (Diane Rabreau), cam worker platforms (Jean Gilbert), image banks in micro stock (Alberto Romele, Stéphane Degoutin et Gwenola Wagon), etc.

The research group Dark Systems Tours is a laboratory workshop that proposes investigations into invisible technical systems. The aim is to explore obscure systems, logistical infrastructures, the hidden workings of the cloud society, and globalised infrastructures and power networks. It is also about exploring the systems of invisibility as such.

Dark Systems Tours works like a travel agency. Each tour takes the form of a conference-visit in situ and adopts a specific means of transport (on foot, by bus, by public transport, by electric vehicle...). The tours can be led by artists, sociologists, writers, curators, journalists, philosophers, (h)activists...

RYBN, The Great Offshore, Espace multimédia Gantner. Photo: Wilfried B, Flickr
Matthieu Raffard et Mathilde Roussel, Fishing with a magnet, 2023
Diane Rabreau, Diane Goes for You


Raffard-Roussel, Workshop-performance of collective fishing, March 29, 2023. https://eur-artec.fr/evenements/pecher-a-laimant/ http://www.raffard-roussel.com/fr/activites-pecher/

Dark Systems Tour, lecture-performance, as part of TigrOU, Poetry as intellectual technology: a collective writing, 6 April 2023 https://www.tigrou.art/

The Colloquium Dark Systems Tour, will take place from November 23 to 25, 2023 on the Césure site, Plateau Urbain and Yes We Camp, former Sorbonne-Nouvelle faculty, as well as in various places for performative Tours.



Organisation Pierre Cassou-Noguès, Stéphane Degoutin, Arnaud Regnauld et Gwenola Wagon.

The scientific team Pierre Cassou-Noguès, Angelica Ceccato, Nicolas Bailleul, Guillaume Boissinot, Vincent Bonnefille, Hortense Boulais, Stéphane Degoutin, Judith Deschamp, Marie Lechner, Baptiste Loreaux, Raffard-Roussel, Aniara Rodado, Tania Ruiz and Gwenola Wagon.

This project is supported by the University Research School (EUR) ArTeC https://eur-artec.fr/ Laboratory for Studies and Research on Contemporary Logics of Philosophy, LLCP, EA 4008 TransCrit, English Critical Transfers Theory Experimentation Arts Media and Design (TEAMeD), EA 4010 AIAC