“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 2012 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 7 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 the Social Sensibility?

"After 5 years working about it, with it and for it, I still don’t know. We chose these two words together with Guillaume Bernard in 2011 and we are developing a new organism called SSRI, Social Sensibility Research Institute, but still what we are trying to do resists models and definitions. And the thing is that it feels much better like this. We hope the Social Sensibility will become a form by itself, just because we help it staying alive and eventually, growing and developing. Sensibility can be synthesized as a fine tune function between the inner self and the external world. Art, not as a purpose, but a side effect, influences the sensibility of the people who are exposed to it. Social Sensibility is the attempt to extend and orient this side effect to a broader audience and transform the relationship between art and audience, turning it into an active mutual-influenced and shared environment. This is done by inviting artists to interact with people in working environments on a long-term base and in an informal way. The interaction can lead to a final project, but this is neither necessary, nor compulsory, as long as the first interaction has taken place. On the side of art, this implies bringing art in direct contact with the environments of daily and working life, to create an audience of art users, instead of art viewers and to influence directly artists and their projects with external informal influence."

Alessandro Rolandi - 2017

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.


I like Round Things
February 2016

I like Round Things

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

About arrow factory 

Rebel Cities
March 2017

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


Sensual Love of the Fingertips
May 2016

Sensual Love of the Fingertips

Work, Live Series, Project #2
Wu Shuqing/Social Sensibility Institute
Video by Derrick Wang
2016.05.11 – 6.15 

About arrow factory 

August 2016


Work, Live Series, Project #3
Zhao Tao, Zhang Xiuliang and Zhang Mengmeng / Social Sensibility Institute
Aug 12-Sept 15, 2016

About arrow factory 

I’m Sorry
October 2017

I’m Sorry
Tian Dongliang / Social Sensibility Institute

Oct 5 – Dec 10, 2017

About arrow factory 

March 2019


Zhao Haibo / Social Sensibility Research Institute
2019.03.20 – 05.20

About arrow factory 



The Social Sensibility R&D Departments of Bernard Controls' factory plants in Beijing and Paris/Gonesse have been invited to co-curate, together with Mike Watson, a section of Politics of Dissonance, a performative/sound art/spoken word and VJ official collateral event of Manifesta12, in Palermo, in a space in Vicolo del pallone, in the Kalsa area of the city. 

Whatch the video & Learn more

"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.”

Residency at Gonesse MEHRYL LEVISSE

April – May 2019

MEHRYL LEVISSE during tow months work between the factory & headquarters. More information on the performance in our showroom on Mehryl Levisse' official website.

More information on the official website

Residency at Gonesse Iris Lacoudre

February – April 2018

The project takes place shortly after a residency at the Institute for Provocation in Beijing, supported by Iaspis, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee. It is thus in continuity with a research about informal spaces, defined as common places able to sense a “territorial intimacy”1, one that would extend beyond the lock of the domestic sphere.

The project firstly focused on the process caring about an existing context, rather than applying a preconceived strategy. It is articulated in two times, with no specific hierarchy.

More information on "Inquiry into informal spaces"

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.