edited by Yuk Hui and Andreas Broeckmann – 30 Years after Les Immatériaux: Art, Science, and Theory


Meson press eG, ISBN-13: 978-3957960306, English, 276 pages, 2015, USA

In the line of seminal exhibitions that have formulated early visions of new media and art, Les Immatériaux has a special place. Curated in 1985 by Jean-François Lyotard with the help of the design theorist Thierry Chaput at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, it helped to reinforce postmodernism and was also one of the true early exhibitions of new media, critically defining its importance. Among its distinguished traits were the integration of artworks and technological entities in the same space; the eccentric design of the catalogue; and the site-specific Lyotard texts read through mobile headphones. The concept of an exhibition prepared by a creative, innovative entity and curated by a philosopher, who intended it as a work of art in itself, are better understood a decade later, when part of the society envisioned in the exhibition started to materialize. Beyond sourcing the outrageously priced catalogue in second hand book markets, the most pressing problem was to retrieve first hand information (like the very informative interview with Jean-Louis Boissier), as most of the protagonists had passed away. This research is truly valuable then. Hui and Broeckmann have included an unpublished report by Lyotard on the exhibition’s conception, and then in two sections (art and theory) invited historians, philosophers and artists to share their research and their memories, compiling a sort of posthumous extended textual documentation of the exhibition, confirming even thirty years later, the aura of Les Immatériaux.


Yuk Hui | Recontextualising Les Immatériaux