L’obsolescence des mots | Marie-Andrée Pellerin


Artist: Marie-Andrée Pellerin
In residence from August 12 to September 21, 2019
Thursday, September 19: Public presentation and discussion with Élisabeth Vonarburg
6:30 pm – doors open + presentation of the work
7 pm – discussion
At Studio XX

In her residency project L’obsolescence des mots, Marie-Andrée Pellerin uses science fiction as a starting point to question our relationship to language, developing a sound installation of keyboard keys. 

Including excerpts from Une sorte de lumière spéciale by Maude Veilleux
Voice: Maude Veilleux and Larose


“An essential communication mediator between humans and computers, the keyboard is a rare advanced technical tool, characterized as a simple extension of our will and senses. In Marie-Andrée Pellerin’s work, however, this tool is becoming obsolete. Massive and sculptural, the keys are deprived of the keyboard’s technical and material framework. They become an envelope, a receptacle animated from the inside by authors whose words are diffused through speakers. The power of linguistic imagination inherent in science fiction is free to expand in all its greatness. The master-tool relationship, specific to modern techniques, is abandoned and listeners are invited to enter a singular universe where invented words reconstruct the world. Speech choice imposes pauses necessary for listening and encourages a healthy technocritical step back.

Deprived of the ability to activate commands, do audience members see themselves as deprived of all agency, lacking the ability to act upon the world? Is language, used by humans to create a gap between them and other animals, surpassing its creators and empowering itself? More optimistic, more concrete, and above all more committed than this techno-fatalist interpretation, Pellerin’s work suggests that listening as much as speaking is the power source of language. Optimistic: word control will not succeed in stifling thought, because language is highly accessible and democratic. Concrete: the magical act of birthing a conceptualization into the world, here is a new phenomenon and this is its name; is at once a tool of domination and liberation. Committed: language is our species’ primary technique and speaking is our humanity in action. In the end, the essential characteristic of language is its readiness to be shaped.” 

Samuel Gaudreau-Lalande


Living between Montreal and Linz, where she is pursuing a doctorate in research and creation, Marie-Andrée Pellerin studies the power of words and the obsolescence of language through video installation, sculpture, and performance reading.

Director of the Colby-Curtis Museum and doctoral candidate in art history, Samuel Gaudreau-Lalande studies how photography transforms the world.