Digital creation

Grégory Chatonsky

Machines are capable of making realistic images that are based not on light, as with photography, but on our memories.

Grégory Chatonsky is an artist and research who explores identity and new narratives emerging from the internet. An artist, theoretician and professor, he is presenting the device Internes at CHRONIQUES, the Biennale of Digital Imagination.

Published on 19/11/2020

2 min

At the age of fourteen, Grégory Chatonsky discovered the role of technology in modernity at the exhibition Les Immatériaux at the Centre Pompidou in 1985. With a degree in philosophy and visual art, as well as a master’s in multimedia from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, he focuses his work and research on the internet, not as an instrumental technology but as a medium in its own right. In 1994, he founded Incident.net, one of the first net.art collectives in France, becoming one of the movement’s pioneers. In 1999, the CD-ROM Mémoires de la déportation, made for the Villa Medici website, won the Möbius Prize. As a theoretician, Chatonsky has been International Chair of Research at the Université de Paris VIII since 2015 and has worked as an artist and researcher at the École Normale Supérieure since 2017.

From his early career, when he produced the series Dislocation (2001) and explored the chaos of destruction, to his interest in artificial imagination, the artist has used the Web as a source of thought. The topics he addresses relate to the disappearance of our civilisation, obsolescence and the hyperproduction of data. In this context, the network appears as “an attempt to create a monument in advance that could continue on after we are gone”. Exploring the hypermnesia of our times, he produced the installation Our Memory (2015), featuring images taken from the internet, a damaged hard drive and a video composed of clips of apocalyptic video games. Since 2015 the artist has been exploring artificial imagination, or the machine’s capacity to produce images, sounds and text using data accumulated on the Web. Terre Seconde (2019) is an evolving installation, the content of which has been generated by a machine. 

Chatonsky has been guest artist and professor at the Chinese Offshore School in Shanghai and at the UQAM in Montréal, Canada. He has completed around some twenty residencies around the world, including at the C3 in Budapest, Hungary in 1999, where he collaborated with Reynald Drouhin, and at the Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto, Japan in 2013 where he worked with Goliath Dyèvre, with whom he later had a residency in Taluhwen among the Wayana people in Guyana in 2017. He has taken part in numerous individual and collective exhibitions in France, Canada and elsewhere in the world.

  • 1971


    Grégory Chatonsky is born in Paris.

  • 1994


    He founds the artist collective Incident.net, which works on the concepts of flux, accidents, bugs and networks.

  • 1999


    He wins the Möbius Prize for the CD-ROM “Mémoires de la déportation”.

  • 2002


    Artist in residence at the Abbaye de Fountevraud then at the Villa Medici on a roaming basis.

  • 2014


    Laureate at the Villa Kujoyama, Kyoto.

  • 2019


    Chatonsky is made Artistic Director of a course in research and creation at Artec and Artistic Director at the Centre de Recherche Imago.

The Institut francais and the artist

With Internes, Grégory Chatonsky is programmed as part of Chroniques, the Biennale of Digital Imagination (taking place from 12 November 2020 to 17 January 2021). The Institut français is a partner of Chroniques with the Focus digital arts and creations. 

Find out more about the Focus digital arts and creations.


L'institut français, LAB