At the time of deconfinement in France, the question of art’s place, in our postmodernity, arises. Since the sanitary lockdown, galleries, museums are closed, festivals and concerts are canceled. Artists one-by-one are deprived of the bodies’ stimuli mainly in the presence of humanized gaze on their artwork.

Facing this very traumatic event, professionals[i] from the world of culture are at the origin of a surge of solidarity.

Together, museums and galleries have offered virtual tours, competing with innovations.

A new knotting with the real

The sanitary lockdown had the effect of suspending artistic events in the city. Everyone is invited to create with the new, in the time of “social distancing”.

As such, the Nelson-Atkins Museum[ii] invited Humbolt penguins from the zoo next door, to see how they were reacting to art.

The Tate Britain[iii], in partnership with Facebook, offered its visitors “The Virtual Wing”, an augmented reality art experience. 8 works have been transformed using the Spark AR social network platform.

These offers led the viewer beyond the sense of conventional about the phenomelogy of the gaze. Namely they drew his attention either to the animal’s gaze, that is to say to a gaze without intention whether or to an ephemeral digital picture.

From Jacques-Alain Miller standpoints,[iv] the machine is invading the world and reconfigures it with its instruments and technology what constitutes the essence of the discourse of science. As such, the gaze object is deprived of its relation to the Other. Being inspired by the episode of the sardine tin shimmering in the sun reported by Lacan,[v]  I would say these works of art seemed to ask the viewer: You see it? Well, it cannot see you!”.

The introduction of screen and digitization of the gaze are the final stage of desiccation of vision, reduced to a very image.[vi]

A liquid element

Using the concept of liquidity appreciation Z. Bauman[vii] explores how art can position itself in a world where the fleeting is the dominant paradigm.

Lacan recalls, in the speech in Milan, that the discourse of the capitalist generates a circuit where the absence of limit on jouissance accentuates the disappearance of metaphor by accentuating metonymy. In other words, in an increasingly less solid society, the fluidization of enjoyment privileges metonymic discourse. The erased dimension of the loss as symbolic reference generates an ephemeral  relationship with erratic object as optical illusions.

“Augmenting abstraction”  artwork is coming  through a new dimension. For example, The Tate Britain’s art experience offers spectators through digital  platform to see works come to life in the museum.

It turns out, if the visible is augmented, in the same time,  the rise of the gaze is veil-less, furthermore the sayable is confiscated. Using Lacan’s registers -the symbolic, imaginary and real – the knot is real.

In conclusion

Where the Other was breached by the signifier S 1 [Covid 19], the digital art came to veil the hole.

In order to sustain the art market and the logic of the capitalist discourse, a shift has taken place. Data based pictures that are used across the industry to train machine vision that seemed like a natural parallel to humans’one, actually, algorithms are trained to see the world on our behalf by not passing through the Other.






[iv] Jacques Alain Miller, L’Orientation Lacanienne III [6], lesson of  2 January 2004, unpublished.

[v] Jacques Lacan, Seminar XI, the Four Fundamental Consepts of Psychoanalysis, Penguin, 1979, p. 95. [translation modified].

[vi]  Freud’s use: das Ding.

[vii] Zygmunt Bauman, (2000) Liquid Modernity (English Edition).