“EXTRACTEUR : art format for museums in the age of social media”

Thierry Geoffroy at Sprengel Museum Hannover. Photography: Aline Gwose & Michael Herling / Fotowerkstatt, Sprengel Museum, Hannover, www.colonel.dk.


By Thierry Geoffroy / Colonel:

The Colonel is preparing a book in a limited edition on the project “EXTRACTEUR: art format for museums in the age of social media” from a 2011 exhibition at the Sprengel Museum, Hannover.

If you are interest in reserving a copy please write to Thierry Geoffroy/Colonel: 1@colonel.dk


Geoffroy’s “Extracteur” format involves sending a person (character) to create a photographic collection of personal experience. It is designed to “retake the right to reread and reorganize the representation of the world” as a reaction to social media’s collection of private information. The artist first used the format during the 2011 Venice Biennale:

In 2011, the Extracteur project extracted all datas in their original, full size, without any pre-selection, from people in the streets of Athens during the 2011 riots, in Venice, as well as from police officers coming every day to the museum in Hannover. Participants gave over their copyrights and submitted all the photos that their phone or cameras contained. The extraction could include several thousands of images from one single participant. At the museum, participating visitors could search through the database in a special built library room.


Excerpt of the text that was published in October 2011 :

Social Media do not create revolutions they accelerate repression:

“The museum must resist social media usurping its role as a social stimulator and a patrimony collector.
Museum and artists should not let social media dominate the field of collecting the history, images, feelings and interactions of human activity.
The museum should regain this stolen territory to prevent the world’s archives from ending up in the hand of companies with domination goals.
The artist with the support of the museum should work on new formats to be able to not only resist but also offer more absorbing exhibiting methods.
The museum has a task of collecting and classifying human patrimony and this task should not be abandoned that easily.

Don’t let social media educate us and our kid!
Don’t let them tell us what is acceptable as images of ourselves or how and under what terms we should interact!
We should not accept that they threaten to disconnect us from all our friends any time they want!
Using our emotions to exploit and repress us.
Making us like pets addicted to sugar, ready to bite anyone when told to do so.
Can the museum provide a stronger human experience orchestrated by artists and poets?
Can the museum be a dating place?
An open place—without fake and staged controlled identity?

Can the museum respond to the robbery of the stock of human pictures?
Can the museum compete with collecting human production and propose a rereading strategy?
Can the museum ignore the competition of accumulating all human expressions?
Can the artist offer new strategies of collection?

See more here.


Extracteur 1
Extracteur extracting all data from German police officer’s cell phone, and copyrights to the data. Sprengel Museum, Hannover, 2011 — at the exhibition Photography Calling!.


Extracteur 2
Extracteur extracting all data from a passerby’s cell phone, together with the right to use the data  (September  2011).


Extracteur 3
Extracteur extracting all datas from a passerby’s cell phone, together with the right to use the data, Venice (June 2011).


Extracteur 4
Extracteur extracting all datas from a passerby’s cell phone, together with the right to use the data, Athens (October  2011).


Extracteur 5
Giving data to the Extracteur.


Extracteur 6
Giving data to the Extracteur



The exhibition Photography Calling! at the Sprengel Museum was curated by Inka Schube, Kuratorin für Fotografie und Medienkunst, Sprengel Museum, Hannover, and Thomas Weski, Professor für „Kulturen des Kuratorischen,” Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig.

Photos: Aline Gwose & Michael Herling, Julia Merkel, Thierry Geoffroy .
Extracteur: Johanna Saxen, Leo Merkel, Ari Jankelowitz , Julia Merkel
Field production: Stefanie Loh

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