Web and Pop Art: Systaime – the trashy net.artist.

On: September 13, 2011
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About Aurelie Ghalim
My name is Aurélie Ghalim and I'm 25 years old. I come from Belgium. I studied contemporary history (MA at the ULB) in Brussels and also in Seville. After my graduation I did two internships, one in an art gallery and the other at a newspaper. I would like to be a journalist. Here I am in Amsterdam following the New Media MA program at the UvA


Making art out of spam, pop-up X, adverts and bugs is the daily work of the French artist Michaël Borras aka Systaime. This video designer and graphic artist is a real enthusiast of e-junkfood and spends all of his time in remixing web images:

I work mostly on image embezzlement, pixel art, image de-construction and at the end I try to give a new life to images[1]

Michaël Borras who was born in 1973 has first studied plastic arts and then later found in Internet his new playground. For both practical and aesthetical reasons Systaime is extremely attracted to the web culture:

“Internet is a dream to me! Producing and netcasting around the world at the same time and for the same price! It’s a creative, sharing and meeting place. Also the web limits became a style and an aesthetical choice”[2]

I don’t know much about art and especially about net.art but Systaime kitschy videos make me smile. This TV – Web addict says that he has always been fascinating with channel surfing and therefore he is doing the same in his “webfilms”. In recycling mass media images and videos this Parisian vjing is doing what we call Pop Art. Internet is also part of the mass culture and what we see in his montages are well-known sequences we’ve all already watched in Youtube or Facebook. I guess Systaime likes to play with our unconscious. Take for instance one of his recent work: “Google + Vs Facebook By Systaime”. You will definitely come across those most liked and posted videos by your friends on Facebook. Also his art contains a critical approach of our environment and in this case the New Media. In the same video the lyrics refer to this attempt to post on Facebook the Origine du monde of Gustave Courbet. This way of using our everyday net-products and arrange them in a brand new form of discourse is what art historians would name Pop Art. Systaime defines his genre as “The French Trash Touch” which is according to him:

“A raw – radical – play – quircky – movement (…) that claims for a trash and non flat digital culture. The French Trash Touch makes use of the creative accidents (bugs, repetitive coding, pixels, etc) and let the material existing (…)[Also this movement claims for] a low-tech – experimental – instinctive and interactive digital web creation with a rapid spread in a maximum of networks and an art desecration. It’s a mix of net-art, vjing, performances, handling, visual and sound creations that are into the flow and also shake it. It’s punk, rock, techno, Dada. It contradicts itself. The only rule is that there are no rules”[3]

Art desecration is also what Andy Warhol did when he reproduced serially his work and subsequently challenged the very definition of art. Digital artists are doing exactly the same today. “Facebook is a current pop culture. I think if Basquiat or Warhol would be alive today then they will definitely use Facebook in a creative way[4] says the e-collagist.

He also made a series of videos he calls “Silence” where he mutes Sarkozy or Obama for example and adds the sound of their own silence. The result is quite funny. \”Sarkosy Silence by Systaime\”

His video “Gimme five” or a top 5 websites asked to different artists and authors (Thomas “Tom Tom” Schmitt, Mc Kenzie Wark, Thierry Théolier, Aliette Guibert-Certhoux, Loïez, Bobig and Jérome Lefdup) reminds me our first class of New Media Practices where we’ve been asked to present our favorite website \”Gimme Five Mc Kenzie Wark\”

Systaime and many other net.artists found in Internet new possibilities to create and updating Pop Art. This art movement was not only an attempt to criticise the mass culture but also the desire to play with it. After all Systaime in French language means System + Love.



[1] “Who is Systaime”, http://en.eyeka.com/video/view/8879-Who-is-SYstaime-

[2] “Michaël Borras alias Systaime” in La Spirale.org. An ezine for the digital mutans, http://www.laspirale.org/texte.php?id=113

[3] Ibidem

[4] “Who is Systaime”, http://en.eyeka.com/video/view/8879-Who-is-SYstaime-


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