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The “Renaissances” exhibition, a dizzying plunge into the future



Two thousand twenty-nine. The depletion of water tables, the shutdown of many power plants and the Russian embargo on gas and oil have disrupted European countries, sowing chaos. In Paris, plunged into the blackout and crisscrossed by soldiers responsible for preventing looting, a couple wonders: should they flee to the countryside with their children or stay in town, despite the curfew and rationing ? You choose…

→ CHRONICLE. The collapse and me and me …

Here is the first dilemma into which the disturbing interactive fiction of the “Renaissances” exhibition plunges us, now visible on the site of the City of Science and Industry (single price at € 3.90, free for subscribers, Editor’s note), and on site from July 6. At every step, our decisions raise ethical questions – should we abandon the old neighbor to her fate? Steal medicine to treat her baby? – and lead the characters towards a different destiny.

Director Julien Bittner drew on his own fears and the projections of collapsologists to feed this dystopia as distressing as it is stimulating around the collapse.

Give viewers the desire to understand and act

“We solicit the emotions of the spectators so that they feel concerned and have the desire to understand and to act”, deciphers Christelle Guiraud, the curator of this exhibition of a new kind, which combines the power of the imagination with scientific analysis. The immersive experience is divided into three parts, located at different times: 2023, 2029 and 2045.

The first, designed as a very basic observation video game, invites you to a survival course in the heart of nature: you not only have to find shelter for the night but also build a fire, find food and drink – what about – you with a fried snails and nettle puree? Once these challenges are met, a historian, an ecologist and a sociologist decipher the mythology of the forest and the current craze for survivalism.

A resilient city

Also giving voice to scientists, such as the philosopher and sociologist Dominique Méda, the second and third sections deploy different anticipation scenarios, sometimes pessimistic and sometimes optimistic alternatives, in which the collapse would be an opportunity for reinvention. A sound fiction of about thirty minutes takes us to Besançon which, in 2045, became a “Resilient city”. In buildings constructed with recovered materials, a pig is responsible for eliminating waste from the collective kitchen. At the market, we exchange insect flour for salads that have grown on the terraces. The disused shopping centers are converted into urban farms.

→ VIDEO. Pablo Servigne: “Faced with collapse, another world is possible”

Energy sobriety, green technologies and a new model of society based on sharing and solidarity are also at the heart of the collection of news published in parallel by Syros (Rebirths, 328 p., € 14.95, Editor’s note). Even if all the stories are not so captivating, the six authors of science fiction for children (Florence Hinckel, Yves Grevet, Jérôme Leroy, etc.) provide food for thought and reflection in order to build a future bearer of hope.

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