Ludi-cité, PHAKT, Rennes

Ludi-cité, PHAKT, Centre culturel Colombier, Rennes, Janvier 2017

Partie de The Big Conversation Game organisée sur une invitation de Doriane Spiteri et le collectif Contrefaçons
Playing of The Big Conversation Game as part of the exhibition Ludi-cité at PHAKT Cultural Center, at the invitation of Doriane Spiteri and the collective Contrefaçons.


Du 05 janvier au 10 février 2017, (Gildas Paubert, Thomas François et leurs amis) et le collectif Contrefaçons s’associent pour ouvrir au PHAKT Centre Culturel Colombier un lieu dédié à la création vidéoludique. Durant 5 semaines, venez jouer ensemble et, le temps de quelques soirées, échanger autour de ce qui fonde la culture ludique numérique.


From 05 January to 10 February 2017, (Gildas Paubert, Thomas François and their friends) and the collective Contrefaçons join forces to open a place dedicated to video game creation at the PHAKT Colombier Cultural Center. During 5 weeks, come and play together and, for a few evenings, talk about what makes digital play culture.

The Big Conversation Game

The Big Conversation Game is flexible framework designed to encourage PLAYERS to converse freely, openly, playfully, and strategically about a wide variety of topics ranging from the absurd, to the deeply personal, the the darkly pragmatic, to the confusing, and beyond. The Game functions as an interactive parody of democratic communication, consensus, and the “free” market, requiring PLAYERS to develop conversational/bartering strategies that will SATISFY the OTHER PLAYERS.

Through the adoption of the different CONVERSATION MODES described below, PLAYERS are invited to perceive the world “a little bit differently” through experimentation (both collective and individual) in different (and at times contradictory) forms of speaking, performance, decision-making, bartering, listening, arguing, and self-revelation (or denial).



When conversing in this mode, rely on a combination of whim, faith in the unknown, and calculated risk. Review the other Conversation Modes and consider this to be a combination of all, and yet wholly different. Remember that humor, distraction, and misleading are useful tools in shaping chance and securing a better likelihood of obtaining your objectives.

When conversing in this mode, focus on exploiting your knowledge and talents with ruthlessness and an awareness of your opponents’ weaknesses as much as their strengths. Keep your eye on the prize and do whatever it takes to reach your objective.

When conversing in this mode, abandon all sense of rationality and focus on your immediate feelings and reactions to your opponents, while at the same time being sensitive to their needs and unconscious desires. Embrace ambiguity as a repository for subjective interpretation, and do not hesitate to discuss uncertainties, bias, passions, and fears.

When conversing in this mode, be cognizant of the processes by which conclusions are reached and the manner in which truth or accuracy may be proven and determined. Break down your understanding of the topic/situation into units capable of outlining cause and effect with a focus on facts, evidence, and insoluble arguments.

The Big Conversation Game is available for private purchase and for shared play at public or private events and exhibitions (contact us to learn more). Since its first inception in 2012, The Game has brought strangers and friends together through earnest, critical discourse and has been featured in exhibitions and public events on three continents, including:

Art Night SF | United Nations Plaza | San Francisco, USA | October 2015

Plateau de jeux : Nouveau Festival
– Centre Pompidou | Paris, France | April 2015

Cocktail Games – La Ludothèque éphémère du 8, rue Saint-Bon – 8, rue Saint-Bon | Paris, France – July 2015

What the Monkey says no one pays attention to – TCB Gallery | Melbourne, Australia | November 2012

Démons et Merveilles, le Théâtre des Valeurs – Le Village, Galerie Thébault |Bazouges la Pérousse, France | October – December 2012

Les Référents – Galerie Edouard Manet, Ecole des Beaux Arts de Gennevilliers | Gennevilliers, France | November – January 2012

The Big Conversation in Space – Residency Project at Lindre-Basse – Centre d’Art Contemporain de la Synagogue de Delme | Lindre-Basse, France | June – August 2012

The Phoenix Hotel (prototype) – Phoenix Hotel | San Francisco, USA | May 2012

Cocktail Games, La Ludothèque éphémère

Cocktail Games – La Ludothèque éphémère du 8, rue Saint-Bon, 8, rue Saint-Bon, Paris, 2015

In conjunction with the exhibition “Expanding The Field of The Game” (Espace 315, Centre Pompidou, June 18–July 20, 2015), 8 rue Saint-Bon was transformed into an artists’ games club for a couple of weeks. Between Fluxus’ playful experiments, the influence of “gamification” on contemporary occidental societies, and the artists’ desire to create parallel worlds, “Cocktail Games” gathers together all types of games: playing cards; board games; group or single-player activities; fantastical, home-made, nerdy, and cabalistic games. They are on display during the exhibition but are also there to be played, activated and reinvented during weekly events. George Brecht meets Ravensburger!

With games and participation from: Lorraine Châteaux, Amélie Dubois, Timothée Dufresne, Thomas Lannette, Olive Martin & Patrick Bernier, Eliana Otta, Olivia Plender, Matteo Rubbi, The Big Conversation Space, Elsa Werth, Carla Zaccagnini and the collective Lauenen.

