Langue des bois


Karine Bonneval and Shoï exhibition

From November 19 to 20, 2022

Antre Peaux – Houlocène


Open from 3pm to 7pm

Plant oneself to take the time to listen to the vegetal oracle.


A rug makes an alcove for three Ficus. Installed on this rug, the feet symbolically planted in the ground, the spectators can observe the response of the trees to different questions: questions we want to ask them, on themselves, on oneself, on its relationships. The questions make the plants vibrate, a vibration specific to each plant individual and to each question. This shiver, visible on a screen in front of the rug is translated in sounds: it is the “response” of the trees. Enigmatic, the phonemes produced constitute a language potentially understandable by all living beings. The tree becomes oracle.

Edouardo Kohn writes in “Comment pensent les forêts" that the characteristic of the living is its capacity to interpret distinct categories of signs. Since the air movements are used and sensed by humans and trees, might tools be created, then used as “translators” of the human speech to transcribe to the trees? To feel in its rustling modulations what the tree wants “to tell us”?

Langue des Bois is an interior proposal to imagine an inter-species dialogue, a partial and imperfect experimental form. The installation is above all an excuse to spend time in the company of plants, observe and listen to what produces a potential interaction with them. The vibratory signal sent to the tree does not guarantee a complete “reception” of the plant subject. Likewise, the reaction and the response transposition system would not satisfy a cartesian being, rather interrogating the free and open spirit by its poetry. Thus, the coordinates transposed in a sound flow form, instead of an anthropomorphised response, an oracle, that by definition remain obscure for the one who comes to listen to it. Which could be the plant response to the human interrogations is an imperfect translator, an invitation to introspection.



Shoï is a musician artist, video maker, plastic artist, performer, and researcher since 1987.

Out of the ordinary, from the music said “industrial”, he produced an unreleased summary of works crossing electronic and electroacoustic music, to develop multimedia form creative meetings. Thirty soundtracks, a dozen video, close to six hundred performances, cine concerts, as well as sound installation often interactive, define his route. He realizes studio recorded albums named “B.O. Imaginaires”, soundtracks of films that do not exist… The concert and studio collaborations favour the improvisation and the hands-on experience. They are determining for him and take the place in an electronic and electroacoustic device, original and personal evolutive, permitting to adapt to meetings as much instrumental as Buto dance (Trio Outre). The sounds weave, are contextualised, seep in deeply in the spectators to become narrative.


Karine Bonneval

Karine Bonneval proposes through her work ways to be of this world common between plants and humans, what Baptiste Morizot calls an “interspecies diplomacy”. In her installations, the public is immersed in a world with organic and fictional forms where hybridisations between art and sciences maliciously divert the technology to propose pieces of which the aesthetic is born of the handmade, of the vernacular. Her work on the plants leads her to construct rhizomatic projects that involve different universe people, botanists, gardeners, cooks, and inhabitants of the places where she is invited to create. Developing projects to breathe with the tree, move with the plants, listen to the earth, the artist imagines installations to experiment as many translators to live a shared time with the plants, dialoguing with the air, the ground, the gravity.  Dans ses installations, le public est plongé dans un monde aux formes organiques et fictionnelles où les hybridations entre arts et sciences détournent parfois malicieusement la technologie pour proposer des pièces à l’esthétique née du fait main, du vernaculaire.  Son travail sur les plantes l’amène à construire des projets rhizomatiques qui impliquent des personnes de différents univers, botanistes, jardinier·es, cuisinier·es et habitant·es des lieux où elle est invitée à créer. En développant des projets pour respirer avec l’arbre, bouger avec les plantes, écouter la terre, l’artiste imagine des installations à expérimenter comme autant de traducteurs pour vivre un temps partagé avec les plantes, en dialogue avec l’air, le sol, la gravité.