R&Sie(n) is a Paris-based architectural office established in 1993 by François Roche and Stéphanie Lavaux. Through these activities and the use of advanced technologies, R&Sie(n) produce cross-disciplinary art covering for example the relationship between robotics, mathematics, neurobiology, and biochemistry, in order to renegotiate and rearticulate science, environment, and human nature.
In 2005, R&Sie(n) staged “I’ve heard about” at Paris’ Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition was a piece of research on how visitors simulate a “self-forming city as an extension of the human body.” One of the indoor exhibits, Hypnotic Chamber, has been adapted as an outdoor exhibit for installation in Art Square. The adapted artwork allows the visitor to experience peculiar physical sensations in a fictional city by undergoing hypnosis.
The experience harks back to the movement known as Somnambulism. The unusual state of consciousness labeled hypnosis or magnetism in the first half of the 19th century had been an attempt to develop spaces of freedom, egalitarian social projects unable to be perceived and explored except in this state. Confronted by the impossibility of modifying the mechanisms of the tangible, political world, this pre-feminist movement strove to create a different and distanced layer of existence somewhere out of reach. Although the movement was demonized and treated as charlatanism, nevertheless all of premodern reformist thought drew on it. Hypnotic Chamber works as a trans-door, suggesting a way to travel in the “I’ve heard about” experiment.
※Photo: SASAHARA kiyoaki
R&Sie(n) (currently New-Territories) is an architectural agency represented by a transgender avatar with François Roche as her/ his personal secretary. The studio was co-founded by Roche and Stéphanie Lavaux in 1993 in Paris (France), joined by Kiuchi Toshikatsu as their main collaborator from 2009 to 2012, specifically on hypnotic chamber opus 2. New-Territories seeks to transform our perception of the spaces we inhabit and that psychologically inhabit us. They have participated several times in the Venice Architecture Biennale and many other international exhibitions and events.