David Chavalarias lives and works in Paris, FR
History is a constant state of flux channeled by social groups and their leaders. As a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research CNRS in Paris, I try to understand the groups we form, how they evolve, how we shape them, and how in turn they shape us. This approach is rooted in my astonishment over the extreme nature of certain social events, such as the 1994 Rwandan genocide, during which a significant portion of the population engaged in brutal violence against fellow citizens.
From Brexit in 2016 to the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the United States Capitol in Washington D.C., the accession to power of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil (2018), and Viktor Orbàn in Hungary (2010), we have witnessed in recent years a gradual weakening of democratic institutions accompanied by the rise of populism and fascist thinking. Through an interdisciplinary approach that is both scientific and intuitive, Shifting Collectives (2022) allows us to perceive the invisible social and cognitive structures that shape our identities and collective action by providing us with the necessary reflexivity to understand this ongoing social decohesion.
Turning to the last five years of the French political landscape as a field of observation, I use images, video, and sound to show the degradation of democratic values and the trivialization of xenophobia and ethnic nationalism. This work is based on methodologies I have developed with my team at the Institut des Systèmes Complexes de Paris Île-de-France using the politoscope, a device to observe political activism on Twitter based on hundreds of millions of social interactions. This macroscope offers a bird’s-eye view of the collectives that drive our societies, providing tangible evidence of France’s recent slide into populism and the growing influence of right-wing extremism on political discourse.
Réseaux-mondes, 2022, Le centre national d’art et de culture Georges-Pompidou, Paris (FR)
Politoscope: La présidentielle de 2017 au macroscope, 2022, Multivac (online)
Le Rêve des Formes, 2017, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (FR)
Climate Tweetoscope, 2015, Places&Spaces (online)
Science Phylomemy: The Rise and Fall of Scientific Fields, 2013, Places&Spaces (online)