30 Quai des Charbonnages
Koolmijnenkaai, 1080 Brussels
Art Center for Digital Cultures & Technology

Thomas Garnier

The new production sites of our accelerated contemporary world, the "dark factories" (or "lights-out factories") are fully automated factories that operate without human intervention. Without even having to light the space, machines can now "work" day and night, without breaks, without compromising the quality of their production. These places with a basic architecture take the form of large, modular, repetitive warehouses where everything is designed to facilitate the movement of robots.

The 3D printers, present in the room, are working relentlessly to build structures that are directly inspired by these intelligent factories. These architectures under construction show their skeleton, stripped of everything. We do not know if we are in front of the framework of these buildings or on the contrary in front of their ruin. Work in progress, the printer becomes, in the words of the artist, "the main actor" of the project, it takes its place.

The idea of these cold, geometric, massive architectures is counterbalanced by the light device that accompanies them, making the installation fragile and moving. The light passes through the skeleton of these structures and deploys grids that intermingle. The shadows are superimposed making the reading of the space difficult. Shadow theater of a disturbing strangeness, the work presents a world without foundations, made of illusions. These dark factories are not the real, they are the image of a world that we do not want to see happen.

Fascinated by these new heterotopic architectures, cut off from the human world and supports of the imagination, Thomas Garnier proposes with Taotie an immersive installation which aims at questioning these new time-spaces of work and production.

Can machines live without us in the dark?


With the help of:

  • Dicréam Fund, French center of National Cinema
  • Scan Fund (Rhône-Alps)
  • Fernand Lerger gallery, Ivry sur Seine
  • iMAL, Art Center for digital cultures and Technology, Brussels
  • Chroniques Biennale, Marseilles, Aix en Provence, Avignon

Thomas Garnier

Born in 1991, Thomas Garnier is a french contemporary and visual artist intitialy trained as an architect. He then graduated from the Fresnoy, Studio National des Arts Contemporains (specialized in cinema and digital art) where he was awarded the special prize «Révélations Art Numériques» by the ADAGP, society of french artists for his graduating installation «Cénotaph». His work has since been shown at international events, festivals and biennials such as the Nuit Blanche (Belgium), the WRO biennial (Poland), the Scopitone festival and the Nemo biennial (France), and in foundations such as the Fosun Foundation (Shanghai) and the Fiminco Foundation (Paris) where he was resident for a year

His practice is that of an artist but also of a researcher or a heterotopologist, as defined by Foucault in his text «les espaces autres». This search and construct of meaning in the ‘‘liminal’’ or ‘‘l’entre deux’’ brings him to produce automated and collapsing sculptures, infinite moving images that loop on themselves, displays that randomly compose linguistical accumulations and etchings of digitally corrupted files.

He thus seeks singular and distant places, social and material motives which question the conscious and unconscious manufacture of space and image, the problematic nature of the utopian/dystopian duality, the radical manifestations of the contemporary in man-made geometry and power dynamics. The critical nature of the works develop through wandering, and the observation of real spaces. In Thomas Garnier’s work we seem to witness the archaeology of a drifting and derived world, caught between and obsessed by the congregation of multiple timeframes and techniques, derived from nonexisting primal-futurism, retro-additivism, multi-brutalism, supra-romantism or any word accumulation that you could dream of by yourself.