Game play furniture designed by Maxime Bondu & Blaise Parmentier

Photos Aurélien Mole / 8, rue Saint-Bon (Paris)

What the Monkey says no one pays attention to

What the Monkey says no one pays attention to

Exhibition curated by Marie Gautier and Clémence de Montgolfier @ TCB Gallery, Melbourne, Australia, November 2012

Through What the Monkey says no one pays attention to, Gautier and de Montgolfier aimed to address the issues of absurd imitation, bodily embarrassment, disregarded discourses, and to embrace the ridicule as a practice in itself.

Some historians argue that the figure of Harlequin in European theater was not inspired by ancient Greece but was a re-make of the traditional figure of the monkey from the Middle Ages in China (based on records of travels at the time). One of the most famous monkeys being Sun Wukong, the Monkey King who appeared prominently as a main character in the 16th century classical Chinese novel Journey to the West. The monkey in these contexts was used as a critic of political authority and power relations. In French, the word “singer”, literally means acting like a monkey, and is used to evoke an action of mimicking to turn something or someone into ridicule. The mask of the Harlequin in Venice becomes a declination of a monkey mask where the figure of the artist-monkey uses mimicry to reveal the shortcomings of the authority in power, becoming a common trope in western theater and cinema.

In this context, What the Monkey says no one pays attention to invites artists, poets, writers, thinkers, singers to take a hold of what they want to say and how they want to move, using already-known forms, formats and bodies to make them say something else. The body is political; the body is shaped by language. By giving legitimacy to illegitimate practices, by taking seriously what is frivolous and by considering the scientific in what is absurd, we want to think again what we believed was already thought through, as only the Monkey can remind us to do.

With A Constructed World, Raul Paulino Baltazar, Chris Corrente, Arthur Fléchard, Dora Garcia, Sharon Goodwin, Anna Hess, Niki Korth, Laith Mc Gregor, Elsa Philippe, Matthew Rana & Eric Garduno, Yann Sérandour, Fabrice Reymond, Speech and What Archive, The Big Conversation Space, Fabien Vallos, and Daniel Yovino

For What the monkey says… TBCS hosted sessions of The Big Conversation Game, inviting visitors to come together and speak freely, whether as Monkeys, dilettantes, or anything in between.


TBCS also contributed a video reading from Franz Kafka’s Report for an Academy (1917)

Phoenix Hotel

Phoenix Hotel Conversations

A video document of conversations hosted by Niki Korth at the Phoenix Hotel in San Francisco, May 2012. Korth asked visitors questions about art, politics, philosophy, everyday life, fantasies, and various other topics and recorded their replies and ensuing conversation. Questions were written down on cards that then formed the base for The Big Conversation Game which, unbeknownst at the time, TBCS would develop the following summer.

This video-documentation was edited and sub-titled in French by Clémence de Montgolfier mere days after it was recorded and files were sent to her in France. The video has similarly been exhibited in France, but not yet in California where it was recorded. It was projected in Mulhouse, France, as parts of the Mulhouse 012 Biennale in 2012, and was shown in Paris during the Jeune Creation exhibition at Cent Quatre in 2014, in a video screening curated by Kevin Senant.


The Big Conversation in Space


The Big Conversation in Space


Projet de résidence à Lindre-Basse | Centre d’Art Contemporain de la Synagogue de Delme | juin-août 2012

Open studios 27 Août 2012


“Depuis 2010, Clémence de Montgolfier et Niki Korth érigent la conversation en art, à travers un projet intitulé The big conversation space. Pour elles, l’art n’a pas de message à transmettre, n’a pas vocation à une quelconque efficacité. Loin de toute rentabilité, c’est une pratique fondamentalement gratuite, libre, non autoritaire, un « espace d’errance langagière ». L’œuvre d’art n’est pas le réceptacle d’un discours préétabli, que le spectateur aurait pour délicate mission de décrypter. L’artiste n’est pas investi d’une mission civilisatrice, il n’a rien à nous apprendre. Il n’est pas détenteur d’un savoir dont l’œuvre d’art constituerait le canal de transmission.

Le travail de Clémence de Montgolfier et Niki Korth consiste avant tout à mettre en place des situations de conversation avec tous ceux qui le souhaitent. Ces conversations peuvent avoir lieu dans des espaces d’exposition, sur internet, par téléphone, par courrier… Elles sont retranscrites sur leur site web, dans le cadre de publications, de journaux… Le spectateur devient partie prenante du travail, il est inclus, c’est un sujet actif du dispositif auquel il participe pleinement.

La conversation comme œuvre d’art ouvre la possibilité d’une parole et d’un type de discours résolument non autoritaires. C’est dans l’échange, dans l’espace qui se crée entre deux ou plusieurs personnes qu’une forme de savoir non hiérarchique peut se mettre en place. Les artistes proposent des sujets de conversations aussi variés que : la démocratie, le féminisme, les super héros… et tout autre thème peut leur être proposé.

