The Millennium ExperienceChronicle of the Future

Meaningful return for art of Sartre

17.08.41: AFTER YEARS of creative inertia, Paris is buzzing.

Nothing truly original has happened here since Gérard de Nerval led his lobster along the streets of the Left Bank on a leash but, suddenly, people are again flocking to the city, this time to see an exhibition that is the talk of European high society.

It is the work of a group of artists, all using different media, who have been collaborating for more than a year on a project that sees a re-merging of philosophy, art and science.

The body of work, entitled Man Makes Himself, resurrects Sartre's precepts of existentialism - the idea that people create themselves and shape their experiences by the choices they make.

It is a daring statement, given that machines now outthink man at every turn.

"Even the most mundane human task is dependent on some kind of machine. We actually feel - and fear - that we can't exist without them," says Dino Mercer, the group's spokesperson.

"Many people feel their lives are not their own, that they are controlled by technology. We are showing that, creatively, we are still free to make our own choices."

Jean-Paul Sartre (right) believed that it was morally wrong to shirk this responsibility. Judging by the heaving crowds in the newly opened cafés around the exhibition, this new group of artists has found a firm following.

"People are bored with doom and gloom," said one spectator. "This work gives you the feeling that you don't have to accept your life the way it is. You have the ability to change things." We all, still, need something to believe in. CS


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