Plastir Number 63


Maria Giulia DONDERO is Director of Research at the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (F.R.S.-FNRS) and teaches visual semiotics at the University of Liege. She is the author of four books: Les Langages de l’image. De la peinture aux Big Visual Data (Hermann, Paris, 2020) – an expanded version of which has been published as The Language of Images. The Forms and the Forces, Springer, 2020 -, Des images à problèmes. Le sens du visuel à l’épreuve de l’image scientifique (with J. Fontanille, Pulim, 2012; English translation: The Semiotic Challenge of Scientific Images. A Test Case for Visual Meaning, Legas Publishing, 2014); Sémiotique de la photographie (with P. Basso Fossali, Pulim, 2011) and Le sacré dans l’image photographique. Études sémiotiques (Hermès, 2009). Co-founder and director of the journal Signata, she has been Visiting Professor at several universities including UNESP (São Paulo), the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Mexico City, the University of Panthéon-Assas, Paris II and at Celsa Sorbonne University. She is also Secretary General of the International Association for Visual Semiotics (IAVS) since 2015 and Vice President of the Association Française de Sémiotique (AFS). You can find her numerous publications on the FNRS website: In this issue of PLASTIR, we present the first pages of her book The Language of Images that deals with two fundamental issues in the semiotics of the image. The first is the relationship between image and observer (« how does one look at an image? ») transposing the theory of enunciation formulated in linguistics over to the visual field and aiming to clarify the gains made in contemporary visual semiotics relative to the semiology of Barthes and Benveniste. The second issue addressed is the relation between the forces, forms and materiality of the images. How do different physical mediums (pictorial, photographic and digital) influence visual forms? How does materiality affect the generativity of forms? The theories cited in the original book are tested on a variety of corpora for analysis, including both paintings and photographs, taken from traditional as well as contemporary sources in a variety of social sectors (art, science, advertising). Finally, semiotic analysis will be contrasted with the automatic quantitative analysis of very large collections of images, such as the « Media Visualization » analyses proposed by Lev Manovich in the field of Computer Science to evaluate the impact of computational analysis of visual forms.


Isabelle ELIZEON is a researcher in art sciences, performing arts, transdisciplinarity and arts-sciences, dramaturge and director. Co-founder of the TranSborder laboratory, she is a lecturer in performing arts and educational sciences at the Université Catholique de l’Ouest (UCO) in Angers and Brest. She is an associate researcher at the LLCP (Paris 8) and at the HCTI (UBO), and is a member of the CIRET. She is also conducting research on the dance of the choreographer Bernardo Montet, supported by the CND (Centre National de la Danse). Fabien RIERA, also co-founder of the TranSborder laboratory, is an anthropologist, researcher in sustainability sciences, transdisciplinarity and arts-sciences. He is an active member of CIRET and a researcher associated with the HCTI where he is a lecturer at the University of Western Brittany (UBO) in Anthropology of Art and Research-Creation in Art and Anthropocene. He is also a consultant-trainer in strategic development in the fields of social/medico-social and sustainable management of coastal socio-ecosystems. In the previous issue of PLASTIR (N°62, 09/2012), Isabelle Elizéon addressed the writing of multiplicity from a transdisciplinary poetic perspective. In this issue, she presents an in-depth joint research project with Fabien Riera within the TransBorder laboratory on the nature of environments, in which the main lines of research and the process of transdisciplinary elaboration are described step by step. For the authors, the aim is to highlight, make visible and intelligible the main issues of hybridisation and cross-fertilisation that preside over the development of an open and adaptive methodology as the keystone of our approach. Their common objective being, in fine, to make manifest and to experience the complexity of the links and the dynamics of relations that govern and narrate the multiplicity of the milieu through three key concepts: Geopoetics, Biopoetics and Anthropoetics.


