From Bulles de vie in 2005 up to her more recent projects (Village Démocratie, City of Dreams), Karine Giboulo discovers and unfolds multiple facets of the global societal system of the strange time that we live in, a time of extremes and excesses. A hyper world, a hyper society. “Hypercapitalism, hyperclass, hyperpower, hyperterrorism, hyperindividualism, hypermarket, hypertext, what isn’t ‘hyper’ anymore? What doesn’t use superlative power to indicate high modernity?”, sociologist Gilles Lipovetsky aptly notes. In his opinion, hyperconsumption, hypermodernity, and hyper narcissism will be the three main axes of this era of the hyper that we have entered. In one of its primary meanings, hyper means “in n dimensions”, n denoting an infinite number. As such, when we talk of hyperconsumption, for example, we imply a kind of consumption that covers all dimensions of existence, a kind of consumption that absorbs and incorporates more and more important parts of social life”.
With HYPERLand, Giboulo performs what could be called a zoom-out, the same as with the perspectives she has favored in the past years, taking a step back when dealing with more specific issues (such as shantytowns and over-urbanization, or the hidden realities of the production and consumption cycles of the agrifood and electronics industries, to name a few) so as to offer a wider view of the global societal system, a meta point of view which renders visible multiple dimensions of today’s world (a hyper-work, one could say…).
HYPERLand is both the utopia promised by “liberal democracy” and the dystopia created by the capitalism of markets and finances, at least for a few. In a world where the consumer has substituted the citizen, it’s by spending their dollars for goods that governments ask of the people to contribute to growth, to do their part for the nation : to “engage”.
The subtitle of the main sculpture (0-1) certainly reminds one of the binary code of digital technologies, where (almost) every fragment of reality has its own digital mirror image on the screen (“digitize the world”, says our ubiquitous Google, assuming the humble task). 0-1 can also be presented as the scoring in a competitive battle, leaving to the spectators to decide, right here, who wins and who loses…
The HYPERLand sculpture (0-1), consisting of multiple unfolding structures overlapping from the floor to the ceiling, contains, from floor to floor, different components of the hypermodern city: a hyper-building, that is, a building containing factories and offices, parking lots, towers, shopping centers, residential areas… which we can observe through transparent walls which in some cases are replaced with walls and roofs. The scenes unfold little by little, kind of similar to reading comics, though here they unfold in the form of three-dimensional, pyramid-like caricatures.
Over the city of buildings, as emanating from the city below: a cumulus cloud formed by the accumulation of the elements on Plexiglas, creating a kind of paradise (a lush nature with plants originating from every continent, lacking any climatic constraints; a mountain drilled with hatches with clean air; as well as “houseboats”…). Finally, the nature that’s in ruins because of the industrialization is juxtaposed here to a kind of “artificial nature”, ironically produced by that very industrialization which caused the general destruction and pollution of the forests, the water, and the air. A kind of “nature” that’s considered a commodity from the very beginning, and is sold to people as a luxury product; breathing air and drinking water absurdly transformed into consumable goods for those who can pay. Therefore, from the dystopy of the real world emerges the idyllic dream promised in vain by the capitalism of markets and finances, the works of HYPERLand coming to illustrate multiple parts of that which we need to see as the hypermodern hoax.
By Marjolaine Arpin