Credit: KompleX KapharnaüM

A sun architecture – The party is in full swing

Stéphane Bonnard, KompleX KapharnaüM

Honorary Mention

Switching on a device today is an automatic, almost magical gesture.

To rethink this relationship to energy, we sought to make concrete the effort necessary for its production. And to raise a political question: if energy is limited, what do we decide to use it for? The challenge is twofold: to raise awareness of the effort required to produce energy. And to anticipate, despite all technological beliefs, that at some point you will probably have to restrict yourself in your consumption. And therefore choose in which sectors of activity to prioritize energy.

Digital entresort: The installation explores the idea of energy autonomy but also questions the apparent easy access to energy by offering choices to the spectator: to supply power to a sound system, light up a ball, or make a coffee, etc.
Video-fiction / online: after lockdown we were asked to present the project in an online seminar of ADEME (French Agency for Ecological Transition). We tried to imagine an artistic object between video conference, cinema, interaction, spectacle, which changes our practice, and asks a political question: if the energy is limited, who will decide how to use it?

The artistic proposition takes the form of a video conference, keeps running as a sequence shot from an adventure film, and ends in a hallucinated club where reality seems dissolved. Little by little the spectators become dizzy. Caught in a delirious festive atmosphere, but with the awareness that the battery that powers the experience is draining … and perhaps robbing other viewers. How far will they go? Who will take responsibility?
To appreciate the effort required to provide energy and keep their screens on, participants must be active. Without this effort, their computer screen turns black, and they can no longer follow the proposal. The video fiction is broadcast through a web page specially developed by our team of engineers. Thanks to this interface, the spectator is taken to task and can take control to stop the party at any time.

Credit: KompleX KapharnaüM


Production: KompleX KapharnaüM
Co-production: Hexagone, Atelier Art Sciences

With support from
Atelier Arts Sciences – Workshop Prestige
Hexagone – Scène Nationale Arts Sciences
Experimenta / Arts Sciences 2020


Self-taught, Stéphane Bonnard (FR) co-founded KompleX KapharnaüM in 1996. From a public space he imagines specific stories that connect people to a universal narrative, between documentary and fiction, he creates singular worlds that take the form of shows, performances, installations, and spectacular walks. As a text writer he also works on a cycle on the monologue for theater (25, L’Immobile, Rudimentaire, Continent), all published and performed. With the les Studios Bobert, he organizes workshops with scientists and artists about “a new way of talking with the non-humans worlds.”

KompleX KapharnaüM explores humans and landscapes in search of their unique beauty. We travel through stories, we use places as our canvass, we believe in everyday poetry and aim to transcend it. We collect documentary materials that we put together during spectacular performances. In France or abroad, each project adapts to the context in which it is presented or created. We are a team of video makers, musicians, technicians, writers, performers, visual artists, and makers… all of us bringing valuable skills to the creation of our performances. Our creations are fixed or movable, intimate or monumental, shows or installations.

Jury Statement

The ongoing energy crisis is presenting a huge challenge to governments across Europe and opening the floor for important debates on our relationship with energy and the politics of energy sources, both as a society and as individual citizens. With A Sun Architecture – The Party is in Full Swing, the interdisciplinary team of KompleX KapharnaüM presents an artistic proposition, built on an architectural kit that uses printed photovoltaic surfaces and flexible batteries to tap into a critical question in an experiential and immersive way: “If energy is limited, who will decide how to use it?” Bringing this high-level topic to a personal decision context, this project allows citizens to reduce the abstraction of this socioeconomic challenge and reflect on the tensions between individual and communal priorities. Through this solar-powered live performance supported by an eclectic mix of engineering, political, and architectural mindsets, they are not only advocating for energy autonomy but also moving one step away from technological solutionism, and also dealing in a playful way with the compounded politics of energy use, asking creatively what happens when a resource that is often perceived as endless and is taken for granted in many parts of the world is rationed.

View full Jury Statement here.