Vital to the General Public Welfare

The title of the show came from documents filed in a 1964 Louisiana court case seeking to ascertain an adopted child’s racial classification. The judge claimed that the proper identification of the child’s race was « vital to the general public welfare » ; in other words, whatever way the child was classified, a wrong classification would endanger the fundamental fabric of white culture. The now-hyperbolic seeming claim strikes me as a powerful metaphor for any conversations we have not only about racial classification but also about any number of other issues that some group or another feels is central to their definition of a well-functionning society. All of the works performed in Vital engage the question of how we talk to one another, how we locate ourselves in wider cultural geographies, how we authenticate ourselves againts our own expectations and that of others, and how matters that are once seen as so vital, so essential, can later be regarded as contingent.

Jason Edward Lewis is a digital media artist, poet and software designer. He founded Obx Laboratory for Experimental Media, where he directs research/creation projects devising new means of creating and reading digital texts, developing systems for creative use of mobile technology, designing alternative interfaces for live performance, and using virtual environments to assist Aboriginal communities in preserving, interpreting and communicating cultural histories. Lewis is committed to developing intriguing new forms of expression by working on conceptual, creative and technical levels simultaneously. His creative work has been featured at the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO), Ars Electronica Center, ISEA, SIGGRAPH, Urban Screens, and Mobilefest, among other venues, his writing about new media has been presented at conferences, festivals and exhibitions on four continents, and his work ha won awards at the ELO, Ars Electronica, and imagine Native events. He is currently an Associate Professor of Computation Arts at Concordia University in Montreal.


Date: Wednesday September 25, 2013, 20h30 – 22h00
Place: Le Cube – 20 cours Saint-Vincent, Issy-les-Moulineaux