Les femmes savantes


Nicole Croiset


January 6 to February 11, 2007


Les femmes savantes

“In my work (…) inspired by Molière’s famous comedy, I attempt to capture the centuries-old image of women in their quest for science and knowledge.” Having plainly stated the basis of her project, Nicole Croiset undertakes its very contemporary demonstration with means available to the modern woman.

Five panels made of compact disks provide a reactive, epidermal surface animated by LEDs (light-emitting diodes) blinking randomly. These lights focus as the spectator approaches and launch the display of a looped sequence of words: FEMMES SAVANTES FEMMES DE SAVOIR-FAIRE SAVOIR DE FEMMES (LEARNED WOMEN, WOMEN OF HABILITY, WOMEN’S KNOWLEDGE). The word string’s reiterative and intermingling effect evokes the constant flow that characterizes the history of women’s progress. This interactive work cannot be read accurately until this luminous chaos of information is organized into an
articulated discourse capable of defining its object.

A short film projected simultaneously reveals the identities of the specific women of science alluded to indistinctly in the string of words. The portraits of Hypatie, Émilie du Châtelet, Ada Byron and Marie Curie illustrate the theme, with a didactic intent that the artist fully recognizes.

By linking the image of the “learned woman” to innovative procedures and well-documented inventions, Nicole Croiset reminds us that the recognition of women in science remains precarious, as even today the history of science is written without them. Nonetheless, with the right point of view and a wide perspective, we can realize that in all fields of knowledge—philosophical, artistic or scientific— women have transgressed their exclusion to claim their place and leave their mark on society.

As a model of a multiple approach combining technological constructs with intellectual inquiry, this interactive work is in itself a laboratory for the artist seeking to claim her place in the field of digitally assisted explorations.


Nicole Croiset produces works in various media, including video, computer graphics, synthesis image and interactive multimedia installations. She has participated in many national and international events, notably Images du futur in Montréal and Rencontres Arts Électroniques 4 in Rennes (France). Le Labo, la Galerie Glendon and Bravo-Est have displayed her more recent works. She will be represented in WARCK, Women’s Art and Feminist Revolution at the MOCA in Los Angeles in 2007.

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