Dark Systems Tours

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

Lectures, tours, performances and game



There are countless descriptions of flying ships, space conquest, androids, zombies and post-apocalyptic ruins. But none of the countless science fiction stories produced in the 20th century envisaged that technological innovation would focus on storage sheds. That the deployment of logistics platforms would make it possible to become the richest human being in the world. That data processing centres and the cables that connect them would form the backbone of our way of life. That tropical islands would disrupt global finance. That artificial intelligences would rival our imagination. That free-floating cars would parasitise cities. That our meals would be prepared in dark kitchens. That the rise of telecommunications would confine us to our homes. That online data processing would mobilise millions of teleworkers.

And yet it is infrastructure, at its most prosaic and/or material - data centres, logistics warehouses, mines, networks of self-service scooters, automated cars, image banks, booking platforms, freight containers, satellites, etc. - that forms the foundation that makes the "cloud society" possible. The expression "cloud society" refers to the illusion we have of living in a huge cloud, from which information, products, work, entertainment, ready meals, drivers, potential relationships... All information, everything, everyone is just a click away. Every wish is fulfilled, every action optimised.

Of course, in reality, this cloud is based on immense and undoubtedly material infrastructures. But these remain largely invisible. The first reason for this invisibility is certainly that the subject is not considered very attractive. Its implications, other than technical ones, are not immediately obvious, so it is left to the specialists. Technical systems are complex. The sites themselves are often far from residential areas, scattered on the outskirts of major cities, inaccessible and unspectacular. Finally, deliberate strategies of offuscation and/or greenwashing complete this concealment.

To avoid leaving engineers, technicians and managers with a monopoly on these issues, the Voyages dans les systèmes obscurs (Dark Systems Tours) conference/workshop/laboratory proposes investigations into technical systems that have been rendered invisible. By the word "obscure" (dark), we mean "behind the scenes". The aim is to explore the hidden workings of the cloud society: the logistical infrastructures, the globalised networks of power, and the systems of invisibilisation as such.

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 Dark Systems Tour conference, will take place from November 23 to 25, 2023 at La Générale, 39 rue Gassendi, 75014 Paris.



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.

With Nicolas Bailleul, Guillaume Boissinot, Clotilde Bômont, Vincent Bonnefille, Hortense Boulais-Ifrène, Pierre Cassou-Noguès, Angelica Ceccato, Raphaël Costa and Julien Prévieux, Stéphane Degoutin et Aymeric Duriez, Judith Deschamps, Mathias Fuchs, Lorena Lisembard, Baptiste Loreaux, Niccolò Monti, Antonin Premillieu, Diane Rabreau and Audrey Carmes, Arnaud Regnauld, Tania Ruiz et Maria Hellström, Raffard-Roussel, Mario Santamaría, Clémence Seurat, 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