On Oct 17, 2012, I was invited to give a talk about “Complexity and Intuition” for the TEDx event of Columbia Engineering. I introduced the audience to my long-time rivalry with Emmanuel Desmazieres, a classmate from middle school. Our rivalry led us to collaborate on several art projects and we eventually became very close friends.
I designed this sculpture in 2008 and it was exhibited at La Biennale of architecture in Venice, Italy that same year.
This sculpture was designed by an algorithm that feeds itself with data extracted from the stock market. In other words, it is a 3D visualization of something that has no physical existence — the stock market.
The ambition of this website is to entertain its visitors, mostly from a visual perspective, and engage conversations.
It is divided into two categories: my “Works” (things that I actually did) and my “Blog” (things that I did not do). Please feel free to comment on any entry, discussing — and arguing — is much fun to me.
The imaginative illustrator Coneyl Jay did this fantastic drawing of a fantasized future of nanotechnology: nano-robots — abbreviated “nanobots” — doing something (not sure what, though) on red blood cells.
For one thing, a red blood cell is a few microns large (one micron is a millionth of a meter) so a nanobot should be 1,000 times smaller than that to qualify as a “nano” thing.
The role of inflammation is stimulating scientists, whether it is in cancer of infections.
Recently, some researchers showed that, in mice, taking some Ibuprofen — a common drug to treat inflammations — helps fighting tuberculosis infections, a deadly disease still widely spread in developing countries.
So, last year there was some big news in cancer research. A team at Oxford in the UK led by Peter Rothwell found that people who take “baby aspirin” (80 mg) everyday have 40% less chance to develop cancer tumors.
Considering the efforts made on the war on cancer since the National Cancer Act in 1971, it is quite ironic that one preventive medicine for cancer might just be our 100-year old favorite aspirin.
Battiston and his colleagues just published a beautiful paper in Nature about our banking system. They offer a new way to evaluate the “systemic risk” — i.e. the risk that several banks collapse all together — by looking at data freshly made available by the FED for the 2007–2010 period.
So I would like to present here in worldwide (web) exclusivity a possible future for smoking.
We all like to believe that shisha smoking is more cool and less dangerous than cigarette smoking. After all, shisha does not have a big “Smoking kills” label on its side.
In 1960, when asked what she wears in bed, Marilyn Monroe answered “CHANEL no 5″.
It was too good of a story — CHANEL just made this beautiful commercial using the bewitching song by Avia, Westernize.
What do you wear in bed?
Each time there is the word “quantum”, it seems that we are approaching a new truth…
This time, it is nothing less than the discovery of our own soul. This hilarious article reports a theory by two scientists, Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose, who say that our soul resides in some proteins of our neurons.
This is how Andre Malraux defined Charles De Gaulle. De Gaulle was indeed raised by ultra-conservative catholic parents who did not celebrate July 14 and, yet, he built our 5th republic.
Yesterday, I attended a talk by Jonathan Fenby at the Maison Francaise at Columbia University.
Yesterday, I went to Ignite’s event about “Big Data”. A dozen speakers came to tell a story during 5 min each about surprising things we find in data. In particular, James Patten showed a few examples of art inspired by big data… Listening to James made me feel a bit like Monsieur Jourdain in Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme by Moliere (17th century): I actually did a sculpture based on big data without knowing it.
So as it turns out, matchmaking is a fancy science that is not only applied to dating: it is also used to match interns with hospitals for instance. This year, 2012, Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley won the Nobel prize “for the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design”.
Two words that are not used very often together are “eroticism” and “architecture”.
Erotic architecture is a dangerous association though because what comes to mind first is probably all these phallic structures shown for instance in this blog. Yet, phallic structures are to architecture what sex is to love — sensuality is another world.
Reality TV is only about one thing for either the contestants or the audience: figuring out who is REALLY fake and who is REALLY real.
In the summer of 2009, I had the opportunity to work for Nanobiotix, a Paris-based biotechnology company that was developing a new cancer treatment using nanoparticles.
When I was at Nanobiotix, the hope was that within tumors, their nanoparticles would amplify the effect of X-rays.
There are many reasons facebook users evoke for their addiction to THE social network (stay in touch with friends, finding old friends, stalking a romantic interest, etc.) but you may be interested in hearing another one.
The more friends you have on Facebook, the smarter you might be.
In 2009, I elaborated the financial model and the business plan of a boutique eco-friendly hotel in Brazil, between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
The hotel is part of a farm in the beautiful mountains of Sao Paulo state. There, you can drink the coffee and eat the food produced locally by the farm.
I made this sculpture in 2011. With it, I wanted the audience’s relationship to water to be challenged in a dynamic and interactive way.
Using pivoting “superhydrophobic” panels — that repel water to the point where water drops behave as spheres — the audience is able to create any shape and any water sculpture.
Structures — whether we are talking about engines, planes, or bridges — may break if they are subject to a high number of force cycles (everyone has experienced that by folding and unfolding a paper clip several times). This failure is called “fatigue” and was first documented in the 19th century by Rankine about the railroads.
In 2008, I participated in the eVolo competition. eVolo is a competition where the “building of the future” has to be imagined — the best design wins.
With 3 friends, we re-designed New York. For us, the building of the future was made of a spider-like network of buildings relying on top of the current skyscrapers of Manhattan.
In 2012, I participated in the competition Festival des Architectures Vives in Montpelier (France).
With 2 friends, we designed a structure that is inspired by the concept of local equilibrium in physics. In Physics, a given system can be in a “local” equilibrium, waiting for an external event to reach a new state of equilibrium, usually more stable.
I made these sculptures by accident in 2010.
These structures, called microtubules asters, measure a few dozens of micrometers (one millionth of a meter). They are made of proteins called “microtubules”. These are the same proteins that serve as “highways” for the molecular machines kinesins.
Public service is of the utmost importance in France and Paris makes no exception. The City Hall of Paris will take care of your babies for you.
With 6,600 employees working in the 350 childcare centers of the capital, serving Parisian babies is the biggest public service and managing it from a centralized bureau is a nightmare.
I made this sculpture out of steel in 2011. It is inspired by molecular biology.
Actin filaments and microtubules are two filamentous protein structures that act as a skeleton for living cells (microtubules serve as highway for the molecular machines kinesins).
In 2005, I founded Heliotopia, a French non-profit composed of engineers that aims at solving specific issues in a remote village in Burkina Faso, Africa.
So far, Heliotopia has managed to bring electricity to a village and is now working on bringing safe drinking water and building a school in the same village.
Movie extracted from “The inner life of a cell”, by Biovisions at Harvard University.
Evolution has designed the most sophisticated and smallest machine: the motor protein “kinesin”. In all of our cells, kinesins are able to walk on proteins called “microtubules”.