Interview with Jacques Bigot, 09.05.2019

See also: Piazzetta Paris

Jacques Bigot participated in Piazzetta Paris, held at the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie in Paris, where he still works today.

Interviewer: All right. So, again, thank you very much for giving us this interview on a short notice. Why don’t we start by talking a little bit about the place where all this happened in the museum? Can you say a little bit about how you, you know why the piazzetta in Paris was in the science museum?

Jacques Bigot: Can you repeat also? Yeah.

Interviewer: Why – how come that the piazza Paris was in the science museum? Because you work there so…

Jacques Bigot: Yeah. So, it happened there because this scientific, I work at the „Cité des sciences et de l’industrie“. I repeat. I work at the „Cité des sciences et de l’industrie“ in Paris. And this museum is involved in all the new technology and new project. And I thought it was a good place to start this Piazza, Piazzetta virtuale in Paris and it was the right place to do this. So, yes.

Interviewer: How many people were involved in the piazzetta? It was you and?

Jacques Bigot: So, I had to make the connection between the museum and the more artistic part of the group. And the main group as I remember it was some people were coming from (unclear), from a place which is called (unclear) with David (unclear), Stefano (unclear) I remember. And another artist, which is called Eric (unclear) and it was also managed by Christian (unclear) who was the – yes, really involved in all this project especially with, in – and another project which is called University TV brought here and there was a deeper relationship because the piazza and this university project. So, I worked also within on a technical size and yeah, so we continued with the piazza.

Interviewer: What was museum’s reaction when they heard about these plans?

Jacques Bigot: They were completely surprised but they say, “What is it? It’s a little bit special. What can we do with this?” But so, I said, “Let’s try because we must try new system and we have to do this.” And at the very beginning, they didn’t know what is it exactly but after that they were really proud to be part of this – the new technology aspect of this project and so on.

Interviewer: And museum is a public place, there’s usually an audience, the visitors but there was never any plan to involve them in any of the activities?

Jacques Bigot: There was people coming there and they were curious just to, to, yeah, they were in some way involved but they were looking at the performance, artistic performance. This kind of artistic performance were of course quite unusual in this more scientific place, because it was in the scientific newsroom of the museum. So, usually we talk about news about the science but not about art. But it was good to do this in this place because this museum talk about science but also industry, technology and the piazza was the right place to do this for sure.

Interviewer: And you’ve mentioned the performances by the artist, now the special thing of course about Piazza virtuale was that you had this interaction with the callers. Did they take advantage of it or did they just use it to present their performance that they would otherwise do in a physical space?

Jacques Bigot: Sorry. My English is not…

Interviewer: What was special about Piazza virtuale was that you had the callers. You had people calling in and there was a possibility to interact with them.

Jacques Bigot: Yes, yes.

Interviewer: Did the artists take advantage of it or did they just do the performance?

Jacques Bigot: No, no. Yes, there was of course interactivity because it was the grand idea I think about the Piazza. And it was this (laughs), it was really difficult to do because at this moment there was no internet, no – now it’s of course easy but at this moment, we had to build completely a special system with ISDN lines. There was no internet cable and everything common now. And it was really difficult even in this scientific museum to get the right stuff to do this. I had to check the thing. And even technical people, other technical people from the museum didn’t – they say, “Yeah, okay. I can manage about this,” but they didn’t really know how to do this or there was a lot of trouble to start this thing. But after, it happened and it worked and it worked really and – and at the end they were really proud to do (laughs) these things.

Interviewer: Did you also use the picture telephone? Because…

Jacques Bigot: Yes. It’s yeah. It was a little bit really like chaotic at the beginning but yeah, sometimes it worked. Yeah.

Interviewer: Sometimes it worked?

Jacques Bigot: Sometimes (laughs).

Interviewer: Because on the one hand I think it was you know very smart to use this because you know it’s like streaming for the internet. There was no other way to do it.

Jacques Bigot: Yeah.

