Anaïs Tondeur, a visual artist based in Paris, was artist-in-residence at Artlink from the 12th till the 30th of August 2018. She is a graduate of Central Saint Martin's School and the Royal College of Art, London. Her art practice has included collaborations with anthropologists, philosophers, oceanographers and geophysicists and explores the interface between sense and science, fact and fiction. Her work dissolves the boundary between art and science, creating a mysterious and lyrical journey which traces absence, memory and loss.
Through installations, drawings, early photographic techniques and digital processes, her work carries a sense of history, time and perception. Her use of 19th century processes is a nod to an age when the scientist was also an inventor, an artist, or an explorer.
Her practice is anchored in an investigation of fiction as a transformative tool - “Fiction gives us the power to participate in the construction of other possible futures,” says Tondeur, “to build or project ourselves, to test and embody other models in response to ecological crisis.”
She has undertaken residencies at institutions such as CERN, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, and the Hydrodynamics Laboratory at the Ecole Polytechnique. Although her work emerges from within a scientific tradition of research and experimentation, running throughout her practice is a critique of the time-honoured technique of empirical observation. She questions the limits of what we can see with our eyes, pushing at the boundaries of scientific knowledge.
In 2014 she invented an island, later known as Nuuk - the Greenlandic term for ‘promontory’ or ‘headland’. Over a period of two years she worked with philosophers, physicists, oceanographers and geologists, researching this fictional place, using it as a springboard to reflect on the Anthropocene, the term coined for the new geological epoch, when the impacts of our civilisation on the earth and its ecosystems have outstripped our understanding of them. Through an image making process combining digital and analogue techniques, she unveiled the brief history of humanity’s interaction with Nuuk: from a serendipitous encounter in the early 18th century by a French naval officer to its rediscovery in 1948 by a Nordic nation. Yet none of the expeditions succeeded in surveying the island in its entirety because a deep fog covered Nuuk. She was struck by the similarities between Dunree and what she imagined to exist on Nuuk and hopes to use the residency at Fort Dunree to explore what was behind the fog.