“Art for the People, by the People”

Alongside the R&D Departments in the Paris region at Gonesse and in Beijing, we have opened a special R&D Department placing people at the heart of the creative process. Based on the concept of Social Sensibility, this innovative R&D Department has been created in 2010 thanks to the meeting between Alessandro Rolandi, an artist whose work is focused on a discipline recently developed in the contemporary art world named “social practice”, and Guillaume Bernard, COO of Bernard Controls.

The purpose is to provide answers to simple questions relating to processes and daily life within the company.
Why me and not robot? What difference does it make? How can we take everyone’s feelings into account? How can we promote this sensibility?
For 13 years now, Alessandro Rolandi has been head of Social Sensibility R&D department in Beijing: some forty artists have been given the opportunity to play a part within the setting of the Chinese-based corporation. In March 2016, at the Gonesse site, In Val d’Oise in France, Blandine de La Taille, conducted the first French project, a video entitled “Meanwhile Beyond Machines”, which is set to be presented in the factory in June of the same year.

What is social sensibility ?

"After five years working on it, with it and for it, I still don’t know. This term was chosen together with the COO of BERNARD CONTROLS, Guillaume BERNARD in 2011. We continue to resist specific models and definitions hoping it will exist as a form of its own in order to stay active and alive.

Art is not the purpose but a side effect that can influence the sensibility of those who are exposed to it. Social sensibility attempts to extend this side effect to a broader audience and to transform the relationship between art and people in creating an active and shared space. The key moment is this physical encounter between artists and people, in which the rules of engagement are invented and negotiated all the time". Alessandro ROLANDI

Discover Social Sensibility R&D

Alessandro Rolandi presents the Department:

Tianji Zhao introduces the WORK/LIVE Project:

The Social Sensibility Institute provides an overview:

Contemporary Art & Social Sensibility

A particular place

In February 2017, Pr. Zheng Bo, who runs the Digital Arts Department at the University of Hong Kong, added the example of our R&D department in Beijing to his MOOC:

The New York Times – April 26, 2017 – invites us to consider the Social Sensibility project in the context of contemporary art.


February 2016

I like Round Things

Work, Live Series Project #1
Li Zhan/Social Sensibility Research Institute


March 2017

Artists includes from Social Sensibility R&D BERNARD CONTROLS BEIJING and PARIS/GONESSE


"Invest in Contradiction"

In Beijing

“In Chinese industrial tradition, revolutionary quotes, generally from Mao's poems, speeches or writings were often painted in large characters on the walls of the factories where millions of workers had to see them everyday.
MA YONGFENG will re-interpret this aspect of Chinese propaganda, creating 7 large graffitis in Bernard Controls Beijing. The sentences will be chosen from random conversations with the workers or the managers, picked from the panels of the working rules, or from the factory's safety procedures and other similar sources. Each sentence will explore an aspect of life inside the working environment: the need to adapt to a strict control system, the human desire to evade and dream, the pression of efficiency and the humour to be able to deal with all this. (…)”

From Beijing to Paris/Gonesse

Blandine de La Taille, visual and multimedia artist is in charge of Social Sensibility R&D at the French site in Gonesse. Since 2016, she has conducted several projects in the factory. She shares with us some of the key goals of this dedicated R&D Department:

“Thanks to their presence and the relationship they build with team members, artists open up a space in the heart of the working environment. A space in which each person’s sensibility can potentially contribute towards an individual or collective creative piece. This space is situated at the margin of the efficiency and functionality that define the industrial world. It does exist listening to vibration of emotions, real-life experiences and creative power of each person. (…)
The company contributes towards the development of ideas, provides legitimacy to department and to artist in action, supplies logistical support to R&D projects related to “Social Sensibility”. This relationship has all the value of a living and evolutionary contextual work of art. It’s an ongoing process.”

In order to improve navigation on the site, analyze its use and contribute to our marketing efforts, we use the following cookies:

  • Functional cookies: they make it possible to memorize the consent of users;
  • Audience measurement cookies: they allow us to know the frequentation of the site;
  • Third-party cookies: these are related to video viewing, newsletter subscription and for advertising targeting purposes.

For more information on the different cookies we use or to change your preferences and settings, please see our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy.