Research




Context


Like many, I strongly believe that the times we live in, dominated by an exploitative, growth-based  and profit-oriented economic paradigm, call for an existential reassessment of where humanity as a whole is going. This feels at once urgent, abstract and impossible. Most of the concrete things we can do — voting, writing letters and petitions, changing our consumption habits, etc. — seem irrelevant in the face of the structural nature of the problem. Well, organizing helps. Protests help, and are necessary. But language itself seems too indebted to economics to adequately formulate the questions we must address. If we want to reconsider the very idea of how things are organized on the most primary level, then what building blocks, what units, what metrics can we use that are not already the design of the existing organization? What are the poetics of change when it comes to structures, systems and economics? These questions are at the core of my research and work.



About my work


I work across mediums: architectural installations, paintings, videos, artist books, and, increasingly, functional systems.

Mostly, I’m interested in the connections between the systems that shape the concrete and logistical aspects of our lives — in the social, cultural, political and economic spheres — and the evolution of the values and beliefs on which these systems are built. I try to create artworks that make visible, through different strategies, a variety of questions relating to the transformation of the social order, both within the context of current societal issues and from a fictional or speculative point of view. I'm interested in imagining models and systems where poetry and functionality meet through existential questions. (How can a system be truly inclusive, to the degree that it incorporates even the very thing that will make it fall apart?)

Painting is a big part of what I do, and, given my interests, it may seem paradoxical. Why painting? In its simplest definition, painting — making marks with pigments on a surface — is the most primary visual language (with, say, sculpture and movement), and I appreciate the kind of metaphysical grounding that it offers. Something to hold on to, a reminder of my own place in time and space. My process, from research to drawings to photoshop sketches to color tests to final painting, usually stretches over months, and this visual exploration also serves as the testing ground for other types of works. That’s how most of my larger projects begin.

The themes I explore in my work are the same I find urgent to explore in real life: moneyless economies, radical inclusivity, giving up individualism, and other ideas that imply a paradigm shift in values and beliefs. I want to question the relation between individuals and the structure of the collective body: between people living together and the built environment that defines their interactions, between strangers exchanging resources and a shared notion of "value" that makes transactions possible, between citizens sharing a common vision and the embodiment of this vision in a community meeting, an activist group, a political party, or a nation-state. I try to examine the invisible forces at play in these questions, and to translate them into systems where elements such as time, social dynamic, space or color give form to otherwise intangible notions.

Many of my works, such as paintings, installations and audio loops, ask the viewer to engage in contemplative or meditative experiences. I'm interested in the possibility of slowing down time, of providing a multidimensional space where complex ideas can gently dissolve through a perceptual experience. Painting, in particular, allows me to blend the analytical with the poetic, to combine structural rigor with psychedelic environments, geometric abstraction and text elements, diagrams and color fields. Other works and projects are conceived as dynamic components made to interfere with the larger economic structures we inhabit. These projects operate as interactive and functional mechanisms, such as economic systems (The Time of the Work, 2016), think tank sessions (Built-In, 2019) or surveys (Existential Issues: A Mapping Exercise, 2019-2020). This interventionist approach is something that I want to push further with new collaborative projects currently in development.



Experiments


Mapping Exercise:
Survey on Existential issues




In two recent exhibitions, I invited visitors to participate in a survey of sorts, by taking a few minutes to fill a questionnaire. Participants were asked to mark their position in relation to existential issues by tracing a dot on a series of graphs.  In total,1222 individual questionnaires were collected during the exhibitions, and their answers are now published, with an interface allowing different types of visualization.


[View results & more info]





Common Pool

In collaboration with Amanda Vincelli.



Common Pool is an experimental economic tool that we are currently building. Our goal is to develop an online network that allows optimal non-monetary exchanges of goods and services. The system is designed to combine the flexibility of a gift economy, the practicality and accountability of time banking, and the civic engagement involved in the practice of commoning. We want to develop Common Pool as a toolkit that could be used and adapted by different communities according to their specific needs and context, while the system would remain compatible across all participating communities.





Survey Design

Following the results and the feedback received with the survey “Existential Issues: A Mapping Exercise”, I am currently working on a visual tool to create survey questions that people can answer in multiple ways, thus allowing the tension between quantitative and qualitative notions to become visible. For example, in a given question, a respondant could indicate multiple answers, while expressing their frustration towards the question, while also signaling that the issue behind the question is very important for them. The objective is to create a method allowing multidimensional answers, and results that display visually the complexity that is often left out from data visualization. Ultimately, the goal is to challenge how we represent the world through data, and to propose experimental alternatives to conventional measurement systems.