Picture Elements Explorer
Lucien Bitaux (FR)
Picture Elements Explorer

In The Writing of Stones, Roger Caillois suggests that to split a stone and make its heart visible is to access a primitive image of the cosmos and reveal a parallel universe*.

In order to perceive cosmic dimensions that are invisible to the naked eye, we dig up the earth to extract a dust that is essential for digital photography: silicon. This semiconductor, used massively to manufacture instruments for observatories and space telescopes, is thought to come directly from stellar explosions, the supernovae**.

A cycle is therefore formed between the particles we collect on Earth and the stars we want to see: we have to dig up the soil to find grains of stars that allow us to image suns.

The transformation of the universe itself into a mining resource is bringing about a change in the state of cosmic stones. They are gradually losing their aura as quasi-imaginary objects and becoming industrial commodities in the same way as earthly stones.

Nadir, Picture Elements Explorer, is an instrument, a quasi-camera, a kind of space probe. A composite rock is exploited to form images. The machine then tries to reveal the paradoxes that structure astronomical imagery; between the celestial surrealities and the mineral materialities of the representations of space; between inevitable excessive extraction and a poetry of the elements that traces a path linking the earth's core and the cosmic microwave background.

* Roger Caillois, The Writing of Stones (1970). French edition reprinted in La Lecture des pierres, Paris: Éditions Xavier Barral, 2014, p.315.
** NASA, Exploding Stars Make Key Ingredient in Sand, Glass, 16 November 2018 -

Lucien Bitaux
Lucien Bitaux France
Promotion Jonas Mekas

Born in 1995, Lucien Bitaux is the creator of Scoposcopy, a discipline that seeks to represent dimensions beyond our perception. His approach is based on making his own instruments. Since 2020, he is working on a thesis in artistic creation co-surpervised by Nathalie Delbard and Melik Ohanian placing astronomical visualizations and contemporary photographic experiments in a common iconographic field: exploratory imagery. At exhibitions and conferences, he discusses these subjects many artists and scientists such as Joan Fontcuberta and astrophysicist Jean-Philippe Uzan.

    • Centrale Lille L’École centrale de Lille (Centrale Lille, EC-Lille) est l'une des cinq plus anciennes écoles d'ingénieurs de France dont les anciens élèves sont cofondateurs de la fédération des associations et sociétés françaises d'ingénieurs diplômés, parmi les 205 écoles d'ingénieurs françaises accréditées au 1er septembre 2018 à délivrer un diplôme d'ingénieur2.
    • Eindhoven University of Technology  - Deptartement of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry L'université de technologie d'Eindhoven, est un institut de technologie fondé en 1956 et situé à Eindhoven, aux Pays-Bas.
    • Le Fresnoy - Studio national des arts contemporains, Tourcoing Le Fresnoy - Studio national des arts contemporains est né de la volonté du ministère de la Culture et de la Communication d’implanter dans le nord de la France, un établissement supérieur d’enseignement artistique d’un type nouveau, pôle d’excellence d’envergure nationale et internationale, dont les références furent exprimées par quelques formules telles que « un IRCAM des arts plastiques » ou encore « une villa Médicis high-tech ».

Sa pédagogie, principalement fondée sur la production d’œuvres de toute sorte dont le point commun est l’intégration de techniques audiovisuelles professionnelles, en fait un lieu de production, d’expérimentation et de diffusion totalement inédit.