Bernard TROUDE is a sociologist, PhD in Art Sciences from the University of Paris I and researcher in several laboratories of the University of Sorbonne Descartes Paris V including the CEAQ, general engineer, professor in Design Sciences and Industrial Aesthetics, co-director of « Re-penser l’ordinaire ». He regularly publishes in various journals such as Ganymède, Cahiers de l’idiotie (Montreal), Cahiers européens de l’imaginaire, Arts et Sciences, Plastir. He recently joined the University Laboratory of Cognitive Sciences in San Francisco where he contributes to the General Medical Journal of Normal (a city near Chicago, USA) which brings together all the university medical editions, including Ethic, Medicine & Public Health. Continuing his investigations into the thought and symbolism of the number 2, the workings of which he has described in detail in three previous Plastir: « Symbolism and difference of the number two » in Plastir 59, 12/2020, « When the number two (2) is a hazard » was published in Plastir 55, 09/2019 and the first one in Plastir 51, 09/2018, Bernard Troude takes us in this issue of Plastir into the exploration and uses of the error.  He summarises his approach as follows: « Of course, the two most well known errors are the legal and the medical, each with an intermediate grey area in the assessment of its credibility. It is clear and absolute that it is the masters who decide and the experts are only charged with providing elements as objective as possible in order to specify the orientation of a decision to be taken. In this respect, texts where other errors belong to the scientific fields like those of Einstein who, like many scientists, obtained the publication of them. However, for some, the errors become substantial and crucial because they instruct on an evolution as well as the related reflection that at the same time opens the way to a different scientific concept. The errors of the scientists finally place in a new light the incentives that present research. The limits of understanding being so far pushed back, it is difficult to apprehend the situation if the views of the mind written on paper, the introduction is now made in a digital chain of artificial intelligence. Descartes himself is one of those authors who based studies on errors by making them plausible and above all expressed in the truth. Jacques Blamont explains all this in his opus  »Le chiffre et le songe ». In the preface, this author denounces an obviousness: the error of a first appreciation on a state of all mechanics establishing that all movement (of bodies without precision of these) is due to a cause; which prevented the birth of the states of machinismo whereas all change due to a true cause becomes the fundamental principle of dynamics. From this moment appears the interval (an intermezzo) between a situation resulting from a false concept (an error) and the discovery of a fundamental idea become « scientific truth ». It is interesting to analyze this in-between space. The sociologist or the psychologist or the health personnel question the work of the right to act and dissect the logic of the operations discerning rather than an ancient dualism which is the one of the relations of the best-seller and his interlocutor, more precisely when he refines his reflexive-critical look with the one of the mediations”.


Karine BONNEVAL is a French visual artist based in the Centre-Val de Loire region. Her work focuses on plant otherness and the complex and specific interactions that link humans and plants. In her sculptures and installations, we are immersed in a world of organic forms with a strong fictional power, where hybridisations of vocabulary and techniques go hand in hand with the marriage of art and science. She works in collaboration with different teams of scientists, trying to find imperfect and poetic translations of ways to interact differently with non-human beings. What Baptiste Morizot, in his recent book « Manières d’être vivant » calls « inter-species diplomacy ». Web: Eric BADEL is an INRAE researcher in the MECA (Integrative Tree BioMECAnics) team of the UMR PIAF (Integrated Physiology and Physiology of Trees in a Fluctuating Environment) directed by Bruno Moulia in Clermont Ferrand. This is an interdisciplinary team of Integrative Bio-mechanics associating biomechanists, ecophysiologists and molecular physiologists. In particular, they study the phenomenon of mechanoperception of deformations and inclinations induced by gravity, wind or handling. The physical and biological mechanisms involved are analysed from the scale of the cell to that of the complete 3D architecture of the tree, with a strong concern for multi-scale integration and a constant back and forth between experimentation and modelling. Vertimus is an art & science project between both researchers. It emerges as follows : « We become, we turn. Into what? Into whom? Too early to say and too early to ask. The first person plural of the Latin verb (to change, to become, to turn, to revolve, to exchange, to translate, to alter, to reverse) is, for me, the basis, like a turntable for playing old vinyl records. How can research in plant ecophysiology feed into an art project, and how can scientific research be enhanced by an artist’s visits to a laboratory? Vertimus looks back at an ongoing collaboration between a visual artist and a researcher in tree biomechanics. From a dialogue between the two actors of the collaboration, it is a question of the plant perceptions of the world which surrounds it and of the questioning around the possible sharing of its time and its sensations with us, humans, through contemporary art installations.

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