founder of Cube
20 May 2021
He now heads three companies including "Le Cube", a creation center launched in 2001 and open to everyone, which allows people to create, discuss and share with digital actors and artists.
Can you introduce yourself? What was your background and what are your current activities?
A jazz musician in a first life, I ran a music and dance conservatory while creating the first training courses in computer music at the National Audiovisual Institute (INA) as well as at the International Institute of 'Image and Sound (3IS). I created ART3000 in 1988, an interdisciplinary collective that edited the journal Nov’Art, organized nearly 1,000 events and opened a place of residence for artists. Winner of HEC Challenge +, I participated in the creation of several innovative companies in the field of digital publishing. Since 2001 I have been Chairman and co-founder of Cube, the first digital creation center in France. We have supported more than 4,000 artists from the international scene, and 400 productions. We also have a whole training program to
to support the transition in education and business. In particular, I lead the seminar "In disruption, new digital imaginaries" at Sciences Po and the Institut Mines Télécom, and host the "Rendez-vous des Futurs", more than 130 programs
with guests such as Jeremy Rifkin, Claudie Haigneré, Cynthia Fleury, Etienne Klein, Cyril Dion, François Taddei, Pascal Picq and more than 200 others…
In the age of digital transition, how are humans adapting? And what is its place in a largely digitized world?
Man creates the tool that shapes man, it is a process that has been at work since the dawn of time but which is now taking a new turn with intelligent machines that challenge us in all areas. They push us to develop what they
do not have: our humanity, what the philosopher calls "the soul of the statue". While humans today are threatened by their own demise, technosciences are pushing the boundaries of the impossible in all fields. Our creativity has never been at this point
summoned. For Picasso, destruction is a creative emergency. The planet is dying and calls us to this emergency
What do you think has been the main benefit of digital technology and what is the biggest threat?
Digital technology facilitates exchanges and irrigates society with new knowledge. Distributed intelligence multiplies discovery and awareness in all fields, but it also reveals the dark side of humanity: toxic disruptions, manipulations and fake news that break social ties and disorient the common narrative. We are living in a historic moment, full of fabulous promises and terrible threats. This ambivalence calls for a creative leap. Bergson reminds us that the future is not what will happen, but what we do with it. A new story emerges, it remains for us to write it collectively.
What is the place of empathy in a digital society? What are the other keys to a 2.0 humanity?
A book struck me a few years ago, "A New Consciousness for a Changing World
crisis, towards a civilization of empathy "by Jeremy Rifkin. The American economist, former adviser to Barak Obama, opens up a very stimulating perspective: empathy as a new economic horizon, bond and solidarity as an imperative for progress. His call to
a new “biospheric consciousness” is based on the link between the “noosphere”, Theilard de Chardin's sphere of ideas which finds its materialization in the internet, and the biosphere, the sphere of living things. This link invites us to rethink the world as a global information ecosystem, made up of interrelationships, connectivity, symbiosis and interdependencies, and it invites us to find our place within the whole.
The question of digital creativity seems to be a fairly new field, have you noticed an evolution in its understanding by the different audiences you frequent?
Digital tools, artificial intelligence and connective intelligence allow us to
create and innovate differently. But this mutation is so strong that it requires changing our outlook on creativity itself. In the age of AI, it is no longer about creating, but about creating new ways of creating, of inventing new ways of inventing. It’s a paradigm shift. When I mentioned this a few years ago in companies or engineering and managerial schools, I could clearly see the difficulty in
perceive the difference between creativity and art. This border is now tending to disappear with the emergence of "creative empowerment", the possibility for everyone to become more creative and capable thanks to digital technology.
Pedagogy as well as the transmission of knowledge seem central in your approach. For what reasons ?
Yes, pedagogy has always been at the heart of my activities. Montessori, Steiner or Freinet had understood how to develop creativity, empathy, attention or collaboration. They understood that it was not about learning, but about learning to learn. This
This thought is more relevant than ever in a world where the trades our children learn today will no longer exist when they are old enough to do so. Neuroscience has since demonstrated the incredible faculties of the brain, if we know how to use them. Digital tools offer fabulous possibilities that must be seized, but let us not forget that our main obstacle is our own imagination. Teaching must help us deconstruct our representations to open ourselves to other possibilities, to promote critical thinking, discernment, empowerment and creativity.
Does technology also have an important role to play in the resilience of businesses? Is the period of the health crisis accelerating the digital transformation?
With containment, things considered impossible have become possible.
I was particularly touched during a concert given live on Zoom by the Orchester National de Paris. Such an orchestra is usually presented in a very formatted setting: large stage, musicians all in black dressed and forming a homogeneous ensemble facing the conductor.
orchestra ... But on Zoom, all these markers have exploded to reveal a colorful mosaic of individuals, each captured in their familiar surroundings, with their everyday clothes. The orchestra thus atomized into so many singularities became a joyful diversity, playing wonderfully a Bolero by Ravel all in nuance, symbiosis and creativity. This is exactly what the business of tomorrow is! A networked ensemble where everyone is invited to
playing his score, expressing his singularity and talent in dynamic harmony.
You have been working on the concept of “smart city” for several years. What are its characteristics ?
The smart city aims to make the city more efficient and resilient by exploiting data. For example, the smart grid makes it possible to produce, store and distribute renewable energy on a local scale. The autonomous car can reduce the number of cars in the city by 90%. The vertical urban farm saves 90% water and pesticides, for 70% more productivity. These innovations increase the food and energy autonomy of cities while offering ecological gains. But beyond infrastructure, it is the social dimension that needs to be rethought. The idea is to promote the development of more united, creative and learning territories. Richard Florida theorized the concept of Silicon Valley where hackers, artists and cultural creatives came together to “change the world” in the sixties. With digital platforms, they have succeeded beyond their dreams, but for what result? The smart city must now reconcile innovation, responsibility and social progress, by putting technology at the service of the common good.
What is the place of ecology in the smart city? Besides, is a smart city necessarily ecological?
We must put nature back in the heart of the city. Neuroscience studies show that “green” and “blue” play an important role in our physical and mental health. By cutting ourselves off from nature we have cut ourselves off from a part of ourselves. Seen from our cities, it has become an abstraction. But without it we will disappear because "we are nature". Humans weigh less than 1% of the terrestrial biomass, but they cause irreparable ecological disasters. It's time to rethink our connection to nature and to others. There will be no viable future without an ethic of caring and caring for others.
Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
The Cube was the winner of an international call for projects for the organization of ISEA 2023, a global digital arts event with 60 participating countries, under the theme of Symbiosis. It will be held in 2023 in Paris with more than 100 partner venues in Ile-de-France. It is a crazy project that mobilizes a huge ecosystem of actors from the worlds of arts, science and innovation. We will also be celebrating 20 years of the Cube this year, with lots of surprise events.
We must put nature back in the heart of the city. Neuroscience studies show that “green” and “blue” play an important role in our physical and mental health. By cutting ourselves off from nature we have cut ourselves off from one part of ourselves. There will be no viable future without an ethic of care and attention to the other.
If you had a time machine, what advice would you give to the child you were when you were 10 years old?
I would tell him to keep his childish gaze preciously. Never give up on daring. I would also suggest that she practice the art of wonder every day, and as Virginia Woolf so beautifully wrote, "learn to move when everything is moving around"