Inelson, élève au lycée Jeanne d'Arc, Rouen, 2021
Capture d'écran du Salon Discord, 2021
Maïwenn, élève au lycée Jeanne d'Arc, Rouen, 2021
Capture d'écran du Salon Discord, 2021

Marion Balac

Discord room

What is digital residency? It is to be imagined, no doubt. Marion Balac is a French artist working between Barcelona, Clermont-Ferrand and Marseille. She uses the computer as a creative tool and the flow of the Internet as material. Instead of the antagonism “virtual / real”, she prefers the terms “online / offline” to define the places where our lives are played out today. For a few months, students from the first year of the plastic arts option and their teacher regularly joined Marion Balac in an online space set up for the project. In this digital “living room” opened on the Discord platform, they saw and discussed, in no particular order, works by Camille Henrot, Elisabeth Caravella, Christian Marclay, Émilie Brout and Maxime Marion… The question of screen space was raised, the limits of its frame, the superimpositions and infinite associations of its windows. The questions of construction, narration, intention and induced meaning followed. From these explorations from the living room, they sketched landscapes, volatile scenes retained by the screen capture, before disappearing.

Marion Balac’s digital residency was carried out during the first semester of 2021 with the pedagogical collaboration of Laura Bernard, art teacher and the financial participation of the Lycée Jeanne d’Arc, Rouen.

“Paradoxically, and thanks to the virtual artist residency set up by the Photographic Centre, a real encounter between the first-year art students of the Jeanne d’Arc high school and Marion Balac, the artist, may have taken place EVEN MORE. The specificity of the exchange platform, originally dedicated to exchanges between gamers, and proposed by Marion, worked as a lever, creating the desired interactivity between the artist, the students and the teacher. At the same time a place for discovering new visual forms based on the exploitation of the digital ecosystem (Dekstop movies, tutorials…), and for anchoring works that are already more patrimonial (R.Campus; C.Marclay), a place for live and deferred exchanges, in a guided and/or informal way, a gallery of students’ work and the “archives” of this meeting, the virtual exhibition proved to be rich in pedagogical potential… beyond my expectations. In terms of content, the exchange makes sense: the medium of communication is also that of Marion’s artistic research. It questions the daily life of the students in a different way, reveals it to them in a different way, and allows them to take a full and distanced place in it. From an artist’s residency…that’s the best we can expect.

Comments by Laura Bernard, art teacher at the Jeanne d’Arc high school in Rouen.

Salons, Marion Balac, video featuring the students’ creations, 2021.