January 8, 2018 - Cité Internationale des Arts - We are not the number we think we are
January 8, 2018

Cité Internationale des Arts

Courtesy Cité internationale des arts.

We are not the number we think we are
February 2–3, 2018

Cité Internationale des Arts
18 rue de l'Hôtel de Ville
75180 Cedex 04 Paris

T +33 1 42 78 71 72

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Curated by Mélanie Bouteloup

We are not the number we think we are offers a unique, 36-hour nonstop featuring hundreds of artists, researchers, and thinkers from many geographical and disciplinary backgrounds. At the heart of the project is a focus on diverse groups of people and collectives, temporarily gathered in collaborative spaces to discuss the pressing issues that face our world today. These groups will be hosted in several spaces housed within the Paris Cité internationale des arts, an artist residence dedicated to dialogue between cultures, where visitors are invited to reflect on the present and, together, map paths for the future.

The Cité internationale des arts, in Paris, is designed to be a place where work and learning processes can be made tangible, visible, and audible. Experts from diverse fields (natural and social scientists, artists, curators, philosophers, etc.) will lead a series of sessions that audience members are free to join. Visitors are invited to gather and participate in the construction of new types of experience that question preconceived notions and test new hypotheses on what we know and what we believe. Dialogue between participants will raise the fundamental question of how to invent forms that summon and represent—that activate and mobilize—by allowing constellations of players to work together. Our goal is to imagine a desirable future—a social project rooted in collective initiative.

We are not the number we think we are will depart from Ursula K. Le Guin's collection of short stories The Compass Rose (1982), and explores the realm of fiction in order to create a necessary distance from stark reality, and to thereby better understand the issues of today. These short stories, through their wide variety of themes and subjects, lead us in all directions. They explore fantastic yet probable futures, allowing us to envision other worlds and transform our vision of the world we know. Each story or chosen element—whether a title, an excerpt, or selected words or phrases—will serve as a kind of script, or guide, to navigate the program and to spark discussions among participants, so they may explore different realities together, and build alternatives to the way we live today. As Le Guin has reminded us many times, realism is probably the least suitable means to understanding and describing the incredible realities of our existence: imagination, on the other hand, allows us, better than anything else, to perceive, sympathize and hope. Science and technology, fantasy and science-fiction, have profoundly informed and transformed this era, both as processes by which to intensify reality, and ways to distance ourselves from it. They have also become fantastic resources and points of departure for exploring concepts of identity, alienation, and “the other."

The program will feature various studios transformed into workshops-laboratories for research and creation, run by interdisciplinary collectives that focus on societal questions, continuous lectures on the theme “Converging Futurologies,” artworks by Yaïr Barelli, Jochen Dehn, Otobong Nkanga, and Koki Tanaka commissioned specifically for the event, and many more special features.

An event of the Daniel & Nina Carasso Foundation in partnership with the “arts & sciences” chair founded by the École polytechnique / École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs - PSL / Daniel & Nina Carasso Foundation and the Cité internationale des arts

Production: Bétonsalon – Center for Art and Research and Villa Vassilieff


Steering committee: Samuel Bianchini (EnsAD - PSL), Jean-Marc Chomaz (Ecole polytechnique), Emmanuel Mahé (EnsAD - PSL), Anastassia Makridou-Bretonneau (Daniel & Nina Carasso Foundation), Valérie Pihet (SACRe - PSL) and Bénédicte Alliot (Cité internationale des arts)

Cité Internationale des Arts
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