At the end of his Residencie in Zuidpool, Laurent Delom presents a performance as try out of his app 'Silicon Mountain'.
There are a few different ways to introduce “Silicon Mountain” as he explains the project through four narratives.
First, a fictional encounter between French geographer Elisée Reclus and tech-specialist Nir Eyal. What brings them together over their century difference is a similar faith that technology is bound to human progress and social benefits. The starting point of their conversation would have been : how to use the internet technology to enhance our relationship with nature? During that encounter, Reclus -the nature explorer, the wanderer- would have brought up the spirituals benefits of spending time in contemplation of nature. The resulting product of this fictional encounter is, in 2020, the Contemplation-of-Nature App, designed for those longing for a meaningful contact with nature, while accessing the experience easily and from the comfort of their homes.
Another approach is Laurent Delom’s desire for the App to be brought to the public in the frame of a performance, by way of which he aims to convey the necessary critical apparatus. The context of an artistic institution can be one way of providing the first frame for approaching the project critically. He feels that such an App proposition is problematic and it is its critique that interests him the most. In his views the critique will deal with our galloping distanciation from the land, the commodification (or «pocketability») of our environments, and our obscene relationship to images.
The creation of the App all started with an intuition Laurent had two years ago. That the state of deep absorption he has experienced in contemplation of a mountainous landscape was the same as the state of absorption induced by infinite scrolling (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest…) on the screen of his smartphone. From there, the ominous intuition that the second might be able to recreate the first.
One final way of entering the Silicon Mountain project would be to imagine a digital archive of certain chosen aspects of our terrestrial experience that are in «danger of extinction» (swimming in clear waters, the smell of a forest after the rain, a solitary walk in the mountains, waves rolling on clean shores). In this project, Silicon Mountain is about encoding the impressions and feelings of contemplating virgin nature, which are considered essential to our human condition- and storing those on the cloud. It could be for future generations or… for the first pioneers on planet Mars…