media artist
Joëlle Bitton

interview | Takeshi Yamaguchi (Gallery ef)



When I read your profile, I was interested that your major was history. The title of your thesis was "the Machines of Imaginary" that describes the influence of the emerging technologies and networks on European society during the 19th century. How did you come to be attracted to the multimedia communication and its art?



My work is completely shaped by my background in history. This is also during my master's thesis that I first used the Internet back in 1996. I needed to access resources that I couldn't find otherwise, and also access people - my subject was Guyana and I got the opportunity to communicate with people from the Guyanese diaspora this way. So almost immediately, I knew I had found the perfect media for me: it would let me deal with history in a non-academic non-professorial way. I took a break from my studies and worked in multimedia design, learning the tools at the same time. The 1st project I got involved in as an intern - a CD-ROM on "Memories of the deportation" of Jews during the Nazi regime - was one of the most ambitious project that had been produced in France until then. It taught me so many things in 8 months and mostly, it made me want to work on projects at that level of demands. It's also during that time that I finally allowed myself to set an artistic practice for my life. I was already doing photography but I felt more legitimate to be once and for all an artist with interactive media.

Research about the history of network shaped Joelle’s basis as a media artist.