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Typologie du Virtuel

In ‘Typologie du virtuel’, Thibault Brunet explores France through Google Earth. Via GPS, telephone and tablets, satellite imagery has greatly changed our use of space. Through its all-embracing character, the international navigation tool GE(1) tends to overshadow the fact that it is a patchwork, resulting from a quantity of thumbnails or vignettes submitted by thousands of users. Potential interaction with this data bank is instrumental as well as creative. In this sense GE presents similarities with the online video games that Thibault Brunet has explored exclusively up until now(2). A community of users is generated connected by information sharing. The most passionate of them also sustain a blog to keep abreast of data bank updates, Google Maps Mania(3).

‘Virtual World Typology’ partly uses the oscillation caused by the enormous and imprecise use of this information. Thibault Brunet selects fragments from a virtual world coproduced by multiple individuals. The data updates do not reflect any identifiable objective. The images in this series were produced from buildings located in peri-urban areas and reproduced in 3D by GE users. Shopping centres, social housing and major commercial company towers fall within a global architectural typology, lacking in any connection to the region. The artist entrenches them in a specific space and time by adding a defined drop shadow according to the day and time of their production. He recontextualises the image by relating it to the first manufacturer‘s action and forms a new intermediary by joining a collective creative chain. The shadow is the context, the creation of a projection space vanishing into the mist that the artist compares to a ‘digital cloud’,(4) where buildings seem to emerge like pop-ups.

Through the title of his series, a cataloguing principle lacking in personal expression and a composition dictated by a fixed protocol (choice of shadow and dominant colour defined by the objective modeling file data), Thibault Brunet clearly refers to the ‘anonymous sculptures’ or ‘industrial building typologies’ produced by the photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher. The reference to these images, ‘symbols of an outstanding period in industry’,(5) is by no means insignificant at a time when we increasingly dream about the stock of dormant information represented by ‘Big Data’ and about the chance to analyse it for targeted use. By creating a series from copyright-free files, Thibault Brunet indirectly raises the question about their source, their potential use and their ownership.

Using art to condone a popular practice of consulting and creating images, the artist’s work is in line with interaction that abolishes individual and collective boundaries. His images of images show ‘active intervention that improves our experience of art as well as of the world in all its breadth’.(6)


For Google Earth.


‘Vice City’ 2007, ‘First Person Shooter’ 2015


3 Véronique Ginouvès, Google Earth, Aldébaran, 30 dec. 2005. URL:


‘Cloud computing’ is directly related to the growth of Big Data.


André Rouillé, La photographie. Entre document et art contemporain (Paris: Gallimard, collection Folio essais, 2005), p 494


John Dewey, Art as experience (New York: Minton, Balch & Company,1934); L’art comme experience (Paris: Gallimard, collection Folio essais, 2012)

18.Dec.2018 1922 views
Thibault Brunet Thibault Brunet

Thibault Brunet (1982) is a french artist represented by Galerie Binome, Paris and Galerie Heinzer Reszler, Lausanne and graduated of the ENSBA Nîmes. His works play with photography’s coded genres and question the relationship with virtuality in a world that is becoming fully digitalised. He has travelled through virtual worlds with his camera in pursuit of images, exhibiting at reGeneration2 (2011), Mois de la photo in Paris, Berlin and Vienna (2012) and at Talents Foam (2013). He is part of the group project France (s) Territoires Liquides whose work was exhibited at the Biennale de Lyon (2015) and at the BnF (2017). His work features in prestigious collections such as the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne and the Frac Languedoc-Roussillon.
18.Dec.2018 1922 views
Marguerite Pilven Marguerite Pilven

Marguerite Pilven is an art critic and curator. She holds a degree in Philosophy by the Université de la Sorbonne and a Master of Studies in Art History. Her work is focus on the perception of the artwork, the relationship between what is visible and speakable, the image and the language. Since 2011, she has organized ten individual and collective exhibitions including Cyrille Weiner, de l’urbain à l’humain at the École Spéciale d’Architecture (Paris, 2012), Icônes du temps présent at the Patricia Dorfmann Gallery (Paris, 2013) and the exhibition cycle Code Inconnu at the Laurent Mueller Gallery (Paris, 2014). In the same year, Société Générale entrusted her with the conception and writing of the catalog for the collection “20 ans d’art contemporain” (Kubik editions). She also writes for many artists as part of their exhibitions and monographic catalogues.

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