We were about to publish his first column for Makery when we heard the terrible news. Antoine Bonnet aka KiK, circuit-bender, maker artist in electronics, DIYbio, textile and sound design had just died. Here is his text.
Only his last “go” was missing in order to post the first episode of his journal of creation. I had met Antoine KiK for the exhibition Do it Yourself le labo des bricodeurs numériques in Tourcoing in 2012 (his interview over here in French), where he had concocted Prünô, his own musical recipe intensified by the fermented alcohol one makes in the prison environment. Last April, Antoine came to see me at Makery and we discussed at length his projects and desires as a prototyping-maker-artist. We agreed that a regular column could structure his process while bringing a hitherto unseen perspective on the way of “doing” of artists in his league. Then followed exchanges of mails, photos and discussions to tune what I saw as his first column for Makery. On June 16, as we were about to publish it, came the dreadful and definitive news of Antoine’s death. As a tribute, for his little girl, his partner and all his friends, here is his text, that we should have entitled “column of a maker artist emancipated by the doing”. So long, Antoine…
(Annick Rivoire, chief editor of Makery)
Playing with technology
Budding musician become circuit bender then DIYer and now maker (I will try and define in my own way this polysemy word as I go about my columns), I create electronic projects that play with technology or cover areas such as sound design, textile design, bioDIY, including the production of controllers, disruptors, extensions that use existing technological standards.
I introduce myself as a contemporary artist who creates works with technology, with the will to conceal this technology so as to only retain its innovative or creative aspect. After nearly ten years leading, creating and developing workshops according to demand, I started about three years ago to answer calls for projects to take part in residences, collective exhibitions, etc. This allowed me to go further in my artistic practice of electronics and today have the desire to carry all of part of my projects further.
Neither incubator nor crowdfunding
I want to touch new actors in art or other areas, and why not go through with the industrialization of my projects, if possible, by collaborating with brands or integrating an independent, interdisciplinary or why not private research lab.
I am convinced that everything is possible from the moment you know what you want or don’t want. I do not wish for example to use crowdfunding campaigns. These apply when the project is already set for industrialization and that you need to fill the pre-order book to launch its production.
I wish to highlight innovation in a direct way, even if it means financing it myself. And if it’s possible to avoid incubators, start-ups, etc., even better. I prefer to sell a concept, a technology, continue to develop it so that it is used in a specific manner within a product. I do not tend to make finished products but rather deliver technological solutions.
I therefore find myself soliciting art centers, companies or research centers to complete my projects successfully, first by desire and then by challenge, to prove myself that I am competent in those areas and that my initial training as an accountant is well and truly behind me. This column on Makery should allow me to document my experience, and why not help those who wish to embark on a similar approach.
What motivates me is searching where I have never set foot, using a network of people with whom I have worked on my projects but with whom I have not necessarily had regular contacts. In other words, start from scratch, question yourself, make new acquaintances and move forward bit by bit. What’s important is not the fall but the landing. In this instance carry a project through to completion or give it a new direction, at the opposite of what I have done until now, by doing projects one after another in the form of prototypes, for lack of time, budget, external support and so on.
In my project bag
Among my multiple projects, the first consists in developing tribo-electric textile sensors, with an electrostatic charge, the reaction of which can look like that of piezoelectric disks. Tribo Electrique was developed in 2016 at Zinc at the Friche la Belle de Mai in Marseille, then at the Databit.me festival in Arles as part of Chronique-s. I improved and diversified these sensors during the first residence of Villette Makerz in Paris this winter.
“Tribo Electrique” at the Databit.me festival (2016):
When you apply a constraint on the sensor, a weak electric current is generated. Actions such as touch, impact, friction, distortion are recognized, and by extension, with a few improvements, the energy produced will be able to be used to light up LEDs or electroluminescent wire, without electric power.
Applications are multiple, from textile sensors to carry out motion tracking in sport, dancing or live performing, undertaking kinetic installations and, by extension, for any application requiring “unbreakable” and soft analog sensors (I thought out the system so that it was possible to put it through the washing machine).
The second is a project supported by the Mu Collective together with Rodolphe Alexis and financed by the Dicream (measures for digital and multimedia artistic creation) from the ministry of Culture. It consists in preparing a grand piano to turn it into a drone experimental music generator (frequencies that are overlaid on each other), with an electromagnetic system developed for the occasion. The system is intended to be modular and adaptable to any grand piano.
“Droned in Key”, tests, 2017:
The finished prototype (production of circuit boards, laser cut parts) is just waiting for a date for its first public presentation.
The last is a research project around digital writing, means of mixing paper and digital recognition simultaneously. Brands have already developed costly systems that function with cameras, special paper and all kinds of complex technologies to recognize writing. I would like to develop a low cost system with a simple and direct approach. No connected accessory, just a pen and paper, and lots of ingenuity.
Neither afraid of getting involved in several areas at the same time nor exploring new practices, it is very likely that I will shortly talk to you about new ongoing projects. I already have germs of ideas and experimentations in screen printing, bioDIY… And, potentially, on a very short term, I might even step foot in the universe of theatre. Which just shows, my practices lead to many things…