Systems of Systems, artist's text, 2019.
In this showcase I feature artworks spanning over a decade of cultural production and social engagement, addressing and challenging the complex systems of the information society.

While referring to system and network aesthetics, with Systems of Systems, I frame my own practice in the legacy of conceptual art. Beyond the examination and exposure of existing systems, I create further systems inserted within the information flows of the networks forming society. My systems are social agents programmed with an agenda that acts as an agency of change and inspiration through varying forms of conceptualism and interventionism.

In this survey I selected artworks that utilize the flowchart as a common visual aesthetic, which I adopt to depict sophisticated apparatuses, concepts, and actions. These flowcharts give form to the process of creation and intervention with algorithms, economic models, political structures, and social experiments. Flowcharts become aesthetic objects, the images of operations within networks of technological, political, financial, or cultural systems.

In my art practice I see society as the raw material and ultimate subject of interest. I consider information systems and technology as a means rather than an end. Since society is increasingly influenced by network technology, I utilize the Internet for my artistic and social engagement. For me, society as a raw material for art means working with the fields of law, finance, governance, and media, spanning from micro personal spheres to macro global orders. These fields are interconnected to each other in a network of systems in which the flow of information constantly renegotiates power among the nodes forming social complexity. I discuss the politics, aesthetics, and philosophy of networks, data, and algorithms, yet these artworks inevitably dig into the very mechanics of financial vehicles, intellectual property, political science, privacy policies, semantic studies, and art itself. These are the subsystems I utilize through a range of techniques, including performance, hacking, documentary, institutional critique, utopia, social innovation, and appropriation. Consequently, the nature of the material, subjects, and tactics I implement makes these artworks actively engaged in discussing the opportunities and oppressions within contemporary society.

Either with simple provocations or recontextualization, or with sophisticated interventionist, participatory, or speculative strategies, my artworks have an agenda that I strategize when I program the flow of information, operations, and interactions between my targets, audiences, and myself. Information flows within and around society always have a degree of social and cultural impact; as such, my works often embody agency that extends from mere representation. They create and inspire change, reaction, and inquiry through proactive, subversive, and informative art. These artworks are social agents probing and interacting with the subject matters and their systems. I believe that the advancement in art through my work is the programmable reality I can insert into a particular network and the extensive reach such action can have today. Toward this end, I chart, create, and execute operational and functional systems meant to produce outcomes for social constructivism or critique. Society became my material while the flowcharts of conceptual models and algorithms became my medium.

With a lifelong pursuit of advancing modes of conceptual art, my work has been dedicated to exploring an aesthetics of social complexity, discussing and modelling the paradigms of the information order forming society and social knowledge.

Text by Paolo Cirio, May 2019.

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