Interviewer: At the same time the visual quality was…

Jacques Bigot: Yeah, that’s it. But…

Interviewer: What were your thoughts on that?

Jacques Bigot: And yeah. So, I remember also I did – I used to do video, mix video for this scientific museum. I had a big mixing desk with a lot of pictures. And so, I made for the local people, a big mix from picture coming from every, from you or from everywhere, from also Piazza. And also, different satellites images. And yes, and I remember I used so, it was in this scientific museum and there was some transmission from space station „Mir”, from the space with astronaut.
And also, on the networks, video networks. I found some sex video and I made a mix with the astronaut in the space and this video some in an artistic way. But of course, in the museum, people were really surprised because on the monitors there was one with the art sex picture but yeah it was the, a funny part of the things. And I think, I’m not sure you have to ask the part to David who did after the space station „Mir” as I told you but in my memory, I think that he get the name of his institution from this event that we did together in Paris for the, yeah (laughs).

Interviewer: And do you remember any of these performances in particular?

Jacques Bigot: It’s difficult to – you know it was a mixture of video piano, but it is difficult to say more on that. I will have to (laughs). Yeah.

Interviewer: And you said you started out with radio or with Pirate Radio?

Jacques Bigot: Myself? So, for my own story, I started before Pirate Radio with official radio. And after I switched to Pirate Radio, really more interesting and just I think in the same spirit with a project like the Piazza, yeah?

Interviewer: Ja. That was what I was going to ask. Is there anything?

Jacques Bigot: Yeah, yeah.

Interviewer: How would you describe the connection between Pirate Radio on the one end and Piazza virtuale on the other hand? What’s the common spirit?

Jacques Bigot: For me, it’s – to try to do new thing to explore other areas than the one we use to explore usually we do, people do always the same thing in TV show or very classic things. And with Piazza it was a mix also with, we were of course really interested about all the way to make interactive programme with all this satellite and ISDN connection. It was really exactly ideas to what…

Interviewer: Wasn’t the idea behind Pirate Radio was also of course that anybody can make their own radio or their own media and with Piazza virtuale, you are the same?

Jacques Bigot: Yeah. That’s it. Yeah.

Interviewer: Can you elaborate on that?

Jacques Bigot: Sorry, just now I’m not so much – yeah.

Interviewer: If you think about it today, what do you think is a long-term legacy of that project?

Jacques Bigot: So, I think this project is some – in some way the very beginning of all the internet, all the things we do now. These things which begin to be common to make some interaction. Now it’s easy but at the very beginning it was this project and yeah.

Interviewer: Would you say that Piazza virtuale was a social medium today we call Facebook or Twitter social media? Do you think it was in the same?

Jacques Bigot: Yes, of course. The – it’s probably the – for me the very first social, it was for me the very first social media really a lot of years before all this Facebook and actual system, yeah.

Interviewer: And what does it mean for you personally to have been involved in the project for your career, for your development?

Jacques Bigot: What can I say? It was very important because it was the starting of all this new kind of thinking about technology. And because I’m involved in this, of course it was important for me to do this. And even now I profit off this.

Interviewer: But the only way to be able to see that in France was via (Olympus? #00:14:20-8#) satellite. It was never on television.

Jacques Bigot: No, no, not this Piazza, no. It was – and of course on the local place in the museum we had beamers and with a lot of people coming here to see it or to participate directly but, on the place, yes.

Interviewer: Was there a language barrier at that time in French and for the English?

Jacques Bigot: I don’t. Yes of course with the French people, as me (laughs) English is not so good. So, of course this is a problem but I think the Piazza project was so rich with picture combination even if you don’t understand everything with the language, with the language of pictures and movies and action performance, you, I think you can get an idea because it was really, there was the visual aspect – the visual aspect was really important in the Piazza. So, even with the yeah, so with the language of course this is a barrier but not so important I think.

Interviewer: Okay. Thank you very much.