Victor Villafagne

You have the right to remain silent - Installation - 2023

présentée dans le cadre de l'exposition Panorama 25


You have the right to remain silent is an interactive sound installation in which the aesthetics of espionage and surveillance are taken to the extreme. Rodin's Gate of Hell meets the seven trumpets of the apocalypse under

the aegis of the power organs of a paranoid Big Brother. From a metal cage resembling a medieval torture instrument hang 55 public address horn speakers. Like a defensive and non-lethal sound weapon, the sound guns form a sphere folded in on itself, projecting sound in all directions to construct a complex psycho-acoustic space. Radar and video surveillance systems detect presence and calculate the distance to individuals and their movements. Facial detection and movement tracking are used by the system to assess the intensity of its response to any intrusion.

The piece constructs a paranoid system that compares the military sound techniques and devices of 20th century societies of control with the systems of manipulation and influence of our present: video streams from social networks such as YouTube, Instagram and TikTok are fed constantly into the system, where they are transformed by an artificial intelligence called Rave.

Trained on recordings of propaganda and nationalist anthems, as well as on datasets of explosions, gunfire and screams, and on the functional music developed by the MUZAK company and the remixes and top hits that accompany the entire video stream on social networks, artificial intelligence reconstructs sounds and broadcasts them like a pan-acoustic hydra. A GPT chatbot listens, then transcribes the conversations into text before responding to the exchanges in a synthesised voice called Spectre. This concatenation of authoritarian and even fascistic aesthetics questions our attraction to and fantasies about brutal forms and the aesthetics of death. Like the black eagle that lingers on from totalitarian regimes, we are witnessing the advent of a world without meaning, where sometimes history repeats itself and at others it does not.

Victor Villafagne

Victor Villafagne was born in Mont-de-Marsan in 1995 and lives and works in France. He develops sculptures in order to "resolve his own cinematic obsessions" by bringing into play relationships

of force and energy in forms that always generate an intimate relationship to sound. He describes his works as "energy batteries of awareness, taking the form of technological fossils": living entities that have a life of their own, before and after passing through his hands. Perceptual, psycho-acoustic and other cognitive effects play a role in the viewer's interaction with the artist and his work. Victor Villafagne is currently training at Le Fresnoy -- Studio national des arts contemporains where he presented his sculpture project *Near Life Experience *in 2022. His work has been shown at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Paris (2021), the Creux de l'Enfer in Thiers (2020) and the Czech Centre in Paris (2019, 2020).

In collaboration with Flora Bouteille, he has developed projects at Les Subsistances in Lyon and at the Lyon Biennale (2019), and at the Salon de Montrouge (2019). Together they also conceived the radio series "Le palais hermétique de la mémoire", the first episode of which was presented at the Ars Electronica festival. The continuation of the series was broadcast by the Centre d'Art Contemporain d'Ivry-le Crédac (2021).


Le Fresnoy - Studio national des arts contemporains, Tourcoing