Outre les conversations, les deux artistes soumettent des questionnaires dont elles compilent scrupuleusement les réponses ; elles en tirent diagrammes, camemberts et statistiques à la précision redoutable. Elles réalisent également des enquêtes sur commande. A travers les typologies de l’enquête et du questionnaire, elles appliquent ad absurdum la logique du langage administratif et bureaucratique. L’objectivité affichée de leurs outils d’analyse ne cache pourtant pas leurs limites, et le rendu des données laisse transparaître une part d’artisanat largement assumée.

Dans le cadre de leur résidence à Lindre-Basse, Clémence de Montgolfier et Niki Korth proposent de concevoir un jeu de société, d’éditer un journal avec des retranscriptions de conversations et de mettre en scène une pièce de théâtre à partir d’un scénario écrit récemment. Robot Demos raconte l’histoire d’un robot que divers personnages tentent de s’approprier : une analyste, une scientifique, une journaliste, une activiste, une capitaliste… projettent l’une après l’autre leurs désirs sur ce double machinique…”

Marie Cozette



Residency project at Lindre-Basse | Centre d’Art Contemporain de la Synagogue de Delme | June – August 2012

Open studios 27 August 2012

Text read by Marie Cozette, Director of the Contemporary Art Centre La Synagogue de Delme, on the closing reception/open studio event for the residency:

Since 2010,Clémence de Montgolfier and Niki Korth have been raising the conversation in art through a project entitled The Big Conversation Space. For them, art has no message to convey, and is not intended to be effective. Far from being profitable, it is a fundamentally gratuitous, free, non-authoritarian practice, a space of linguistic wandering. The work of art is not the receptacle of a pre-established discourse, which the spectator would have the delicate task of deciphering. The artist is not invested with a civilizing mission, s/he has nothing to teach us. S/he does not possess a knowledge of which the work of art constitutes the channel of transmission.

The work of Clémence de Montgolfier and Niki Korth consists above all of setting up situations of conversation with all those who wish it. These conversations can take place in exhibition spaces, on the internet, by telephone, by mail … They are transcribed on their website, in the framework of publications, newspapers … The spectator becomes part of the work, It is an active subject of the device to which it fully participates.

Conversation as a work of art opens up the possibility of a resolutely non-authoritarian speech and type of discourse. It is in the exchange, in space created between two or more people, that a form of non-hierarchical knowledge can be put in place. The artists offer subjects of conversations as varied as: democracy, feminism, superheroes … and any other theme can be proposed to them.

In addition to the conversations, the two artists submit questionnaires whose scrupulous answers they compile; They draw diagrams, camemberts and statistics with a formidable precision. They also conduct custom surveys. Through the typologies of the survey and the questionnaire, they apply ad absurdum to the logic of administrative and bureaucratic language. The displayed objectivity of their analysis tools does not hide their limitations, and the rendering of the data reveals a share of craftsmanship largely assumed.

As part of their residence in Lindre-Basse, Clémence de Montgolfier and Niki Korth propose to design a board game, edit a newspaper with transcripts of conversations and stage a play based on a scenario written recently. Robot Demos tells the story of a robot that various characters try to appropriate: an analyst, a scientist, a journalist, an activist, a capitalist … all project their desires one after the other on this double machine…”

During this residency, TBCS produced The Green Book, a hybrid of non-fiction and science-fiction, composed of transcribed interviews and imaginary conversations with artists, parents, and clones, and created the first version of The Big Conversation Game, a discursive board game that aims to make friends close and enemies closer,  all of which were launched at the open studio event. Additionally, visitors were invited to complete surveys, watch videos, and engage in chat experiment that utilized the shortcomings of using Google translate for instantaneous translation between French and English to foster the connections that emerge when language breaks, against the backdrop of a green screen through which they would later be transposed onto scenes of outer space. Hence, the Big Conversation in Space.

Example Conversation in Space, with Agathe Borgne of CAC Synagogue de Delme and TBCS.

Photos credit: Agathe Borgne, CAC Synagogue de Delme











Démons et Merveilles

Démons et Merveilles, le Théâtre des Valeurs

7 October – 16 December 2012
Curateurs associés Alexandra Roger et Arnaud Vérin // Curated by Alexandra Roger and Arnaud Vérin

FR //
Exposition réalisée dans le cadre de l’éco-musée, organisé par Le Village, site d’expérimentation artistique à Bazouges la Pérousse, galerie Thébault, France.

Exhibition carried out within the framework of the eco-museum, organized by Le Village, site of artistic experimentation in Bazouges la Pérousse, Gallery Thébault, France.

For this exhibition, TBCS shared The Big Conversation Game, hosting a few play sessions and also installing the game for visitors to activate on their own.



Les Référents

Les Référents

Galerie Edouard Manet, Ecole des Beaux Arts de Gennevilliers

28 November 2012 – 26 January 2013, curated by Etienne Bernard & Aurélien Mole.

Photos : Aurélien Mole.

Exposition et activation du jeu The Big Conversation Game / Exhibition and activation of The Big Conversation Game.