Camera Obscura
Amazon safe, drill, analog paper framed
Variable dimension

Performative installation featuring an Amazon home safe, immerses the performer in a meticulous task within the safe—methodically drilling a hole. A sheet of sensitive photographic paper is display inside. The paper is capturing the result, a photograph of the performer. This black box becomes a metaphor for photography in our digital era, drawing bridges between the camera obscura—a darkened room with a small hole at one side through which an image is projected onto a wall opposite the hole—and our relationship with visual media within the digital society. It prompts reflection on the ways in which our perception of security and privacy may be compromised in the pursuit of capturing and sharing images. The project sheds light on the thin line between technology and human expression. It invites us to consider our place as both creators and subjects in a world where the boundaries of image-making and privacy are continually redefined.


Various Gorilla Suits 2023
Eleven prints and one mirror
Inkjet Glossy Print
Chrome framed

Selfies of a human in gorilla suit, as though this human is trying on masks or inhabiting different personas. The compulsion to capture oneself is real, the necessity of showing oneself and being looked at is undeniable. 

Primitive Action 2023
Site specific video performance

Video looped with sound

Beamer, screen, loud speakers

A gorilla charging towards a camera. You are in the room were the video was actually shoot. The anxiety intensifies once you realise that the gorilla cannot escape the confines of this strange photographic captivity, because the camera holds all the power. Is watching still enjoyable when the one being watched is aware of being watched?
Video performance

Dog Stereo Cat2023
Duration: 3:28:20

Flightcase, slideshow, microphone, speakers, amplifier, beamer

Based on 12,500 images of dogs and cats used to teach artificial intelligence to distinguish between these two animals. Every second, an image will appear on the screen for the duration of a single frame. The performer will attempt to recognise the subject each time, thus acting on the boundary between human intuition and machine learning and questioning the very nature of knowledge and recognition.
Live performance

White box, neons, plinth, book, screens, speakers

White Cell
1498 pages

Videos looped with sound
AAAAH : 00:30:00
Blackdot : 00:06:27
Eye Cleaning : 00:04:26

Installation of a large white box lit by 20 neons lights hanging on the upper wall. Inside the box, is presenting a large white book that collects 727 of the 3,000 self-portraits that the artist took in two months. The photographer’s self-imposed rules for taking these pictures were: “I am inside the box, I am dressed in white, I am barefoot and I can only release the shutter.” Container is a project about alienation in the relationship between the photographer and the apparatus. The camera is a black box in a white cube. The rules are the inputs and the images the outputs.These playful and at times disturbing self-portraits are a homage to Fluxus, the work of 1970s performance artists such as Vito Acconci and Bruce Nauman and a cruel reminder of our constant and exhausting compulsion to use photography to prove we exist.
Installation, book, videos

Colony of Messor Barbarus, Plexiglass Box, print on edible paper and ink, water, seeds.

Performative ecosystem that encompasses humans, machines, and animals. It delves into the intricate dynamics of a colony of ants engaged in a meticulous task within a framed installation: precisely cutting out an image of a coin from a human hand. This tableau serves as a metaphor for the multifaceted processes of image segmentation and the evolving nature of work in our digital era. Drawing bridges between the 18th-century Mechanical Turk, a deceptive automaton mimicking human chess-playing, and the Amazon Mechanical Turk, a platform facilitating microtasking for training autonomous systems, Crowdsourcing, in its expanded scope, becomes a critique of our collective behaviour within digital society. Display our unconscious contributions to the labor for Big Tech companies, prompting contemplation on our digital interactions and roles in a technologically driven world. The project provocatively challenges viewers to reassess their involvement in digital ecosystems, urging reflection on the complex processes concealed behind seemingly simple tasks. By emphasising the parallels between human, machine, and ant labor, it invites us to consider our place in a world where the lines between species and technologies blur.


Note on work
Fujiflex print mounted on aluminium box

A hole in a metallic tube, a text emerges on the back, not intentionally placed, revealing the artist’s profound reflection on his experiences working for Amazon Mechanical Turk.The image an emotional journey within the digital workforce. The metallic tube, with its industrial aesthetic, takes on symbolic significance, representing the rigid and often dehumanizing structures of online labor platforms. The hole in the tube serves as a poignant focal point, suggesting a breach or rupture in the seamless facade of automated work.The text inscribed on the image offers a raw and honest glimpse into the artist’s emotions during his engagement with Amazon Mechanical Turk, a complex blend of frustration, dehumanization, and a paradoxical sense of liberation. It prompts viewers to reflect on the blurred boundaries between human and machine, the impact of digital platforms on individual autonomy, and the harsh realities of unpaid labor in the gig economy.


Selfie Rats
camera booth, rats, prints

Based on the experiment analysis of behaviour developed by psychologist Dr. Burrhus Frederic Skinner in the 1950’s, Selfie
Rats deploys a three-stages experiment with a group of rodents. Trained with a sugar distribution system connected to a camera, a group of rats produces images of themselves by interacting with the photographic apparatus. At first driven by the trained compulsion to eat sugar, they eventually just playfully snap pictures. By echoing addictive behaviour engineered by social media companies to keep users captive, Lignier humorously addresses what cultural theorist Yves Citton calls ecology of attention, a coercive system, which commodifies our attentiveness with a mechanism based on sheer pleasure.


Decisive Moment
Inkjet print in black frame

A gorilla clutching a camera, seemingly possessing an innate understanding of its purpose. According to communication theory from the mid-20th century, media devices were already thought to become extensions of our bodies. But could we speculate that photography has become instinctual? Decisive
refear to the news stories about monkeys stumbling upon cameras and taking pictures — I’m sure, it’s because photography has long integrated itself into our natural condition, it’s in our primitive pre-human subconscious.


Fun City
Inkjet print on blueback

Image of nine individuals performing a meticulous task: placing coins in a machine. This tableau reflects on our behaviour in the digital era, drawing bridges between Skinner’s concept of operant conditioning applied to slot machines and to social media platforms. Highlighting the unconscious behaviours designed by Big Tech companies, sparking contemplation on our digital interactions and roles in a technologically driven world. The image provocatively challenges viewers to reassess their behaviour in digital ecosystems, prompting reflection on the complex processes concealed behind social platforms. It invites us to consider our place as users.

All rights reserved 2023 © Augustin Lignier