FESTIVAL SELECTEE 2024

CHLOÉ AZZOPARDI

‘Non Technological Devices’

French artist Chloé Azzopardi Incorporates sculpture and performance into her photography as she ponders on the future. Her project Non Technological Devices takes us on an imaginary, futuristic journey as she introduces us to her creative world of self made low-tech sci-fi sculptures made out of found natural materials. The sculptures function as extensions of the body, echoing the idea of cyborgs. Her work playfully intervenes and disrupts our common imaginaries about the future of technology, sci-fi and imagination in a climate and technology driven world stripped of ressources.

“I wanted to make something futuristic, something to speak about how we used to fantasise about a certain future, one that could not happen because of the lack of resources, for example. I grew up fantasising about flying cars and teleportation because I watched a lot of movies and I think a lot of us fantasise about it as well. But, if this can't happen, what can we build? What should be an updated and ecological version of this imaginary? Maybe we'll be like kids, playing with what remains of our fantasies.”

Chloé Azzopardi

ENTANGLEMENT

Playing ‘Tech’ in a world without ressources

Project: Non Technological Devices, by Chloé Azzopardi

A thick block of ice, the exact size to cover both of your eyes, with sticks to create a frame around it. Or clam shells as a headset. French artist Chloé Azzopardi’s project Non Technological Devices surprises you and intricately connects photography, performance, and installation to create a fictional world that challenges our perceptions of technology, nature, and our collective desires for the future. Chloé Azzopardi’s work delves into science fiction aesthetics, the construction of imaginary worlds, and the implications of human intervention in nature. The objects depicted in Azzopardi’s images are composite tools that she crafts from gleaned natural elements, mimicking the appearance of technological devices. The artist employs an intuitive process, considering both the materials she finds and the imperfections in the objects she creates. These sculptures function as extensions of the body, echoing the idea of cyborgs, but with an organic twist. 

Chloé Milos Azzopardi // Non Technological Devices

A sci-fi world without ressources

The future imagined in these works is one where we may be constrained by the scarcity of resources necessary for the hyper-technologized dreams we often fantasise about. The artist aims to engage with the disconnect between our childhood fantasies of flying cars and teleportation and the potential lack of resources that could hinder these futuristic visions. In this context, Non Technological Devices becomes a playful endeavour, imagining a time when individuals create symbolic tools as substitutes for unattainable technological marvels. The series’ playful engagement opens up a poetic perspective that present the viewer with a rare opportunity to engage themselves emotionally with issues of tech, environment, climate and actually feel the close entanglement of imagination, tech and climate.

“I am trying to avoid building things that are perfect, it’s a very intuitive practice. If I’m getting too good at building these objects, it will be the point where I have to finish the series. The new objects I’m building reflect on technologies that we already have or that we project to use or to have. And sometimes they are also totally imaginary. I didn’t want to restrain myself, I didn’t want to just copy objects that exist because it’s a futuristic world, so everything can happen.”

Chloé Milos Azzopardi // Non Technological Devices

Help or hindrance?

The initially perceived extensions can transform into hindrances depending on the structure built by the artist. This decision serves as a commentary to some of the technology we so desperately cling to, it might be sold as a benefit, but it’s not always the case. One can feel trapped, with movements restricted or blinded, by the thickness of the screen in front of their eyes. 

“I was thinking about the figure of the cyborg, on how to extend your body, in my case not with the machine, but with natural elements. One of the ways to see my objects is not as extensions, but as elements to heal, and to do so, you have to restrain movement. This is interesting to me because I don’t want to be pessimistic about technology. I’m very enthusiastic about it, but when you create new ways of existing, new devices, every time you create a new modality for your life, you end up with new hindrances, something restricting. When you have something new you also have to lose something.”

Questioning technology – and imagination

Azzopardi’s work acquires a deeper layer of significance as it becomes entwined with the contemporary ecological crisis. Inspired by real-life events, such as the ecological protests near Sainte-Soline at the beginning of 2023, the project shifted from being solely futuristic and playful to embodying a darker, more urgent tone. 

The series reflects the artist’s concerns about human intervention in nature, overexploitation of the planet, and the lack of policies to protect nature and to control how we exploit things. To the artist technological progress can be interesting and positive. However, we have to be mindful of the ecological consequences of this progress. Non Technological Devices explores the intersection between imagination, technology, and climate crisis. 

Azzopardi’s interdisciplinary approach, sculptural creations, and the tension function or lack of it in her objects contribute to a rich narrative that encourages viewers to question their relationship with technology and the potential consequences of our desires for an artificialized future.

Chloé Milos Azzopardi // Non Technological Devices

ENTANGLEMENT

“Entanglement is at the heart of all living things. We live in different ecosystems where beings are interdependent, with the actions of each having repercussions on the collective. In this series, I examine our relationship with the rest of the earth's living organisms, this entanglement from which we try to extract ourselves as a species, even though we are intrinsically part of it. I look at the way we exploit it, and think about how to create new imaginaries that might help us recognize these interdependencies and think of ways to build our future and our devices in ways that are less destructive to our environment.”

Chloé Azzopardi

Text and edit · Felipe Abreu and Christine Almlund
ARTIST BIO

Chloé Milos Azzopardi is a visual artist with an MFA from the European School of Visual Art. She works and lives at L’Ile Saint Denis, on the outskirts of Paris. She works on long-term projects mixing photography, performance, and installation. At the intersection of experimental and documentary photography, her images generate fictional worlds, whose strangeness and sensoriality are exacerbated.

Selected achievements

  • – 2024, «Non technological devices», Rencontres d’Arles, Fisheye Gallery 
  • – 2024 PHOTO 2024 – Melbourne International photo festival, «Nontechnological devices», Australia
  • – 2022, Prix Nouvelles écritures de la photographie environnementale (new writings of environmental photography award), La Gacilly, Winner
  • – 2022, New York Times, Focusing
  • – 2022, Emerging Artist, Lucie Foundation, Winner