Olivier Goulet (FR)

Olivier Goulet - SkinBag Corps.EXT

Olivier Goulet’s SkinBag family is made up of synthetic skin, bags, accessories and overgarments with their distinctive folded texture, flexible material, and seamless organic appearance, linked to the way they are cast. You can view the SkinBags as bodily extensions, external organs which serve as holdalls for items we have around us. Covers for computers, cameras, pods and other digital components are multimedia second skins that convey the miniaturisation and fragmentation of computers distributed on the surface and inside of our bodies and which will end up being connected up to our brains. As it becomes neuronal, our skin becomes porous. Meanwhile the overgarments are seen as skins turned back over to reveal our muscles, scalps of a sort that are at once attractive and repulsive, but which conceptually refer back to the idea of moulting. The notion of human mutation is here brought about by the will to take on a new appearance. Our ontological dissatisfaction engenders a desire for a metamorphosis and a perfecting of our current body as exhibited by the skin.

While the traditional garment turns our skin appearance into fabric appearance, the SkinBags seek to look more lifelike. Olivier Goulet is primarily interested, not in the naked being, but in the social being as it appears to others, including our dress and our communicational extensions (money, keys, telephone, organiser…). The SkinBags thus offer our social bodies a novel, paradoxical form of nakedness. The idea is to produce a fresh skin that defines the broader outline of our character and our image. Designed to enter into people’s everyday lives, the SkinBags are marketed notably by design and fashion boutiques. The first SkinBag models looked like supermarket bags, some of them tattooed with brand logos. These corporations contrive to incorporate their logos into our beings as they become identifying, social signs, turning us into shop signs.

These questions within the realm of the visual arts are extended into the fields of bodily expression of performance and dance. In Stavanger, a workshop with the Dance Academy cumulates in a guerilla promotion performance at the opening of the biennale.
In Protected Kisses, two people are encouraged to kiss each other while wearing "face condoms", masks hermetic like sheaths made by taking face casts, and which leave you free to kiss whomever you like with nothing to worry about, but which stop you seeing, feeling, or breathing even. The intimacy is a sham, there is no feeling, the impulse is frustrated… Where does sensation stop and simulation begin? The fictional appearance becomes more alive than the sensation actually felt. The other still remains inaccessible.

It is through the skin and its moultings that these games of fluctuating identities are played—in the installation Please leave your skin in the cloakroom human moultings are hung up in a closet.



Olivier Goulet is a french and german transmedia artist, whose vision is in the crossroads of activism and human design. Through the examination of the emotional body, he decodes the principle of identity. He explored the humanity as a specie in the process of disappearance (Moults, 1993 ; Boxes of hominoid Insects 1998 ; Human Hunting Trophies since 1996), he imagined the mutation of human body, that painful journey from egocentric individualism towards an optimal collective identification and networking (The Relic of bionic man, 2001 ; Brain Rezos 2006 ; Conference « To finish with anthropomorphism », Sorbonne, Paris, 2006). Since 2001, he has worked on the SkinBag project, a synthetic skin, as a metaphorical fusion between biological and digital.