Absences is an intervention project that involves electronic devices installed in outdoor environments. Taking shape at the frontier of new media and environmental art, it proposes a meditation on solitude and association, interaction and adaptation, natural and artificial, biological and inanimate. Each intervention consists in the creation and installation of autonomous electronic devices in various ecosystems. These artificial agents act within their specific environment. The project is created as an ongoing, residency-based process which was largely site-specific, each context contributing to the conceptual and technical development of the work.
The project consists in a series of five experimental outdoor interventions, produced between 2008 and 2011 in different residencies around the globe. Each intervention of the series seeks to integrate an autonomous, solar-powered electronic agent into a nonhuman ecosystem. These agents try to adapt to their environment in order to survive, meet their own needs, achieve their own goals, fulfill their own desires. They thus work the opposite of traditional technologies (which try to use nature in order to satisfy human needs). The constraints imposed by the nature of the work and the methodology (electronics, small budgets, residencies, nomadism, energy self-sufficiency) create a situation where the technology is always in an inferiority relationship with its environment.
This adaptive activity between the agents and their environment is mirrored in the research-creation process itself, each intervention being openly determined by the residency context in which they are created. The research-creation process itself is duly documented in pictures, schemas, sketches, notes, text and video. The project also relies on a set of constraints specific to work in residency and thus favors low-fi, open-source and DIY approaches over high-end, proprietary solutions.