Lahore Digital Arts Festival

In Conversation with Natacha Lamounier

Our next artist interview is with Natacha Lamounier, an artist and researcher in the Media Arts field with a multidisciplinary background. She holds an Erasmus Mundus scholarship in a Master mobility program from the Universities of Krems (Austria), Aalborg (Denmark), and Lodz (Poland). She has a degree in Materials Engineering from the Federal Center for Technological Education of Minas Gerais (Brazil) and in Fashion Design at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil). Natacha worked on interactive wearables research and is also interested in the relations of the human body and nonhumans (animals, machines, environment), post-humanism, and feminist studies. 

With a background in both engineering and fashion design and now studying Media Arts, Natacha Lamounier brings a broad perspective to the topic of post reality. Particularly, she is interested in the philosophical questions that art and culture raise about the role of technology in society. Currently she is researching about posthumanism, particularly from an eco-feminist point of view. She notes that “traditional humanism is embedded in differentiating between man and nature and holding up man as master of nature, while posthumanism is about the continuum and equality of all living things.” 

For the most part Lamounier takes a critical perspective on the increasing role of technology in society. Her past work in wearable art was particularly a critique of the consumerist wearable technology. Instead of creating a product, her design was meant to question how the technology was interacting and imposing on the creation. She feels generally that we should be much more mindful about the direction we are going and how we choose to use technology in the future. It’s not about a “nostalgia for the past,” but a critical outlook especially on the impact of technology on the environment. Lamounier notes that we are trying to use more and more technology to save ourselves, but the strain on the environment is too much. She says, “the virtual has real world consequences and is built on resources which have a physical impact on the planet.” 

Virtual’s New Materiality

As an artist and scholar, Lamounier is interested in the materiality of the virtual. After all, “At the end of the day, we are still embodied beings and we are contained in the body.” She notes that because we perceive the world with our senses, she is interested to study how technology changes our senses, and how our senses influence technology. For example, our visual sense is the most important, so technology is built around screens. She is also interested in the ‘new materiality’ of bringing the virtual to the real world, specifically the shift of virtual artworks made in digital platforms into tactile and physical artworks. 

Overall, Lamounier finds many challenges in post reality, particularly in how the virtual impacts and shapes the physical world. She cites in particular social media. Even though the ‘influencers’ are little more than an image and a production, they can influence our desires and behaviors. Even those people embedded in the virtual world are affected in reality – for example, we can equate ‘likes’ with happiness. She warns that one of the greatest issues of post reality is that it leads to a crisis of truth. She notes the propagation of fake news is connected to post reality. We then take this “post-truth” into the real world where it has real consequences. For Lamounier, it is not about rejecting technology, but becoming aware of how we interact with it. Then we can decide if the path we are on is the path we should be on. 

In the future she plans to continue her philosophical inquiry and research. Eventually she hopes to create artwork that critiques and illustrates the philosophy. 

You can find the video of her wearable technology piece below:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *