We believe that something amazing lies in the intersection of art and technology – To celebrate the international day of creativity and innovation, we wanted to delve into the world of some of our favourite contemporary artists and creative studios who work with technology, data and artificial intelligence, achieving incredible, ever-changing pieces of art with hundreds of possible outcomes.
“Artistic expression has reached new potentials as technology grows in capability. Art advances the experiences of technology, while technology advances the possibilities of art.” – Ari Melenciano, designer, creative technologist and researcher.
For several years now, we have been hearing terms like data, artificial intelligence, machine learning everywhere. We hear things like the correct use of data can help a company change radically, or that artificial intelligence will be the solution to global problems. We know, broadly speaking, the importance that these terms have in our technological present, and how data can be found everywhere, from hospitals to museums. However, we wanted to understand a little more deeply why, for some artists, the use of these technologies has been essential for their creations and how is it that by conceptually handling data and algorithms, a different and innovative art form has been created?
If we were to imagine what data looks like, we would possibly think on a list of numbers or complicated algorithms. Some might also think of complex spreadsheets and graphs. And mostly, we would be correct. Data can be visualized in many ways. Sometimes the information will be scattered and difficult to understand. At other times, the information will be highly organized -and- probably difficult to understand as well. But suddenly, magic happens, and there are occasions where we can visualize data differently and creatively. A way in which data becomes an extremely attractive, changing, and a totally new form of artistic expression for the human eye.
At MASSIVart, we love meeting and collaborating with artists who work with new media and who explore innovative forms of expression through complex technologies. Our most recent project is a great example of this: DATAMONOLITH_AI by Ouchhh Studio at the ICD Brookfield Place in Dubai. A cinematic experience that highlights the power of AI and the ancient origins that we all share.
The world changes constantly, and so does art. By merging technology with creativity, these artists invite us to question and explore the relationship between the real and the unreal, between the accurate and the inaccurate, and finally, the creation of a whole new art expression that is never the same and that has the ability to create all sort of emotions in our beautiful, imperfect human brains.
Using machine intelligence, Refik Anadol keeps amazing us by creating surreal visualizations of information that turn into data sculptures. Through a machine learning algorithm that generates visual associations as it learns, he creates mesmerizing, immersive installations that remind us of a dream.
📹 Refik Anadol – Machine Hallucination. 30-minute experimental cinema, presented in 16K resolution, that visualizes the story of New York through the city’s collective memories that constitute its deeply-hidden consciousness.
Sarah merges traditional objects and elements from nature with beauty and contemplation through contemporary digital mediums. She creates a whole new visual language and expression of systems, algorithms, and technologies that influence our daily lives by converting them into beautiful, metaphorical pieces.
📷 Sarah Meyohas – “Speculations”. This series was initially conceived for BitchCoin, a cryptocurrency as an artwork that playfully constructed value. The coin needed to be backed by a photograph, and this photograph needed to create value visually, deliberately, and perhaps with an illusory expansion of space to reference “mining” and the idea of gold.
Working at the intersection of architecture and performance art, Rafael creates participative art pieces where he uses diverse technologies such as robotic lights, digital fountains, media walls, sensors, sounds, and projections. In his works, he mixes different realities and perspectives where he invites the public to interact, question and reflect on technology.
📷 Rafael Lozano Hemmer – “Cloud Display”, a vertical water fountain consisting of 1,600 ultrasonic atomizers, controlled by a machine-learning voice recognition system.
A digital studio based in London that works with brands and organizations by helping them to experience data and information in a whole new way. By using algorithms and millions of data points, they are able to transform it into beautiful artworks that showcase the trends found in the data sources.
📹 Variable Studio – Fibers. Visualization of Nike FuelBand data from the trainings preceding We Own The Night – Nike Women’s 10K run.
By working with Artificial Intelligence and using data sets like photos taken in nature by himself, this artist explores how aesthetic experiences can reshape the way we think about technologies like Artificial Intelligence. He creates unpredictable, non-perfect expressions of nature, creating a unique vision of our real world. Beautiful and perfect, in its way.
📷 David Young – Dandelions, AI / Machine Learning generated images.
Artist, mathematician, and photographer. Juan Pablo’s main research areas are knowledge creation and transfer via artificial intelligence techniques, particularly deep learning algorithms, computer vision and image ontology, and the struggle between technology adoption and the surrender of privacy. We are currently working with Juan Pablo to deliver a data artwork that combines cutting-edge technology and artificial intelligence with the traditional craft of Mexican weaving.
📷 Juan Pablo de la Vega – plaoSr-sefttri [Self-portraits] When we present ourselves online we are both randomised and sorted by automatic algorithms in order to maintain an online order of things. In this project Juan Pablo both randomized and ordered a self-portrait to visualize an abstract version of himself, emulating the abstract and carefully organized and randomized online versions of ourselves.
Artist and researcher whose work highlights the social relationships and power dynamics behind data collection. Her multimedia practise uses print, code, installation, and video to call attention to how those in the margins are differently abstracted, represented, and missed by sociotechnical systems.
📷 Mimi Onuoha – Us, Aggregated 2.0. Using an image from the artist’s personal family archives as its starting place, Us, Aggregated 2.0 presents a frame clustered series of photographs that Google’s reverse-image search algorithms have categorized as similar and tagged with the label “girl”.
Young artist and researcher exploring the boundaries of collaboration between humans and machines. Chung’s work investigates the interactions between mark-made-by-hand and the mark- made-by-machine as an approach to understanding the dynamics of humans and systems, creating visually engaging artworks as a result.
📷 Sougwen Chung – Bihua, Human & machine co-creation during the first quarantine isolation period in Brooklyn, New York.
MASSIVart took care of the art direction and curation and is now in the production phase for two distinctive installations to be delivered in the spring. One of them is a large-scale art installation, for which we invited Canadian artist and designer Alexandre Berthiaume of Futil Inc. to create a 550sqm wall.
We wanted to give him the floor to explain all the ins and outs of this outstanding installation that we can’t wait to experience in real life. An exciting discussion that we hope will make you as eager as we are!
I’ve been blending disciplines for so long that it is almost natural to me. From my studies in architecture to building an industrial design office to developing in parallel a Live multimedia performance based on sound analysis through computer programming and all for a 10 year period. I stumbled upon photography organically and found it a great way to express myself. What combines all of these practices is my curiosity to learn and each discipline nourishes the other. I often choose artistic expressions that rely on some kind of technical challenge. To me, it is what excites and motivates me. When working on large-scale projects that have so many parameters to take into account, the emotion and message must never get lost in favour of the technical.
The artwork I created for the Summit is called Fragments. It is a geometric abstraction of a mountain. It blends complex shapes in the form of a 3-dimensional wall piece. I see it as a fragmented presence that imposes power, strength and stillness. It’s meant to inspire and aspire for greatness. Its volumetry brings dynamism to the flat surface of the wall and imposes its place. I relied on the studies of Voronoi Tessellation, which is a type of geometric fragmentation found often in nature. This allows me to create a cell system that is then blown up in volume by triangular facets. The natural light of the sun and the complimentary artificial lighting complement each other to create a vibrant, dynamic presence. The mirror finish will amplify the luminous interactions, reflecting its environment in a fun and abstract way. People will be able to interact with the creation and see their own influence on the artwork. The artwork is composed of many dualities: heaviness vs lightness, man-made vs nature, mathematics vs organic randomness. I wanted to create a bridge between a futuristic vision and the enduring presence of a mountain.
The process needed to be quick so I relied on past experiments. I developed a process that I use mainly on all my projects. It’s a 3 phase process. Firstly, I analyze all the parameters in depth. The site, its surrounding area, the audience, the client needs and the core feeling that the artwork will have to evoke. I then lay out all the possible techniques and building materials that could be used and focus on one. This step is crucial and saves a lot of time. Creating something that will not be feasible is not productive. It is also at this step that the technical part will give me a language to express my message. Then for the last part and this is when the magic happens – I stop and let everything marinate in my head. It’s always in the back of my mind for days. Solitude is necessary at this step and I also meditate. A solution that will bring everything together eventually emerges. I rely on my past experiences and reflections to come up with the right solution. Unbuilt projects are as important as the built ones because of the time spent reflecting on ideas. Fragments is a good example because it finalized a concept I initially came up with for another project. I spent quite a bit of time understanding how to generate Voronoi tessellation, but also how to interpret it in a 3 dimensional way. Turns out this project was the best fit to go deeper in these studies.
There is quite a bit actually. I didn’t mention it before but there is a resemblance of the artwork to the North face of Popocatepetl volcano close to Mexico City. When I was focused on interpreting a mountain, I started researching the geography of the region. I wanted to get a feeling of the landscape at large. I stumbled upon this volcano in my search and was touched by the mythology of it. In Aztec mythology, Popocatepetl was a warrior in love with a princess named Ixtaccíhuatl. Ixtaccíhuatl’s father sent Popocatepetl to kill an enemy of their tribe, promising him his daughter’s hand if he returned victorious, but knowing the impossible feat. Completing his task successfully, Popocatepetl died of grief upon learning that Ixtaccíhuatl had also died of grief upon hearing the false news of his death. Having pity on their fate, the gods covered their bodies with snow and changed them into mountains. The other link is a bit closer and it is actually the district of Santa Fe. I was charmed by the futuristic vision in this area. The embrace of a modern vision where skyscrapers are intertwined with superb contemporary parks. I knew that the blend of nature meets the technology of the artwork would be a perfect fit.
The scale of it isn’t a challenge by itself but it surely affects the choice of fabrication techniques and materials. Pre-constructed parts have to be planned ahead to minimize the work time onsite. This is the main reason that I broke the piece into cells that would mean each element had a more manageable size. It also allows flexibility and a margin of error, installation-wise. One thing that I do with all my creations is visualizing them at different distances. You have to think of the experience from far away and at this scale, it is really far away and the experience you get close by. So from the street, you can get the whole picture and the global composition. When you walk towards it you’re beginning to get the sense of the scale of it. It’s getting impressive. Once you get close to it, you get all of its 3 dimensionalities, its intricacy. Lastly, on the mezzanine, you get the overview of it all – the birds-eye view that showcases the reflectiveness of the environment enhanced by all the people passing by.
Crucial! There aren’t that many choices of material with a mirrored finish. And when you account for a reasonable budget and a low maintenance solution, only recent developments in composite material could do the job. We then needed to find a manufacturer that not only could work with the material but wasn’t afraid of this complex challenge. The material also had to be relatively light because the structure doesn’t touch the ground. We had to build upon one of the major structural components of the building. It’s a massive thing but we needed to keep its integrity.
I basically want people to feel like a kid again. I wanted to feel some sort of power and strength. One way by the pure magnitude of the piece and the other by the mystery of its fabrication. I see it like a clam and gentle giant. It is still but you can feel the passage of time in its reflectiveness. A mountain has significance for everyone. A challenge for the brave. A peaceful place for the nature lover. A majestic place for the painter. And even a scary place for others. A mountain is a stable and time resilient thing and a perfect analogy for a skyscraper.
To me, the artwork is probably the best representation of what are my strengths at this stage of my career. Basically the amalgamation of 20 years of research and efforts. I spent countless hours learning how to work with the latest 3D tools to be able not only to create such things but also to communicate them to builders. My studies as an architect have allowed me to understand the context and physicality of the building. My work as an industrial designer led me to understand different materials and learn welding skills to better communicate with a builder. My work as a multimedia artist helps me to understand the time factor of an art piece and to make it evolving with its lighting. Lastly, it is to understand a client and their needs. It’s important for an artist to express themself but on projects like these, one should always take into account the original purpose. And sometimes it leads you into interesting new avenues and makes you grow.
Each year, on 15 April, UNESCO’s World Art Day celebrations help reinforce the links between artistic creations and society. These celebrations encourage greater awareness of the diversity of artistic expressions and highlight the contribution of artists to sustainable development. This is also an occasion to shine a light on arts education in schools, as sharing cultures is a gateway to inclusive and equitable education.
“Bringing people together, inspiring, soothing and sharing: these are the powers of art, the importance of which has been made emphatically obvious during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. With hundreds of thousands of people directly affected by the virus and billions more either in lockdown or battling the pandemic on the front lines, this World Art Day is a timely reminder that art has the power to unite and connect in times of crisis.” – Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO
Today more than ever, we leave the floor to an artist who inspired us! Happy World Art Day 🙂
Natalia Ramos is a visual artist from Guadalajara, México. She studied visual communication and art direction. Natalia is especially interested in abstraction and decontextualization of objects and materials, proposing new and atypical compositions. For Natalia, composition is crucial to change the perspective of any object and the visual values of the viewer. Natalia communicates these ideas through “still lifes” of people, objects, and sculptures. The act of inhabiting a space and our relationship with objects is a constant in her work. Today we have the opportunity for Natalia to tell us more about her trajectory.
This series of photographs represent the human body through rudimentary materials which create abstract human skeletons. These works include hints of Mexican Pre-Hispanic art styles while still simulating the authentic Mexican ability to improvise with a unique perspective. In this case, the work displays a vision to create bodies from objects.
Botana (Snack) is a compilation of still lifes that portray ingredients found in the San Juan Market, one of the oldest and most traditional markets in Mexico City. It is known for being a market where you can find Pre-Hispanic and exotic ingredients such as crocodile meat and countless varieties of insects.
This series plays with balance, equilibrium, and the idea of highlighting the beauty and simplicity of the ordinary. The monochromatic backgrounds are the central component of each still, creating a feeling of flatness that I have been exploring in my current work. I like the simplicity and immediacy the flatness can achieve. I am attracted to its anti-sophistication.
Jardín (Garden) is a group of nature abstractions. They are drawings translated to sculptures through a process of fragmentation of reality, with the will of reducing the bodies to a synthesis of icons. The futuristic flowers, made of steel, ceramic, and ostrich eggs, break with the rigid aspect of the steel – a hard, stable, and rigid material. In this case, the steel creates subtle and organic lines simulating the movement of plants. It is about finding certain erotism in a material made for industrial purposes.
The ceramics and porcelains are the aspirations for corporeality of the flat world. As they are assembled, the sculptures emerge to inhabit a space. Certain shapes are represented as close proximities to reality, while others break and disarticulate the familiar to let the audience perceive it from a new, unknown direction. The materials used for these pieces are porcelain with smoke, soil from Zacatecas, clay from Tapalpa, and high-temperature paste. The lines go round and round to provide corporeality to flat fragments.
In the past year, I have been focusing on creating illustrations specifically for the editorial market, either newspapers or books. I feel very comfortable in this field because I am interested in the relationship that is developed between a written piece and a visual piece. I believe that the message gains much more strength when the viewer has the freedom to make subjective and unique connections between both parts.
The idea? A mural inside each of the six PME MTL poles designed by Paprika, with QR codes integrated to present the entrepreneurs that their experts were able to support throughout the year. This interactive mural allows them to highlight their different stories in an engaging and fun way.
This project has a certain significance for MASSIVart, firstly because we believe that their mission is essential and also for the fact that we are happy to help in return those who have supported us before. It is thanks to the CDECs, the former name of PME MTL, that MASSIVart received its very first start-up grant in 2011.
This is why we are proud to give the floor to PME MTL to present you this project where creativity and design are once again effective ways to convey messages while embellishing spaces.
PME MTL is the City of Montreal’s business support network. With 6 service centres on the island, our mission is to support Montreal’s entrepreneurs through a support and financing offer adapted to their needs. In 2020, we celebrated our 5th anniversary!
The project we worked on with MASSIVart met two main objectives. First, to pay tribute to Montreal entrepreneurs, but also to highlight the importance of the huge amount of work accomplished by all the professionals of the PME MTL network since the beginning of the pandemic.
Like the entrepreneurs we have been supporting, we have rolled up our sleeves and worked hard to offer them help and advice since the month of March 2020. This project makes it possible to humanize the work of our experts, while still putting forward the Montreal entrepreneurs who are at the heart of our mission.
The challenge to realize this project? To highlight the territorial particularities of each of the PME MTL poles that represent the Montreal entrepreneurial fabric from east to west and north to south. In addition to quickly dispelling this apprehension, the MASSIVart team immediately understood the essence of our project. The mural allows us to bring a proposal that unifies and links our poles. It is a magnificent collaboration between the MASSIVart team and PME MTL’s team.
We wanted to make an artistic and creative commission for this project because art and creativity amaze. They have a unifying effect, each eye finds its own interest. MASSIVart had a genius idea (!) by proposing to integrate QR codes to the murals, allowing each PME MTL pole to promote its own contents. They will be able to evolve over time simply by updating the QR code redirection links. Through blog posts, we can highlight the inspiring stories of our entrepreneurs endlessly.
This occupation of the space allows us to discover – and rediscover at each visit – the talent of creative Montreal companies – MASSIVart and Paprika – but it is also a way to remind everyone who passes by (entrepreneurs, partners or visitors) of the importance of supporting local businesses.
It is also a creative way for us to highlight the exceptional work that our colleagues have been doing for the past 5 years and the essential role they play with Montreal entrepreneurs. A role that is more crucial than ever since March 2020.
To quote one of the general managers of PME MTL, we often play a modest role at a critical time. For us, supporting entrepreneurs is not only about providing financing but also about helping them go through important steps, with the goal of making them stronger.
Recently, Be Grand® – one of the leading Real Estate Developers in Mexico – entrusted MASSIVart to reimagine the showroom of a major development project in the heart of Mexico City.
Be Grand’s showrooms already set them apart from other real estate developers so we took this unique brand property to another level, reflecting their exclusive brand positioning & elevated lifestyle through art installations.
For this project, we had the chance to collaborate with artist Ignacio Aldana ‘Soltero’ to bring to life CLARO/OSCURO – a giant monochromatic mural. As well as being a stunning daytime art-piece, by night the mural transforms into a glowing, neon-infused spectacle creating a stunning landmark out of the wall within Colonia Del Valle.
On this occasion, we wanted to give Ignacio the floor so that he could tell us more about his artistic approach and the place that public art has in it.
The major reason was the influence of my mother, who is a surrealist artist and she also plays the piano. She opened up the door to the art world for us. One key aspect of my work is something my mother used to tell us: “If we are starting something, we will finish it the best way we can”. I follow that everytime, in each canvas and each mural I have made.
At the beginning, you care about having your own language and artists might become lost in the search for originality. Only practice and time can give you your voice, they show you where to go. In my case, I started with geometric murals just because of how friendly they are, they can fit in every space, they can transform every space. You then add colour and with more experience, one can start transmitting what the space is telling – in my case, with patterns, geometric shapes or colour palettes. The abstract language of my work on canvas came years after, when I felt capable to develop my own style. My objective was for people to understand the piece without reading the title or seeing the signature. I hope both styles will confirm my own personal brand.
My creative process starts by studying the space. I like to know what is happening, or what will happen, in the space where the mural will be, and also to know what the surroundings are. I like to provoke change, so it is not just about painting a mural. With this in mind, if there is already an art direction, I start sketching my idea for the space. I like to create 3 different sketches, two following what the client wants and one proposing my own idea. I feel that when you have a pre-established idea, sometimes your creativity gets blocked and making this third sketch helps me to activate the full power of my creativity. In many cases some details that came up stay in the final mural.
After the final sketch is selected, I always create a skeleton of how I will paint. You don’t always start from the top, it depends on the design and what is very interesting to me. Once we are ready to paint, I always go with blocks of colour, so the mural will never feel incomplete.
Illegally! I mean, at the beginning when nobody hires you or gives you a space to paint, you find your own spaces. I went to the outskirts of the city and this is where I practiced my lines, my shades, and later, thanks to social media, several businesses started contacting me to create small murals. I got very interested in trying to revive forgotten spaces or places where people spend a lot of time. That was when I started working with the DIF (Office for the Integral Development of Families) in Guadalajara, and the Black Coffee Gallery Foundation. Then the DIF Zapopan, Jalisco, and everything else grew when we realized that people wanted colour in their office spaces. We painted buildings in vibrant colours and the change in the people’s state of mind was very noticeable. It is not just about the colour, it is about Mexican folklore and the idea is to transmit it worldwide.
For everybody to be satisfied. Sometimes the artist knows the mural could have been better, us artists are like that. Sometimes the public does not like it. Sometimes the colours did not turn out as expected. The beautiful thing is that all these things have a solution. But there is nothing like finishing a wall and seeing everybody’s faces when everything turns out perfect.
To me, Be Grand is proposing the same thing I am trying to do with my work: to be ahead of the times with elegance and minimalism. The brand also talks about transforming and evolving, and I feel that the work I have conveyed those details. The idea was to offer a mural for the daytime that can be also enjoyed during the night. The neon lights transform the mural and provide the perfect spot to get a good photo or selfie. That is something I have always wanted to offer.
The impact started with us painting there, because in those days we saw how everything was already changing. The neighbourhood is going through a great transformation right now, so the impact will be positive and I hope it can be an example of how art can provide a deeper value beyond the visual aspect.
MASSIVart proposes a discussion looking at the positive improvements – social, cultural, spatial- that cross-pollination between art and placemaking can have on our cities’ future. As a tool and put at the forefront of development projects, art has the potential to bring economic benefits and tell stories and enrich daily life. For the creative minds invested in the rethinking places, every space is a blank canvas; every new project is an opportunity to push the envelope of traditional development.
Alejandro Cardoso Mendoza, Global CEO & Managing Partner at MASSIVart Latin America
Malak Abu-Qaoud, Arts, Culture & Events Manager at ICD Brookfield Place Dubai
Malak Abu-Qaoud is a creative lead, experiential designer and art consultant skilled in interpersonal communications, emphasizing the relationship between humans and art, artists, experiences and spaces. She is currently the arts, culture & events manager at ICD Brookfield Place Dubai. As a cultural place maker, she uses her surroundings to offer a platform for regional emerging and established artists by presenting free for the public, world-class cultural experiences.
Ferdi Alici, Director of OUCHHH Studio
Ferdi is New Media Artist, Director and Founder of OUCHHH Studio.
Ouchhh is a global creative new media studio with a cutting-edge innovator in the creative field who have been showing outstanding results in the art science technology scene in 10 years. The Studio is a pioneer of data paintings&sculptures, a mind-driven approach, discovering new technological models to reflect the variety of context and experience that “the roots of art, science, and technology are mysterious”, that shape their futuristic perspective. The team currently consists of engineers, academics, creative coders, designers, media artists, motion graphic designers, and other talented individuals from a variety of fields with one synced vision that knowledge creates an epic public experience.
Alejandro Cardoso Mendoza, Global CEO & Managing Partner at MASSIVart Latin America
Alejandro is the Global CEO and Managing Partner of MASSIVart Latin America. Under his oversight, MASSIVart Mexico opened its doors more than a year ago and is steadily sailing toward success with crucial public art projects with real estate developers. Before joining MASSIVart, Alejandro was CMO or a CEO for different world-class companies such as Citibank, Aeroméxico and Yahoo. He spent the past 16 years with Paris-based giant Publicis Groupe, ending his tenure there as the Group’s Executive Chairman for Latin America. During this part of his career, he achieved sustained growth for 8 years in a row and was the 1st Mexican ever to hold that role for any international Advertising group. Alejandro is one of the few professionals that has had the opportunity to work on all four sides of the marketing communications industry: Advertising, Experiential, Digital and as a Client. Alejandro is a fantastic keynote speaker, entrepreneur, women’s equality subject expert and supporter – as an advisory board member to the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society – and a board member for different companies, who brings knowledge and enthusiasm to all the projects he is spearheading.
Currently exhibited in the heart of an office tower in Dubai is the hybrid architectural art installation DATAMONOLITH_AI from the international award-winning studio, Ouchhh. The public art installation will be on display at ICD Brookfield Place until March 23rd, 2021.
With the purpose of fostering a greater sense of community and connection, ICD Brookfield Place entrusted MASSIVart to bring this public art installation to life in these complicated pandemic times.
For MASSIVart, it was a privilege to work with a client whose visions for the future align with our own: Brookfield Properties, one of the largest real estate groups in the world, has received outstanding recognition for its arts programming, “Arts Brookfield.”
Ben McGregor, Investment Director of ICD Brookfield Place says, “We are incredibly proud to launch our public art program with DATAMONOLITH_AI. ICD Brookfield Place has always aspired to be a creative, forward-thinking community and cultural institution, and this striking installation is the first in a program of world-class cultural experiences. We hope the installation will inspire not only those in our immediate community of Dubai but also foster further creativity and growth in the burgeoning art scene here in the UAE.”
To follow up on all this, we wanted ICD Brookfield Place to tell us more about their relationship to public art as a real estate developer. Here are their answers.
We believe the industry needs to worry less about bricks and mortar, and concentrate on creating places where people want to visit, live, work and play. Attention to placemaking and the experience, is a real estate value proposition and it’s a human proposition too. It creates better places and cities. At ICD Brookfield Place, we care a lot about creating special places and so our mission is to present free for the public, world-class cultural experiences.
Public art, whatever the medium, enriches places for people. Art can trigger the imagination, tell a story, make us happy or simply create a beautiful visual display.
We are creating a community. By investing in our place, we are investing in our tenants and visitors. We champion the fact that great places attract more tenants, and more tenants equate to greater profit all while supporting artists and young creators.
Our objective was to kick off the art program at ICD Brookfield Place by featuring an established regional artist. We wanted to feature an immersive installation which tells a story. Ouchhh’s DATAMONOLITH_AI is so rich in experience that anyone can enjoy it regardless of age, background or nationality. It is universally accessible.
During the time of the pandemic, it is difficult to travel and coordinate a project of this scale from across the globe. However, MASSIVart executed this project flawlessly and managed to coordinate for the artist to fly in and out of Dubai. The line of communication was always very clear, so we were able to predict and solve any challenges before we faced them.
Public art is important in so many ways. It enriches the soul and provides a cultural context and completely changes the way people interact with a space. Now more than ever we need to support local artists and our communities.
We are so lucky to have so much talent coming from the Middle East which we need to highlight and support! As cultural placemakers, it is our duty to offer our building as a platform for emerging and established regional artists. In some ways we are connecting our talent with our tenants to create a wholesome ecosystem and future opportunities for these artists. Most importantly, all of our events and exhibitions are free of charge and open for the public to enjoy.
In the last few years, we have been lucky enough to witness several changes – albeit somehow minimal – in various social spheres. One of them being the art world, which has undergone incredible transformations in relation to the inclusion of female artists and how women are revolutionizing this industry.
Let’s not forget that art has been mostly managed by men and that the number of works exhibited and produced by male artists, to date, surpasses those made by female artists.
According to a study conducted by the University of Luxembourg in 2017, at auctions, women’s art pieces fetch prices 47% lower than those made by men (1).
A study by PLOS (Public Library of Science) showed that of the 18 largest museums in America, 76% of the art on display belonged to white male artists (2).
Nevertheless, museums such as El Prado in Madrid or the MoMa in New York, to name just a few, have recently decided to make efforts to increase the number of works and / or exhibitions by female artists, trying to balance the inequality that has existed between the two genders, slowly helping to close the gap.
2020 was definitely a promising year internationally with a greater number of exhibitions (both virtual and presencial) by women artists, the inclusion of the female gender in the industry, and of course, the numerous women’s movements around the world that mobilized thousands and raised awareness within our society.
Last year, we witnessed incredible movements and protests against female violence, from historic marches in Mexico, Chile and Eastern Europe, the #MeToo movement in North American and Middle Eastern countries, to the legalization of abortion in Argentina, among others.
2020 was possibly the weirdest year of our lives, however, let’s not leave behind that it was a year full of changes; of great and small revolutions, of national and international movements that have somehow reformed our society.
Let’s take a look at how 2020 was a year where women played an important role through art expression and who are some of these women who have inspired us the most in wanting to make a difference and getting involved in social movements and gender matters, to make this 2021 even more exciting.
Julieta Gil / @julietagilg – Mexican artist that works with different art forms including 3D renderings, animation, installation and sculptures. She is interested in both physical and digital realities, reflecting themes like feminism and technology and how these can be used to reshape our understanding of our institutions.
Eréndira Derbez – Mexican illustrator, writer and activist. In her work, she represents themes such as missing women, femicide, and awareness of the female body.
Alisha Davidson / @alisha_lucia – Toronto-based illustrator that creates feminist designs celebrating women. She brings to life beautiful and thought-provoking illustrations, spreading feminist cues about gender equality and feminist values about sisterhood and acceptance.
Genesis Belanger – Characterised by their soft and muted colour palette, New-York based artist Genesis Belanger’s outlandish renditions of everyday objects in ceramic examine visual themes like consumer culture and misogyny.
Chila Burman – Multimedia artist with Indian roots that uses vibrant, colourful, bold materials to transmit important messages like women empowerment and politics. She made this colourful installation covering Tate Britain’s facade to give some hope during the pandemic lockdown.
Ojima Abalaka – Illustrator from Nigeria that explores human rights throws a spotlight on issues of equality and race through her work, with her honest and contemporary digital illustrations.
Renata Petersen / @renatapetersendlt – Mexican artist that works with different media such as drawing, painting, photography and ceramics. Her work touches religious and social issues through objects of our everyday lives.
Beau Dunn / @beaudunnart – USA artist that works with sculpture, neons, photography and painting; she has developed a practice that is instantly recognizable for its vibrant colours, and bold social commentary on social pressures and stereotypes.
– Estefania Cardoso, General Manager of MASSIVart Mexico
More than ever, cities are turning to artists, architects and designers to create meaningful, future-proof projects for public spaces. Public art is often used to create and strengthen a sense of belonging, but it can also be used to challenge our relationship with those around us, to spark conversation, and to inform and educate.
On the occasion of our first project in Dubai at ICD Brookfield Place for which we collaborated with the famous new media art studio Ouchhh, we wanted to give them the floor to express themselves about their artistic approach and their relationship to public art.
Ouchhh is discovering the boundaries of art by conducting research on the relationships between architecture, art, science, technology, new media arts, and artificial intelligence. We consider each project a challenge and take a fresh and unique approach to all of our work. Our studio journey started 10 years ago. The in-house team (25 people) consists of varied talent from AI Artists, engineers, academicians, creative coders, designers, motion graphic designers, and media designers, all with one common vision that knowledge creates an epic public experience. Ouchhh has created approximately 52 public art projects for cities in nearly every continent.
Every art project starts with big, meaningful questions in our studio. Our main question for DATAMONOLITH_AI was: “What would happen if the consciousness of the world’s oldest ancient origins data and AI came together for a hybrid architectural public art?”. We collaborated with scientists and academicians to create this hybrid data sculpture. We then built up our team to include data scientists, AI Coders, and animation designers. Generally, we invent our experimental creation process for each installation, on a case by case basis. By using the generative adversarial network (GAN) and AI algorithms, we created a DATAMONOLITH_AI, which learned from Gobeklitepe data (dating from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period: 9600–7000 BC).
In the past, persistent advances in technology continued to boost the development of art forms. There was no exception from painting, sculpture, music, photography. Science and scientific ideas have long inspired art and artists, from Picasso and Leonardo da Vinci, to Dali and Samuel Morse. They demonstrated how scientific ideas can inspire impeccable art. Masters in history are our greatest inspiration. In this sense, as Ouchhh Studio, we always love to push boundaries in our works through the light of science and technology. New Media Art celebrated the connection between art and science from the very beginning. Digital technologies allow us to develop data sculptures, immersive experiences, and new alternative worlds. The rise of virtual art also allows for more creative opportunities, so we are excited to see the development of New Media Art happening every day.
Our data comes from wildly different sources like the human brain, space, ancient origins, sounds, visuals, texts etc… We use data as a brush and algorithms as our canvas which transforms the data into an aesthetic asset to be experienced by audiences in many ways. For example, our Poetic AI project is not just an immersive experience. Poetic AI can be read as a book and touched as a physical sculpture made by 20 million lines. We love to make invisible data into an art piece that can be seen. Our aim is to make people feel close to it by touching a data sculpture with the 20 million lines and theories made by AI. We think this is a nice middle ground between traditional and contemporary art.
Sci-fi movies and famous scientists are always our main inspirations. Stanley Kubrick and 2001: A Space Odyssey heavily influenced our concept design for this installation of DATAMONOLITH_AI.
We have a dream about secret codes of cosmic multidimensional hybrid universes made by AI without physical architectural boundaries in public spaces. That’s why we are actively trying to hack public spaces with New Media tools.
It is important for us to make people see and feel things that they do not always experience in their daily lives. Our main inspiration comes from physics, geology, science, geological environments and nature. These inspirations shape our design principles. We started to apply our knowledge of them to design across disciplines: new media and canvases – from the micro to the macro scale. Every feeling that we wanted to experience greatly influenced our own design style. We like to focus on the emotional response to the scientific connection between people and art.
We predict that art and technology will appear in more bold and ambitious immersive experiences in cities. Technology is changing the way in which we make, experience and share our ideas. Art collectors love to explore this fascinating area of technology and creativity. In our works, the integration of science and technology in art should firstly serve the feelings of the audience. Many of us know the feeling of being touched by a piece of art. When a piece of art touches our souls, we are affected. We are teleported to a different place that is parallel universes. Art pleases the eyes while science communicates. As Albert Einstein said: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science.” So the unknown, the mysterious, is where art and science meet. Mixing two disciplines generates a new way of thinking, for both the artist and the audience.
On January 29th, MASSIVart’s Founding Partner and Global Creative Director, Philippe Demers, was invited by Entro to speak on a panel centered around the importance of inclusivity and public space design. Welcoming the opportunity to discuss how MASSIVart champions diversity in its projects, Philippe also wished to emphasize that art is a proven vehicle for social change and holds great power in its ability to create safe spaces. Joining Philippe in this conversation were fellow industry experts, whose insightful and inspiring responses have been summarized on this page for you to reflect upon.
Heela Omarkhail, Vice President, Social Impact at the Daniels Corporation
Dr. Julie Nagam, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts, Collaboration and Digital Media
Rochelle Maresh, Strategist at Alliance Architects
Pru Robey, President at Pru Robey Consulting
Vedran Dzebic, Head of Research and Development at Entro
Over the last year, global events have caused us to re-examine our relationship to place, while social movements have asked us to critically examine who had access to these spaces to begin with. As our understanding of the human connection to place shifts, inclusivity might just be the guiding principle by which we can reclaim and re-energize our spaces. But a simple desire to build them is not enough.
According to Heela Omarkhail, inclusivity won’t happen by accident. It won’t be a byproduct of the design process as it requires intentionality. For example, the Daniels Corporation identified three organizing elements that can help facilitate inclusion:
– arts and culture
– food and urban agriculture
– sports and physical activity
These can be used as tools, incorporated in the design of both places and programs, that encourage people to come together regardless of cultural language, racial or socioeconomic backgrounds.
For Dr. Julie Nagam, the design and creation process of community spaces should be in the hands of BIPOC leaders or, at the very least, in direct collaboration with them. The decision for inclusion has to be deliberate, from the onset of a project. One of the best ways to ensure this is by focusing on hiring people for internal teams or consulting gigs that actually reflect the communities in which we’re building and designing for. In this case, recognizing that expertise may not come from formal or professional training but rather from lived experiences, is incredibly beneficial.
Echoing Dr. Nagam’s feelings, Pru Robey offers a powerful quote: “Racism is not the shark, it’s the water we swim in every day.” Acknowledging toxic systems and being honest with our communities about them will help us to imagine a future together: one in which people will have a real and meaningful stake.
Speaking to the emotional and social values of inclusive design, Philippe Demers proposes that architecture and created spaces act as canvases for life. Building beautiful structures, or blank canvases, is only the first step toward welcoming people in so that they may figuratively paint their own scenes. The injection of cultural programming is essential as it not only fosters new stories and connections, it keeps communities interested and engaged.
Convincing developers that there is concrete financial value for inclusive design, however, is quite the challenge. MASSIVart, Entro and Ryerson University are hoping to pioneer change as they are conducting a study to discover ways in which we can quantitatively measure the ROI of creative placemaking.
Referencing commonly used tools, Rochelle Maresh emphasizes that they are often not able to reach diverse, more inclusive groups of people, who may not have been able to take time off of work to attend virtual workshops or town hall meetings. Technology can be a hindrance. While it opens doors for some to become involved, it can close those doors for others. We should be actioning ways to reach broader demographics such as utilizing storefronts to advertise to people walking past how they can answer a community call. People shouldn’t have to have a phone or internet access to be able to receive information about getting involved or about how they can have a place at the table.
When gathering information, practicing empathy will help designers understand who their most engaged users will be. It is so valuable to hear what their life is like, what their experiences have been, what has influenced the way in which they think about space differently or how they’d want to participate in it. We should ask ourselves how the spaces we build can make people feel safe and secure enough to be able to express their whole selves.
At MASSIVart, Philippe notes that empathy has also become a large part of curatorship. Now more than ever, art selection for a public space is focused upon what makes sense for the community it is based in, or for the collective. Gone are the days of academic views determining what art or culture is. Curators are developing a capacity to listen to their audience and to be sensitive to their needs, understanding that they are designing for spaces that people will actually be living in and hopefully engaging with often. Artists should not only play a role in beautifying spaces, as they are attuned to what is happening in their communities and vocalizing it, they should be included in design processes at the very earliest stage.
As Dr. Nagam says, there’s a reason why people are drawn to projects that are grassroots driven. They feel more organic. Design and architecture firms have to learn how to collaborate better with artists, to stop seeing them as aesthetic workers but rather as peers. It’s all about listening to embodied knowledge, learning by doing, making sure that there’s a reciprocal relationship. What’s the end result? What does the community get out of it? Where do they see themselves sitting? Evaluating the aftermath of a project is something that she doesn’t think we do a good job of in general in almost all fields.
The overall consensus? The push for inclusion does not end when the project does. For Heela and the Daniels Corporation, they’ve learned that it’s not simply “build it and they will come”, it’s “build it, program it, outreach and market it” and eventually people will begin filtering in. But, if we can prioritize early on that people feel like they have a stake in the project, the transition to using created spaces will likely happen more naturally.
The work of Víctor Pérez-Rul (Mexico City, 1983) is an ongoing artistic research in which art, retro-futurism, Natural Sciences, cosmology, engineering, design, and subtle pop references converge. His solar sculptures are collaborative experimental projects, large scale installations, landscapes, physical and virtual objects that propose and explore new ways of understanding, perceiving and imagining the universe, energy, and life.
To facilitate his artistic, creative and experimental exercise, in 2010 Víctor founded Studio Víctor Pérez-Rul; an art studio that investigates energy and living beings as systems of energetic processing, converging sculpture, installation, physical and virtual environments and landscapes, experimental architecture, object design, futurism, reflections on technology and a vision of the world far from the Anthropocene such as post-humanism or nahualism.
His work has been presented in several countries including South Korea, Holland, Germany, Italy, the United States, Costa Rica and Mexico.
VPR: Sharing my amazement for the world and experiment its mysteries. I look to submerge myself through the heterogeneous experience of art into the great questions of our species, such as what is the Universe? What is life? Living and sharing my work is always an inconclusive adventure in the quest of freedom, wonder and knowledge.
VPR: I am inspired by nature, landscape, insects, underwater creatures, psychedelic, anime, video games, retro-futurism, spatial exploration, cyborgs, architecture, music in general, electronic music in particular, and Natural Sciences. The ideas can come from different places: a dream, a meditation, a conversation, a reading, while walking, in an adventure, in the shower… you know. Many times the ideas come in pieces and in different places and moments and they accumulate (through texts, sketches, diagrams, maquettes, etc.) until they generate a complete idea, usually utopic. The attempt of reaching that utopic vision, to the ideal piece, is how the idea gets materialized in an artwork. In that sense, every piece I work on is an attempt, an unfinished experiment.
VPR: Maybe the latest constant in my work resides in the expression of possible worlds and how these worlds can be suggested and unfold through art. Currently, I am working with themes related to theories and speculations on the origin of life and the vague limits between what we consider alive and not.
VPR: As an exploration adventure: one day I can be in a tropical forest, the other in a mine, the next one reading in my studio, working on the computer or watching cartoons. At the end, all experiences and knowledge that I accumulate began to transform into pieces through diagrams, sketches, prototypes, and their iteration. I try that the pieces I create can work as catalysts of complex experiences for the viewer, experiences that can’t be possible in any other way. For that, I have adapted the idea that my pieces have to be the point of convergence between different elements such as reflection, fiction, speculation, science, pop culture, the ancestral and the transcendental, all mixed without distinction. This point of convergence in the universe of my work is what I have called, Tesseract.
VPR: The technical solutions. I like to work and experiment with processes, technologies, and elements that can take a long time and a lot of knowledge. My pieces always come from a tension between content, experimentation, formal possibilities, production expenses and quality. Creative freedom has big challenges.
As the pandemic hit, we rethought our lives. How we connected and exchanged took a new path. We stayed in the comfort of our homes. We reevaluated the pace at which we live. We focused on what was essential, what keeps us going. We grabbed again the book that we had started to read but never finished – we didn’t have time then. We reconnected with our well-being and concentrated on what brought us relief: food, old movies, and art.
MASSIVart is all about creating unique human-centric experiences to enjoy, connect, and be inspired by art. We thought we would ask our fantastic team to tell you a little bit more about what helps them relax, get inspired, warm their heart and feel hopeful that this too shall pass.
Enjoy this third part of the series!
Object you can’t do without: Headphones
Favourite book: Blindness by Saramago
Favourite artist: Horacio Quiroz
Your song: Babylon Rule Dem – Groundation (bonus* Too many puppies – Primus)
Comfort food / drink: Tacos de pastor with dark beer
Object you can’t do without: My vape… hopefully, I’ll do without it one day!
Favourite book: Any illustration book by Jean-Jacques Sempé
Favourite artist: Sara Hagale
Your song: Bette Davis Eyes – Kim Carnes
Comfort food / drink: A cassoulet, a good beer or a Sortilege (Maple syrup Canadian whisky)
Object you can’t do without: My bike, my kite and my Japanese kitchen knife
Favourite book: All of the Arsène Lupin, Gentleman cambrioleur
Favourite artist: David Spriggs (Vancouver) for installations and Kathryn Macnaughton (Toronto) for paintings
Your song: Mount Kimbie – Marilyn + Neil Frances – Music Sounds Better With You
Comfort food / drink: Croissants, Chicken Pot Pie & Mango Smoothies
Object you can’t do without: The cap becomes more and more part of my life now
Favourite book: The Dune fiction book series (OMG and the upcoming movie)
Favourite artist: Corentin Laurens work has been catching my attention for a while now
Your song: All Ambar Lucid’s songs
Comfort food / drink: Without any hesitation a tuna tartare and a good Sangiovese
Object you can’t do without: My Excel grid?
Favourite book: I have Frederic Laloux’s Reinventing organization on my bedside table right now
Favourite artist: I discovered Nicolas Grenier in the last few years. I love his work.
Your song: Right now, I’m listening to Dominique Fils-Aimé, the whole album is great! I consume local (Quebec) 😉
Comfort food / drink: Gimme some Italian fresh pastas and some sea food please!
As the pandemic hit, we rethought our lives. How we connected and exchanged took a new path. We stayed in the comfort of our homes. We reevaluated the pace at which we live. We focused on what was essential, what keeps us going. We grabbed again the book that we had started to read but never finished – we didn’t have time then. We reconnected with our well-being and concentrated on what brought us relief: food, old movies, and art.
MASSIVart is all about creating unique human-centric experiences to enjoy, connect, and be inspired by art. We thought we would ask our fantastic team to tell you a little bit more about what helps them relax, get inspired, warm their heart and feel hopeful that this too shall pass.
Enjoy this second part of the series!
Object you can’t do without: My morning cup of coffee
Favourite book: Dave Beech, Beauty
Favourite artist: Allison Schulnik
Your song: Lisa LeBlanc – J’pas un cowboy
Comfort food / drink: Lasagna and a good glass of red wine
Object you can’t do without: A scrunchy
Favourite book: Near to the Wild Heart – Clarice Lispector
Favourite artist: Laurena Finéus & Othiana Roffiel / Elliott Routledge
Your song: Hypnotize – Notorious B.I.G.
Comfort food / drink: Pastor tacos and guava juice (Boing!) or pizza and beer
Object you can’t do without: 📸 Argentic camera. I limit myself to 3 for the moment, each with different films for different occasions and weather.
Favourite book: MILK Magazine
Favourite artist: Sabrina Ratté
Your song: New Error – Moderat
Comfort food / drink: 🍜 Spicy ramen egg supplement // 🍹 Moscow mule
Object you can’t do without: My bike is my most cherished object, it’s a 1970’s Norco passed down from my dad
Favourite book: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin
Favourite artist: Evan Penny or David Altmejd
Your song: Heavy, California – Jungle
Comfort food / drink: Homemade Pizza and Bourbon Apple Cider
As the pandemic hit, we rethought our lives. How we connected and exchanged took a new path. We stayed in the comfort of our homes. We reevaluated the pace at which we live. We focused on what was essential, what keeps us going. We grabbed again the book that we had started to read but never finished – we didn’t have time then. We reconnected with our well-being and concentrated on what brought us relief: food, old movies, and art.
MASSIVart is all about creating unique human-centric experiences to enjoy, connect, and be inspired by art. We thought we would ask our fantastic team to tell you a little bit more about what helps them relax, get inspired, warm their heart and feel hopeful that this too shall pass.
Enjoy this first part of the series!
Object you can’t do without: my Lunya sleep mask
Favourite book: Culture Crash by Scott Timberg or Don Thompson’s Art Trilogy
Favourite artist: Laurena Finéus & Katherine Takpannie
Your song: Free (feat Emeli Sandé) by Rudimentals or Luscious Life by Patrick Watson
Comfort food / drink: “Dirty Chai tea” or a Dirty Martini
Object you can’t do without: My weekend bathrobe
Favourite book: Azteca by Gary Jennings
Favourite artist: Rajni Perera
Your song: Out of time men by Mick Harvey
Comfort food / drink: Matcha latté
Object you can’t do without: my reusable coffee cup
Favourite book: Into the wild by Jon Krakauer
Favourite artist: Rocca Luis Cesar
Your song: Red Eyes – The War on Drugs
Comfort food / drink: Beer with Clamato
Object you can’t do without: My MAC
Favourite book: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Favourite artist: Damian Ortega
Your song: Opening by Philip Glass or I’d love to change the world by Ten Years After
Comfort food / drink: Spaghetti carbonara / Dry, straight up, shaken Martini.
Favourite Film director (*Added rebelliously): Three: Peter Greenaway & Woody Allen & Martin Scorsese
We talked with Ale Ballesteros to enter her inner world and learn more about the inspirations and motivations behind her work.
Ale Ballesteros is a 28-year-old Mexican artist. She is a designer by profession but life led her to the illustration world. She loves the beach, talking non-stop and pizza with pineapple. During her career, she has collaborated with various brands such as Google Allo, Snapchat, Travel Leisure, Shondaland, Bonafont, Nike, WeWork and Gaia, among others.
Her work is characterized by the use of bright colours, simple and organic forms, dynamic compositions, and tropical themes with touches of feminine empowerment. To her, illustrating is a way of materializing her inner world:
Ale was born in Mexico City but at age 6 moved to Cancun, where she grew up and lived most of her life. Having grown up surrounded by warm, rich natural landscapes has greatly influenced the artist’s work, who portrays worlds of powerful colour and fluid lines.
Ale also finds inspiration in pre-Hispanic art for its organic forms and for the symbolism behind them. This art also shows a strong link to the natural world, which resonates with Ale’s work.
Another great inspiration for the artist is the work of the French Henri Matisse. Ale manages to bring Matisse’s signature use of colour and the fluid lines to a contemporary Latin context:
Like many other entrepreneurs, we started this new activity with a vision, confidence and a lot of convictions. Until a pandemic came along, hitting more than one company, new and old, on its way. Despite this crisis, MASSIVart Mexico was able to grow and prove that art and business are a winning value proposition.
And after a year of operations, MASSIVart Mexico is here and in great shape. “This was possible thanks to the team’s determination, not to “wait for it to pass”, being resilient, not to give up despite the huge crisis and to be proactive, explaining to anyone who would listen that art, culture & technology, had its place in the middle of this crisis. Because art can help in many contexts! It entertains, it passes on strategic messages, it sells ideas and even reinforces brand positionings and company values in a unique, efficient way” commented Alejandro Cardoso.
“So here we are today, 1 year later, very proud to be able to tell you that MASSIVart Mexico has been able to attract not only extraordinary clients but also outstanding talents. Because without these last ones, we would not have attracted such great artistic collaborations” said Philippe Demers.
At the origin of this new agency are partners Philippe Demers and Alejandro Cardoso. Alejandro, former Executive Chairman of Publicis LATAM, has been appointed as the Global CEO & Managing Partner of MASSIVart Latin America. With 25+ years of experience, Cardoso is considered one of the most influential marketing & advertising personalities in Latin America.
Philippe Demers, the founder of MASSIVart Canada, has acted as Global Chief Creative Officer of the agency, bringing to the Mexican market an invaluable understanding and expertise in the art scene, a vertiginous work rhythm and a passionate spirit that employees and clients alike truly appreciate. “Never would have I imagined the insane amount of creative energy of Mexicans. It is for me one of the most art-driven countries on earth. The appreciation and the diversity of art and culture here are amazing. This vibrant country keeps seducing me every day.” said Philippe Demers.
MASSIVart designs and produces art-driven experiences, strategically incorporating to any given architectural space (private or public), contemporary art and cultural programs that enhance the experience and customer journey of visitors, guests, residents or attendees to hotels, shopping centres, stores, buildings, museums or public spaces.
Leading the Mexico operation is Estefania Cardoso, “who, thanks to 12 months of extraordinary performance and flawless client and talent management, a fair and humble recognition of all the outstanding work she has done. With Estefania at the forefront of our operation, clients and collaborators can be assured of having a talented, committed and dedicated professional efficiently leading our operation”, pointed out Cardoso and Demers.
Spearheading the financial and legal strategy of the company is Maxim Ceré-Marcoux, CPA, Global CFO, who brings to the team several years of experience working in accounting and finance consultancy firms in Canada and the United States. His implication is a clear indication of management’s dedication to MASSIVart’s long term success in Mexico and internationally.
MASSIVart was also efficient to find top talents as Jimena Lopez, creative coordinator and art curator of MASSIVart Mexico, who has a rich experience in the Mexican contemporary art scene, with more than 40 exhibitions managed under her belt. Also, Emmanuel Aspero, recently hired as Project Manager in the production area, after several years working for Cocolab.
“These talents and the valuable support from our clients have allowed MASSIVart Mexico to be here, successfully, after this very special first year, and to have started promising projects that will have an international scope and that – for some – will even evolve Mexico’s place on the international art scene. We would like to warmly thank the clients that have accepted our value proposition and for having put their full trust in us”, said Estefania Cardoso.
“Jump Start Summer!” was a call to Montrealers to support the city’s restaurants, stores, hotels, artists and creators. How? By going out, exploring, encouraging local businesses, taking a mini-vacation in their city.
MASSIVart acted as artistic consultants and operated the production management of 7 public art installations. Relaxing stops carefully arranged by Montreal artists, designers or creative studios to (re)discover iconic downtown locations.
Among them, Judith Portier, with whom we collaborated for the installation “Ça va bien aller !” and to whom we wanted to give the floor. Judith was given carte blanche to express herself on how public art projects are helpful, even more so in today’s context. She also tells us more about the artistic process that led to the creation of the installation we collaborated on.
I am a passionate human being, an entrepreneur and a Montreal designer. I am the founder of Design Par Judith Portier inc. (DPJP), a studio oriented towards event design. That is to say, the creation of spaces with a temporary vocation for the needs of exhibitions, communication, cultural gatherings, in short, contact with visitors!
Drawing on my experience in planning, layout and design for numerous festivals, scripting the space and the interactions between its users have been at the heart of my work. It has led me to produce projects in all kinds of contexts, indoors and outdoors, in all seasons, both in private or public spaces. I have managed to stand out thanks to my multidisciplinary background. I never hesitate to surround myself with people to take up challenges.
Challenges are numerous in public spaces. These places are often unsupervised and subjected to all kinds of bad weather. Furthermore, you have to carefully choose how to set up to leave everything intact after a temporary intervention, which must, however, be solid! Outside, especially in the city, we compete with a very dense visual and sound environment.
These constraints have always become motivating creative challenges. That’s how I founded my studio, whose approach is based on the study of the characteristics of a place to bring out its strengths through scenographic interventions that create new worlds. DPJP works in museums and cities to develop interpretation paths, installations, signage and artistic installations that stand out by their colourful integration into their space.
This summer, our industry was deeply shaken by the pandemic, and our work was strongly impacted. There has been a significant change of pace in design. Therefore, I took the opportunity to get involved in a collaboration with MASSIVart, for a project carried out with the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership. It consisted of deploying several artistic and design installations in various areas of the city of Montreal. For Jean-Paul Riopelle Park, our mission was to create a robust, attractive scenography inspired by Montreal’s cultural identity, a UNESCO City of Design. The idea was to highlight the space to reveal and enhance it. By choosing to intervene on the trees, we wanted to pay tribute to the place by transforming it into an enchanted forest where it is pleasant to walk, even alone.
We wanted to focus on the park’s interior by choosing trees in its heart rather than on the periphery to promote intimacy and calm in the heart of the urbanity. The choice of vibrant and saturated colours is in continuity with the highly coloured facade of the Palais des Congrès. It was a choice to harmonize them to promote a reassuring atmosphere and avoid being at odds with the environment. Named “Ça va bien aller”, the project is a reflection of our positive state of mind. A form of withdrawing from what we can’t control. Choosing to wait for the weather to be inviting again in a shimmering place, escaping the movement of fear that paralyzes the mind.
A new and different place where we want to go back to because it appeals to us, always brings a little spark to a neighbourhood. A project that we like to see again always has a positive effect, even if we see it for the hundredth time. A short break was well appreciated by all those who spoke to us when we were there. According to them, we managed to create a cocoon in a park that we perceived was cold due to its location.
It is animated by a discreet but well present fauna. For the lady who comes to read, the individual who comes to walk his dogs, to Enzo, a well-known homeless person, to the worker in charge of the maintenance who makes his round several times a day, to the man in a suit who took the habit to cross the street to drink his coffee, all felt a deeper sense of belonging to the park, thanks to the art which, for a few months, made it special.
Within the COVID-19’s context, this unplanned culture of art in the city is in opposition to a place like a festival where one can expect a transformation of the environment. It is why it always provokes surprise among passers-by. This moment can be very positive on a person’s journey! That is why it is important to use our vision and skills to bring a little happiness to the city, even more so in the current context.
As we, almost, do everything ourselves and always end up being on the installation’s ground, we have formed an army affectionately called the #fillesdedesign. Over time, it has become our community but also our artist’s name to communicate on social media. It was great to be away from teleworking to create our installation!
Earlier this summer, we were fortunate to deliver the “Bleu Tomate” turnkey project. Thanks to a request for proposals from the City of Montreal’s Design Office, which qualified more than 70 firms on its territory to create an innovative design laboratory in response to COVID-19. We were able to put to good use our knowledge of temporary and modular design, sustainable development and the creation of human interactions to rethink these transitional spaces that improve some of the city’s streets. We develop a functional and fun project that serves its users’ needs while becoming a landmark in the urban landscape.
We took up the challenge to improve a living environment that is dear to our hearts, as the project is located a few steps away from our studio and in our residential neighbourhood. The Marché Solidaire, already present on the street, attracts many visitors every week. The residents of the community are looking for ways to enjoy the nice weather while respecting the rules of social distancing.
MASSIVart recently collaborated with artist Laurence Philomène on a unique sculptural installation which helped foster a sense of community across Montreal neighborhoods through the inclusion of a unique digital, interactive component. It is from this idea that was born The Essentials project for the City of Montreal’s safe active transportation circuits.
Inspired by this sense of achieving a creative connection, The Essentials was an installation of eight interactive sculptures linked to a series of photo portraits celebrating 8 local essential workers.
The colourful and playful nature of the installation invites the public to interact with the artwork and discover each photographic portrait and the story behind each essential worker’s life through a QR code and specially designed online platform.
While artistically displaying the diversity of the neighborhood and the people who live there, this celebration of the neighbourhood’s essential workers also acts to mitigate the fear of our neighbours in the context of the COVID pandemic. The portraits also explore the premise of who is essential and makes us reflect on the crucial, varied roles we all play in our communities.
For Laurence Philomène, this project was a way to repay their gratitude and celebrate their own Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension neighbourhood – a place they call home. Through each piece, Laurence wishes to thank and elevate the proud characters who give this multicultural working class neighborhood its authenticity.
For MASSIVart, it was an essential opportunity to make art more present and accessible while supporting an artist who fosters critical conversations via their images. The project allowed the mission and values of MASSIVart to also come together through the contribution of their extensive knowledge in creating memorable, community powered experiences through art.
What do you love about what you do?
I love getting to create the kind of world I want to live in. I love sharing the beauty I see in everything. And I love using photography as a vehicle to meet and connect with new people, and to create images that make people feel good in their body.
How has the pandemic affected the meaning of your work?
Prior to the pandemic, I was doing a lot of studio shoots, which I’ve stopped doing almost entirely. It’s been a good excuse to do more outdoor portraiture like I did for this project though!! Aside from that, the way I exhibit my work has shifted as well, to outdoor projects like this, and online galleries.
My personal work is largely autobiographical / self-portraiture so that aspect of my practice hasn’t changed much, and it’s given me an opportunity to dive deeper into making work about routines, domesticity and the mundane.
Where do you find community?
I mostly find community online. I grew up with a chronic illness which means I spent a lot of time indoors / by myself, and I found a community of young photographers and queer artists I connected with at the time who got me where I am today. Similarly, most of my close friends and collaborators today are people I met through sharing my work online – mostly on instagram.
What does essential mean to you?
In the context of the pandemic, essential means acknowledging our interdependence as humans in community with one another, and respecting the value of each others’ needs and skills no matter what they are.
How did the collaboration and the creative process work with MASSIVart?
It went so well! It was really great to have a team motivating me to get the project going & stay on track since the timeline was quite tight. It was also great to have Massivart coordinate the fabrication and installation of the sculptures. I felt like they really encouraged and trusted my input through every step of the project and I hope we get to work together again!
Anything else you would like to add?
Don’t forget to add some colour into your life to make it through the grey days ahead!
A little bit more about the artist
Laurence Philomène is a photographer based in Montreal, Canada. Laurence makes colourful work that centres queer and trans experiences, often through long-form and autobiographical projects. Laurence’s work is informed by their lived experiences as a chronically ill, non-binary transgender artist coming of age amid the rise of social media. Through high-saturated, cinematic and caring images, their work celebrates marginalized existences, and studies identity as a space in constant flux. Laurence aims to work in collaboration with every person they photograph – creating striking, intimate portraits that celebrate the beauty in every human being. Instantly recognizable by their signature use of colour and daylight, Laurence’s photographs act as a love letter to their community.
Project funded through the Montreal Cultural Development Agreement and the Réflexe Montreal Agreement between the City of Montreal and the Government of Quebec.
MASSIVart has been a champion of the arts transcending beyond traditional institutions for more than 11 years. Art is powerful. Art can engage in difficult conversations. Art creates emotional connections that rally people together. We are convinced that those experiences should be lived, revisited and shared. While we always have soft arguments on our side to substantiate our claim. This brand new study coming from a reputable partner and endorsed by industry leaders will give us the undeniable tool that art placemaking is a valuable and tangible value-added to private and public projects.
From public art, creative seating arrangements, monuments, cultural programming, landscape design and architecture, our surroundings impact our health. While this has been a general belief, this study will contribute to knowledge production and compile tangible data to measure the ROI of art placemaking.
Our years in business have proven to us, and our clients, that art placemaking is beneficial to increase traffic, transform spaces and enhance events by creating memorable experiences. Cultural programming and the inclusion of art in architecture, real estate and design, and many other alternative areas can transform the sense of community & belonging and contribute to the collective well-being. Art conveys the character of a place, its value, its culture, its identity and narrative.
This study’s framework will give us some much-needed quantitative analysis in a benefit we can acknowledge but till now hardly measured.
We have embarked on this study with other front runners of their field of expertise, real estate – The Daniels Corporation, design – Entro, and architecture – Lemay. The study is piloted by Ryerson University’s Creative Industries professor, Louis-Etienne Dubois and his team. As he states, “together, these metrics will generate an original dashboard that stakeholders can use to discuss, assess, and communicate the economic, social and aesthetic value of placemaking in the planning and evaluation of projects.”
At MASSIVart, we believe that creative spaces, cultural programming and placemaking can create a tangible ROI for brands because it brings people together and builds stronger bonds.
We are expecting the results in the second quarter of 2021. These results will give us more data-driven results to promote and create more art-driven experiences. Furthermore, this will fulfill some of MASSIVart’s missions; to support the artistic community and make art more accessible to everyone and everywhere.
In partnership with the Hotel Association of Greater Montreal, MASSIVart participated in a discussion panel debating how art allows brands to cut-through in an industry that is in constant evolution.
The project’s key stakeholders discussed their vision and elaborated on the processes that led to the final design of this unique, premium location.
Christina Poon, General Manager, W Montreal
Camille Jodoin-Eng, Artist
Martin Leblanc, Senior Partner, Sid Lee Architecture
Philippe Demers, Founding Partner, MASSIVart
The renovation project began 4 years ago placing extensive consideration on delivering a contemporary design solution that would live through current & future trends yet always be ahead of its time. This future thinking has become the trademark of the W. Even 15 years ago, when the W Montreal first opened its doors, it was years ahead of its time for both Montreal and Canada so it was crucial that the renovation continued to establish this illustrious brand positioning.
In New York & Montreal, discussions and creative workshops took place between the Sid Lee Architecture, Ivanhoe Cambridge and W teams to define the ‘W Montreal’ brand for the next 10 years, and what was required to achieve that. “That’s how we came up with this exceptional product.” said Christina Poon.
What allowed the Sid Lee Architecture team to create such a coherent solution was led by the particular character of the W which owns a premium positioning at the forefront of the hospitality industry. As its relationship with Montreal is so authentic and significant, the W has more of a local, boutique-style feel than a hotel from a large international group. “That’s why we worked on this project – to give it its unique character. There was first a period of active listening and then we came to exchange on proposals.” Martin Leblanc said.
The strong narrative of the W was the main aspect taken into consideration. There is an authentic relationship between the hotel associates and the guests which is why the architecture team worked extensively to connect the dots between these 2 groups by finding stories with topics beyond the surface, all told through thoughtfully curated artworks.
“It’s always been important for me to integrate art in our projects – especially outside of galleries & museums. Hotels are a good canvas for art. If you don’t expect artworks, you have more of a kind of a raw relationship with it, and this is what I’m seeking.” Martin Leblanc said.
From the perspective of artist Camille Jodoin-Eng, art connects the local community with the global community within a space. It also brings out the spirit and history of the city. It is a mutually beneficial collaboration: The artists help the hotel to visually communicate their identity through aesthetics, but also embody the values of the company. In return, artists are supported and given a public platform for their visual voice. It also improves the well-being of everyone in the space, from guests to employees.
Christina Poon also sees art as a conversation-starter: “It breaks the ice and right away it enhances the sense of arrival. Guests are checking in and they’re saying that they’re coming in somewhere where they feel good. There is something that compels them to be happy here, while affirming the W Montreal’s identity of bold, edgy and colourful.”
For Martin Leblanc, “The key is to know its inclusion and importance at the very beginning of the project, when we’re still looking at how we’re gonna tackle it. In the same way that we know we’ll need a bar, it must be obvious, it is not even a question. Even if, later on, you question if it will be a big or small bar, it was part of the original mandate of the space to have a bar. In the same way, when art becomes an essential element rather than a budget expense, our approach is very different” For Martin, art must be integrated into the architecture, not just be a painting on a wall.
From Christina Poon’s point of view, it’s okay to start small – art doesn’t have to be all done in one shot, it can be introduced little by little. It doesn’t have to be a complete renovation to make it happen. Also, even if you can’t calculate the exact ROI of art integration, Christina Poon ensures that
It’s important for the art community to have private commissions like these. Camille Jodoin-Eng told us that it’s great for artists to be displayed in a hotel as they can reach a broader audience than in galleries and museums. Also, what she appreciated was that “in the case of a private commission, you don’t have to think of the artwork as a sellable element, you can just focus on the ideas and creating rather than the sellability of the work.”
On the question of engaging local vs international artists, everyone agreed on the fact that the goal is to encourage local artists. But as Martin Leblanc said, “I also think that the way to help local artists is to mix them with global talents to help them reach a far broader audience.”
The challenge will always remain on how best to connect the two worlds of business and art and how to find that winning-balance between them. Both commercial and artistic objectives must be met, and to achieve this it’s crucial that it’s a collaborative effort.
Launched in 2019, the Canada’s Top Growing Companies editorial ranking aims to celebrate entrepreneurial achievement in Canada by identifying and amplifying the success of growth-minded, independent businesses in Canada. In total, 400 companies earned a spot on this year’s ranking.
The full list of 2020 winners, and accompanying editorial coverage, is published in the October issue of Report on Business magazine—out now—and online at tgam.ca/TopGrowing.
“The stories of Canada’s Top Growing Companies are worth telling at any time, but are especially relevant in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic,” says James Cowan, Editor of Report on Business magazine. “As businesses work to rebuild the economy, their resilience and innovation make for essential reading.”
An honor for our team!
The internationally acclaimed CODAawards celebrate the projects that most successfully integrate commissioned art into interior, architectural, or public spaces. The CODAawards program honors the individuals and the teams whose collective imaginations create the public and private spaces that inspire us every day.
They have recently announced the winners of their eighth annual competition. Judging the 465 entries from 25 countries – USA, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and China, among them – was a panel of 18 jurors from the design and art worlds, including Gensler principal and creative director John Bricker; Jennifer Kolstad, chair of the American Society of Interior Designers and Ford Motor Company global design director; and Rhode Island School of Design president Rosanne Somerson.
Installations were selected in 11 categories, such as hospitality, healthcare, education, and transportation. The jury’s top 100 picks were exhibited online, where the public was invited to vote for three favorites.
Jury member Audrey Koehn, Principal + Global Interiors Leader, DLR Group commented on the awarded work conceived and produced by MASSIVart: “The suite presented a seamless integration of creative and interactive art elements which preserved history in an immersive experiential way, making this project stand out.”
Maxim graduated with honours from the Concordia University John Molson School of Business and later obtained his CPA designation in both Canada and the United States. The key to his success lies in the determination and professionalism he applies to each new challenge he undertakes. An approach that will continue to influence his career path in the years to come.
From his early days in the accounting and finance world, Maxim’s rigour enabled him to accept a position with the renowned firm Deloitte. Two years later, he was propelled to the city of San Francisco where he worked for BPM as Audit Manager. In this role, he worked with companies of all sizes, operating in different sectors and with diverse opportunities and objectives. Maxim brings this broad experience with him to MASSIVart.
It is in 2019 that Maxim returned to the city of Montreal, where he arrives with a heavy arsenal of knowledge at MASSIVart. A strong interest in and fascination for art drives our CFO to apply his experience to guide the company towards healthy growth and to seize opportunities that will arise. As a result, he contributes in his own way to propelling art and culture to new heights.
As I celebrate one year into my new role at MASSIVart, I am taking the opportunity to share some thoughts on how finance and art, as broadly as they can be imagined, are usually considered at very different ends of any spectrum, should they even be considered on the same spectrum at all.
One usually is thought of as the pursuit of wealth and profit, or overall financial health whereas the other, as a means of leveraging creativity to express oneself, a beautifying agent and, to a certain extent, a luxury meant for those excelling in the first.
Finance, in its broadest sense, is ultimately focused on increasing value by, among other means, finding efficiencies, reducing costs and eliminating resource constraints. On the other hand, art, and by extension culture and creativity, undoubtedly contribute to value creation by significantly differentiating positioning and communications, resulting in a strong sentiment of customer adhesion and aligning interests of different stakeholders.
Given the output of one is more easily quantifiable, it tends to be associated with greater value creation whereas the other, simply because of the different nature of its output, is thought as being more superficial in its contribution to value creation and as a result tends to be considered as less necessary or urgent of an investment.
I would however argue, now more than ever in the context of a financial contraction of the likes none of us have ever seen, that, among other strategies, the combination of both financial considerations and a willingness to integrate creative and artistic initiatives will be necessary, for most players, to imagine their path back to financial strength, success and growth and will contribute to defining their new communication and positioning strategy in a highly crowded environment.
On top of the qualified, highly-motivated and experienced team, as well as the impressive track record of the company, the main aspect that made me want to be part of MASSIVart was the simple premise that there is no reason why art, culture, creativity and financial business could not be considered together as a way to address the modern, highly complex and rapidly changing challenges of our diverse economic players.
Virtual art exhibitions are now a reality; and this is not only because museums and galleries around the world had to close their doors due to the pandemic. Online shows are a direct consequence of the changes in the way people are consuming culture and the technological progress of recent years.
Since the last decade, museums and galleries have been experiencing a decrease in the number of visitors, seeing not only their economic sustainability threatened but also their primary objective – bringing art close to the people. One of the factors that led to this fall in attendance is the predominance of social media, as it has completely changed the way people consume art and culture. The tendency up until now was to put the discourse -the concept- as the main element of an exhibition; but now the importance has been transferred to the experience and the instagrammable art -being this a trend in every aspect of the consumer’s behavior and not exclusive to the arts and culture. Some examples are found in the immersive museum TeamLab Borderless or the Magritte retrospective presented in the SFMoMA in 2018 which included interactive installations at the end of the show aimed to offer a “selfie” moment.
Before, the public depended on museums and galleries to discover new artists and to know more about their work. Now, people have direct access thanks to social media. One can talk with artists and buy their work directly on Instagram, without a gallery as the intermediary. In curatorship and marketing terms, museums and galleries had years debating between keeping their traditional strategies or exploring new ways.
The rise of COVID-19 and the subsequent pandemic forced cultural institutions to close their doors, making their deficiencies even more visible. With the lockdown, museums and galleries had to embrace new technologies and implement virtual tours -the digital experience of an exhibition shown in a real, physical space- to keep their spaces alive. Now with the extension of the confinement and the implementation of health measures, the efforts will have to be directed to develop online-exclusive shows.
Virtual exhibitions have been implemented by galleries since 2015 as a tool to improve their sales –being David Zwirner Gallery one of the pioneers–, but in the post-COVID world, this format is also allowing museums and cultural institutions to keep offering free access to art. Being this –the free accessibility– one of the pillars of the internet, virtual exhibitions represent a step forward to the democratization of art.
Many in the art world might say that the online experience cannot replace the physical encounter with a painting or a sculpture, but the reality is that both collectors and viewers are more and more comfortable with this format. For galleries, virtual exhibitions besides improving sales, represent reaching a global audience. For viewers, they mean the opportunity to access and explore art from anywhere in the world. In terms of curatorship, the disappearance of the spatial barriers will allow one exhibition to happen in different parts of the world, giving a large number of artists an opportunity to showcase their work, and attracting a wider audience as well. This technology could change the structure of the art world completely.
As people can access from the comfort of their own homes, they will live a more intimate experience and engage more freely with the artwork. The translation from physical to virtual spaces will bring the opportunity of exploring new ways of presenting art and other exciting challenges in terms of curatorship and exhibition design; even as we return to our new reality.
The current development of online shows will impact the way physical exhibitions are going to be curated in the future. We predict the proliferation of hybrid models in the years to come as incorporating technology, such as virtual or augmented reality, will increase the engagement with the viewers while giving the institutions an excellent opportunity to enhance the general experience.
With the pandemic, museums and galleries saw the opportunity to finally move to the digital arena. The challenge now is not to make the jump from offline to online strategies but to understand how to make the aesthetic experience through a screen equally rewarding.
Visiting several online exhibitions, three persistent formats stood out. The less complex one is the presentation of the artworks as flat images, which is a photo gallery with descriptive texts, as it is the case of the valuable platform of Google Arts & Culture or the shows presented by Hauser & Wirth. In the next level are the 3D spaces that literally translate the white cube to the digital realm but keeping the artworks as flat images, as the recent exhibitions developed by Casa Equis. Lastly, we found more experimental spaces where the pieces are finally three-dimensional but generally the platforms are difficult to navigate making the experience short and very confusing, as the initiatives by Centro Cultural Casa del Lago Juan José Arreola.
Whichever is the chosen format, what is clear is that the aesthetic experience is undoubtedly changing and that the materiality of the artwork is no longer the principal factor to engage or connect with the viewer. The problem is that these types of exhibitions, although efforts worth recognizing, are not offering a satisfactory alternative to the physical experience.
We cannot continue designing exhibitions for the digital world following guidelines of the physical world. We need to explore them with tools that are digital as well, such as incorporating 360º views of the artwork, videos, audios, links, among other types of content already living in the web, to build a holistic experience that will stimulate all our senses, provoke curiosity and generate more engagement. The objective of the design and curatorship has to be to offer a deeper level of immersion and participation for the viewer.
An area of opportunity is found in real-time strategies such as webcams showing the artists working in their studios, online chats to have conversations with the artists and/or curators or even to develop online artworks that are not only interactive but participatory. These make us think that changes in the creative processes will also occur as the artists will have to conceive their work to be seen through electronic devices, and will have to give a more active role to the viewers. It is exciting to think of all the new art forms that are going to be developed.
Like everything, the art world will have to adapt and evolve rapidly to stay current. In MASSIVart we think that the answer might not be developing new technologies but learning how to use the existing ones more creatively. Artists, cultural institutions, curators, and other members of the art scene, will have to rethink the digital space as an autonomous one, with infinite new possibilities to create, show, and sell art.
The past few months brought drastic changes in our everyday life. Our homes have been turned into multipurpose spaces; our daily commute was cancelled. We went for more walks, discovered uncharted territories in our neighborhood. Statues have fallen, while murals have sprung. Art has also been at the forefront of conversations. Many find solace in painting rainbows, embellishing those non-descript spaces that became precious overnight.
Art, especially Public Art, the one you can see outdoors, for free, accessible to everybody, took on a new meaning. As we are moving into the very early days of the new normal, we measure how important the outdoors has become in our lives. That park, that street we walk on to get coffee simply to get out of the house. We want to enjoy our surroundings; they foster relationships; it makes us engaged with our communities. Sculptures have been scrutinized, many have been taken down their pedestal and will need to be replaced. Murals are being painted to pay homage, to get attention, to remember and to reflect our current time and struggles.
As outdoors is now playing a central role in our daily lives, cities turn into urban planning. Public Art takes many forms; murals, large-scale sculptures, installation, site-specific; it can stand alone or be part of a sculpture garden or a punctual event. It can be up in the air, perched in a tree, under your feet, standing next to you or inviting you in. It transpires the value of the artists that creates the project, the people who supported it and commissioned it. It reflects on what city, space or company wants to express about itself; that they are a place for creativity, a way to retain their creative classes, to engage with their communities. Art enriches life. The general expectation is that Public Art relates to time, reflects our stories, and is accessible to a broad and diverse public.
In the past 30 years or so, Public Art moved from grassroots to mainstream; projects are now almost expected to present it in one form or another. Art, and especially Public Art is becoming more and more understood as a value-added feature. It activates a city, a place. From old fashion monuments which were passive, new sculptures become a vessel. They are about activation and engagement, pushing deeper their social commitment. One good example of involving the public in the decision process is the 4Th plinth project in Trafalgar Square in London, UK. While there is a committee selecting the shortlisted, the public is invited to see the submission, give comments and vote, and take a step further in deciding what will throne at the top of the plinth left unused for more than 150 years.
It revitalizes, highlights, gives a second life and beautifies place – think of a mural under a viaduct – instant game changer. Urban furniture pops up overnight. Suddenly, it is alive, activated. It changes the perception of an overlooked area by which we walk thousands of times. We pay attention, and we want to experience it, sit on it and enjoy that place to a degree we wouldn’t connect with otherwise.
Partnering with the Partenariat du Quartier des Spectacles, Palais des Congrès in Montreal, Hullmark in Toronto or MIRA in Mexico, MASSIVart actively work towards bringing lively, festive, uplifting destinations infused art and design, contribution to enhancing the visual landscape as well as the spirit of the space. It transforms how we experience places, changes the way we interact, gives us a breather and cuts the monotonous. While its quantitative impact is harder to measure, it’s qualitative impact shows to be reliable. Public Art commands attention, attracts your gaze, gets you to look up from your phone, engage and sparks conversation.
It is a dialogue about the social fabric of our cities. The rewarding effects are numerous. On a human level: happier population, less stressful commute, mental health benefits, lower crime rate. From an economic perspective, it creates jobs for artists and more – someone needs to design, construct, install and take care of those projects. It requires materials that are more than often sourced locally. It also fosters tourism – let’s think of Prada Marfa in Marfa and how Marfa became a destination since Donald Judd decided to create some major permanent installations there. It creates a buzz, makes the city vibrant, promotes its competitive edge, lives for its innovative thinking – the vital signs are strong.
This is an occasion that building owners and real estate companies should take advantage of. It is part of our mission at MASSIVart to work with cities, real estates, promoters and developers to increase the presence of art in their projects that have a strong impact in how we navigate our cities. With the current movement for shopping local, it is time to rethink the offer and push further their entertainment and well-being in the infrastructures they are part of. To push the envelope and for companies to promote their values through their implication in daily life and enhancement of multipurpose public spaces. MASSIVart puts at the service of its partner actionable insights due to our years of experience in conceiving desirable destinations that create uplifting, and engaging spaces.
Public Art can also transform and re-activate older buildings, cover-up design mistakes, and mitigate sterile streetscapes or buildings’ effects. A mural can prevent graffiti from reoccurring, and vandalism decreases. A new installation contributes to foster conversations, to engage with the locals as well as the visitors.
It leads to thinking back to programs like the Federal Art Project that ran from 1935 to 1943 and which was part of the New Deal after the Great Recession. At its core, the goals of building morale, creating jobs and reducing crime. In times like now, when we need more than ever to move from generic experience to unique ones, when alternative narratives are needed, the ideas of creating a program or investing funds in inspiring people, in giving some a purpose while enriching our everyday life seem like the way to go.
MASSIVart’s vision is aligned with this thinking; we strongly believe in creating memorable art driven experiences that the communities in which they are delivered will want to live, revisit and share. We are proud to support and offer new possibilities to artists as well as giving back and working with other communities and partners in our common goal to foster a local cultural ecosystem which is deeply rooted in creating relevant experiences delivered in unexpected ways.
We can expect to see Public Art flourish as cities will rethink themselves for smaller gatherings, engage with their communities and regional visitors, and expand their outdoors, as we know this virus is here to stay. This summer shows us the power of standing together for what we believe in and being advocates for the changes we want to see in our communities.
By Alejandro Cardoso – Global CEO, MASSIVart
We, at MASSIVart, have been able to participate in several recent forums as well as discussion with our real estate development and retail clients. Here are some thoughts we have and have seen emerging in the industry.
Covid-19 has already forced shopping centers and stores to implement sanitary measures. They will stay with us for a while so we better get used to wearing a mask, have our body temperature checked and our shoes sprayed with chlorine solutions to be able to walk into a mall or store.
It is perhaps time to rethink how shopping centres function. How can they be redesigned to meet today’s way of living. such as green spaces, secure environments, well equipped working areas, beautiful (or at least nicely designed) social and eating areas, plus all the stores. We have helped some of our Clients to evolve in this direction and gain prominence and awareness that then translates into traffic that creates a great shopping experience, which is the ultimate goal of our services.
And we mean all the factors that surround a shopping experience, which now includes the known sanitary measures. And for that, we mean on line service, merchandise pick up or home delivery, in store service, window display, in store decor, promotions and cultural programs as ways to attract and please shoppers. Every touch point, online and offline will count. Every interaction between a customer and the retailer will count, no matter how small it might look or sound. Retailers must aim at a ZERO DEFECT shopping experience. That means no flaws, no service errors and an improved shopping space for shoppers to feel safe and rewarded as they enter the retail space and walk through the now ample store aisles.
The shopping experience will remain dual: online & offline. While COVID19 forced former non online users to start shopping online, the physical shopping experience can not be replaced by the online only experience. Shoppers, beyond online shopping, want to be attended by a human being a place where you are physically seeing, not only listening over the phone or on a chat on your computer. People love to go to the shopping centres or stores because it is – or must be – entertaining and self fulfilling. The physical shopping process is fun and despite the technological progress, with virtual dressing rooms and AR technologies (Ie: Gucci, Uniqlo, Inditex, Ralph Lauren to name a few) the shopping experience will never be 100% replaced by online shopping.
With the global trend of residential living space becoming smaller, young couples and families will tend to look for a space to feel free, liberated from a constrained home space and have fun in a secure manner. That’s where THE SHOPPING CENTRE model falls in and makes sense.
While in some countries the consumer behavior was to go to a store and go back home, so you just have one opportunity to make them happy at your store, in many other countries – and this trend is growing – going to a mall could be a full day of activities including eating at a high end restaurant, going to the movies, even an amusement park and of course shopping at multiple stores, all within one space. Going to a shopping centre in some Latin American countries and some cities in the USA, could be a full family day. We believe that this trend will soon be embraced by many countries around the world.
Here some ideas and marketing principles to consider:
Every month, we spotlight one of our amazing team members! We open the floor so that they can express themselves, share their passions and unique skills… Today it’s Alice’s turn!
Alice has been part of the MASSIVart team since 2018, first as artistic director of the Chromatic festival and now as artistic consultant and a curator of the agency’s projects.
A valuable member of our creative team, she is also an inspiring artist. We wanted to give her carte blanche to talk about her background and artistic approach, and showcase her work.
After obtaining my master’s degree at the Ecole Supérieure d’Art de Clermont Métropole, in France, I initiated, with 10 other artists and friends, the creation of the venue La Cabine. This place thought as a collective workshop and exhibition space allowed me during two years to deepen my practice and to curate different exhibitions and events.
During the year 2015 I took part in several exhibitions including Les Enfants du Sabbat 16 at the art center Creux de L’enfer in Thiers, France and S’allonger sur une ombre, at Home Alone in Clermont-Ferrand, France.
In 2018, I decided to move to Montreal where I took on the role of Artistic Director for the 10th edition of the Chromatic Festival. At the same time, I benefit from my first European exhibition: the collective exhibition “Six Memos” which will travel between Spain, England and Poland during the year 2018-2019. In July 2018, I exhibited for Art.Art with Roxa Hy in Montreal. Since 2019, I have been an art consultant and curator at MASSIVart and I continue my artistic practice in parallel.
As for my plastic work, it revolves around the notion of daily life. It questions the landscape and the geometrical forms found in it, whether natural or man-made. I collect elements of reality and I avoid their forms to keep only the edges. The forms, once purified and rethought, are the result of emptiness / fullness. I am therefore interested in the form itself and in what it is as such.
The installations that result from this formal research give birth to silent universes where structures can be contemplated like a stroll in a ghost town.
In the manner of Italo Calvino, who in American Lessons: Six Memos for the Next Millennium crosses literary eras like a journey, I seek to perceive the landscape as a journey from which a multiplicity of plastic forms results.
About the “Multiplicity” on page 173: “Gaddafi knew that “to know is to insert something into the real, therefore it deforms the real“. This is exactly what I want to show through my work. How to perceive the landscape, the changes that can occur on it, the “speed” at which it evolves. The idea that an image as such is not “correct”. To seek to transcend the images of everyday life, to seek the special perceptible by all: “visibility”. The “coherence” of the landscape is therefore the internal idea that we have of it.
The sculptor Georges Sugarman, in the 60s, when talking to Fred Sandback, said “If you’re fed up with all these pieces, why not just stretch a line with a ball of string, that’s all?”. It’s with this minimalist spirit freed from the full and the base that I think about creation in order to direct my work and my research towards the recess and the arrangement of pure forms organizing themselves in space. Taken from reality, I only keep the edges, contours and skeletons of these formal references.
In the age of the experience economy, retailers are adding layers of richness to their offerings. ‘Attention-grabbing’ is an oft-recurring strategy, which can be achieved through the art of storytelling. Knitting a narrative into a design may encourage visitors to potentially spend more time and result in more sales in the process of discovery and understanding.
At MASSIVart, our greatest inspiration for applying this approach comes from Gentle Monster. The eyewear brand is internationally recognized for its outstanding boutiques, which are the very symbol of the retail experience.
The South Korean brand has exploded worldwide with its experimental and avant-garde space designs in the highest quality and has retail stores that would transport you to a different dimension. Each with its own theme and concept reflecting the city or the glasses.
And it works! Since its launch in 2011, Gentle Monster shows no signs of slowing. The company began making a profit in 2014, with sales figures rising close to USD$40 million. In 2016, Gentle Monster reached USD$60 million in annual global sales, and in 2018 the brand was up to USD$200 million.
Though most of their glasses are purchased online, the stores specifically target Millennials by providing a uniquely exploratory, Instagrammable experience thanks to creative, experiential ‘story’ that blends retail with art.
Her work oscillates between the physical and virtual space. Computational media is rapidly evolving and becoming ubiquitous and influential in our everyday life. The ontological reality, the simulated reality, and the mediated reality are a group of layers clustered in a complex, multidimensional way. Her work searches for the possibilities of simultaneous realities that form and interact with each other, creating objects and narratives that reflect upon our past, present and future.
Project made from the register of graffiti tags painted on the Angel of Independence in Mexico City, made during the feminist protest march #NoMeCuidanMeViolan, in August 2019. The controversy generated by these tags open a discussion around memory and heritage. Without trying to solve these, the project is summed up to the discussion and presents itself as an effort of keeping this state of the monument alive, vandalized and appropriated by the society, showing how the “Angel of Independence” achieves new meanings in the current times. The piece allows the intervened monument to stay in the collective memory of the citizens as a communicator of peoples’ urges and demands. The digitized monument can even be seen as a testimony for future research, as it concentrates and preserves evidence of the claims for justice.
is a parallel project In collaboration with artists Livia Radwanski y Concepción Huerta. It consists of a 3D model of the monument created through the translation of multiple photographs into a digital space.
The piece deepens in the archeological interpretation based on the ornaments of the facade of the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City. This commission for Satelite, an online curatorial project, shows some of the ornamental neo-indigenist elements of the palace and, through VR technology, generates a new dialogue with the narratives, both architectural and muralist, that the building has had since its construction. The video places us in a future territory and guides us to rethink the meaning and the relationship we have with our monuments.
Future possible archeology of the architectural elements of The Porfiriato. Through scanning and 3D modeling methods, the pieces reconstruct the narrative of an architectural style. The series questions the notions of archeology, not only as a method to analyze the values of an era, but also their reformulation.
Ornamentos juxtaposes an architectonic space generated by a computer with the current architectural context of Downtown L.A. The piece is inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and his appropriations of the Mayan ornaments, and the contrasting minimalism of the Californian art movement called “Light and Space”.
Representation of simultaneous spaces that confront and break the linearity of time and space, opening a new dimension. These scenes are simulations of interior and exterior spaces at the same time. The exploration was made through processes of texture mapping on 3D modeling programs. It is a process in which a bidimensional image is projected on a 3D surface to add texture to a model. This technique is used to give more realistic details to virtual objects. In this case, 2D images of landscapes were projected on 3D surfaces of domestic spaces in a recursive way, where the resulting image is used as a new texture. Through this recursion, the final image results in an abstract simulation.
At a time when the return to the new normal is slowly taking place, Alejandro Cardoso, MASSIVart’s Global CEO, discusses, in an article, the future of marketing and brands.
It used to be that CMO’s at global organizations would have an acceptable period of time for their tenure and results to be evaluated. I was one of them. Well, not anymore. Over the last few years, CMO’s and CEOS’s have been challenged to the maximum in order to produce short term results that would satisfy the shareholders. This has pushed brands to seek new Brand 2 Consumer engagement models that could generate results in the short term w/o ideally, affecting the brand in the long run. Some senior execs have succeeded but many have failed. As a result, communication agencies, ad agencies and digital agencies have been challenged equally by Advertisers in order to adapt to the new business and marketing reality. Some agencies have succeeded, some have failed in the attempt to adapt to the new reality.
So while COVID 19 has been a major issue over the last 6 months globally – where governments and health authorities have been put to a huge test – the reality is that for marketeers and communications experts the situation is a new challenge on the list, while certainly, a bigger one as compared to previous health challenges due to its economic implications, but one more challenge in the world of marketing. So, how do you adapt to a new reality where reunions, getting together, even having a coffee or eating with someone, force you to maintain a distance, when in fact one of the big challenges brands have is centered on creating memorable, enduring, unique experiences?
The key words are: learn, listen, investigate, get close to your consumers – even if at distance – in order to understand their concerns, wishes and different and alternative ways of interacting with brands. Whether it is a FMPG or a Service, the premise is the same: Don’t try to guess what they want, what their fears are and what their expectations are. Be sure before you improvise.
For some industries the forced shift of their model and their success, have been the result of consumers demanding their services not necessarily them being smart. Companies in the logistics and delivery services have experienced significant growth. Health and personal care brands have sold almost every SKU. Supermarkets have sold more food, beer and wine as people are not going out to restaurants. On-line services, both educational and entertainment services, have shown exceptional results, but in all honesty most of these success stories come from consumers forcing them to fulfill their needs, rather than these companies doing something exceptional, marketing wise. Even beauty and some luxury brands have sold more – as it is customary for these categories – whenever there’s a crisis, as ironic as it may sound.
The art world has experienced an awakening as well, when it comes to people being inserted in museums and art and culture progress streamed live or on demand. So, while some businesses like tourism, restaurants, bars, airlines, co-working spaces, car manufacturers, small corner stores, among many others, have suffered a lot, others have capitalized on the crisis. That’s the way it has always been.
Looking forward, we as marketers, are now forced to develop strategies that could bring the brand closer to the consumer in an entertaining, attractive, relevant manner.
In order to listen to the relevant audiences, data is crucial and how you use data can lift up your business or in fact, bury it. Data produces insights that drive the strategy. Strategy leads to the Idea and the Idea is then executed and measured to start the cycle again. In this model, the idea and execution are critical. How you create a brand experience that is relevant, meaningful, unique memorable and that creates the need for customers to want to revisit it and share it with pals in their social media communities, will be crucial.
Of course, brands must get closer to their audiences and art & culture are an effective way to achieve that. An advertising campaign – even if highly creative – won’t do the trick anymore. Being able to make tangible the brand promise through experiences, will create the buzz, the awareness, the sales and the growth.
As months go on and we go back to the new normal, whether you’re a packaged good, in the hospitality industry, in the real estate development, or in financial services, brands will have to make sure they get noticed, they attract the consumers attention and get chosen by consumers, as disposable income might be constrained in some demographic sectors for a period of time. So whatever the retail space or the various touch-points or destinations where consumers interact with the brands – whichever these may be – all of them have to be super differentiated and attractive to gain the consumers preference. As rare as it may sound, now is the time to prepare.
While advertising might affect the way consumers see brands, it is a universal truth that today, brands need a lot more than a nice ad to impact and attract consumers. Brand experiences are the ones that can make a brand promise tangible. In my career of many years in the ad world, I came to conclude a few years ago that brands need to shift from messaging to creating experiences and I’m sure that life with COVID and post COVID will drive brands and marketers to realize this is a trend and not a fad, that can determine the bright – or gray future- of some brands. No doubt, in the new normal, brands will need to find ways to get closer to consumers as consumers will be busy minding other things.
MIRA and MASSIVart invite national and international artists to develop a proposal for a permanent public artwork to be located in the public plaza of MIRA’s latest real estate development in Mexico City: Neuchâtel’s Cuadrante Polanco.
A total budget of 6,000,000.00 MXN Pesos will be allocated to the art installation’s project to give artists the opportunity to create an iconic landmark for Mexico City while beautifying the urban public landscape.
The artist selected will be aligned with the artistic direction of MIRA and MASSIVart as well as the vision of Neuchâtel Cuadrante Polanco, which is led by a desire to create an iconic and timeless art installation that has the power to engage the community.
Museums, crucial for cultural democracy, are the Iceberg tip of a complex cultural and economic system. They play a key role in local economic development and are surrounded by a wide range of actors, artists, audiences, self-employed and freelance workers and creative companies.
At the heart of their social, educational and cultural missions, and in order to face the challenges of inclusion and diversity, museums have already set up numerous initiatives: community projects, travelling exhibitions, educational activities for all ages, visits adapted to people with disabilities, etc. However, despite the ambition to reach out to everyone, there is still a long way to go to have an offer that can speak to all the communities concerned. Museums must be flexible in the face of a constantly changing society. Who is our museum offer aimed at? Who decides what is of interest and how to present it? On what criteria are these decisions made? These are all questions raised by the theme of accessibility and inclusion.
These questions are all the more relevant in the context of an unprecedented global epidemic, which has seen all museums close their doors. In this period of containment, the digital offer has now become the only one available to museums, which have taken advantage of the tools they had to continue to make their services accessible to visitors. In just a few clicks, the public can access mobile applications, websites, social networks and virtual exhibitions.
In fact, there has been a remarkable increase of nearly 200% in the number of visits to museum websites since the beginning of the epidemic, which have successfully guaranteed the continuity of their museum offer.
Once this observation has been made, post COVID 19, museums will surely have to be even more creative, as the digital offer alone is not enough and visitors need different ways of experiencing and being in contact with arts and culture. If in recent years the visitor experience has been centred on participation, interaction or multi-sensory solicitation, it is easy to imagine that for some time audiences may be reluctant or afraid to move around the museum: touch screens, crowds, virtual reality headsets, audio headsets, enclosed spaces.
We are therefore entitled to believe that we will have to rethink the services offered by museums and the museographic means of sharing knowledge and heritage: a different way of plunging visitors into the heart of an experience, of engaging them, while adapting to new behavioural norms.
Even if we have to reflect on new strategies to be implemented and creative means to be put in place, it seems relevant to me to include in this discussion all the communities and actors concerned. A new generation of museums, combining cultural innovation, local economic development and social inclusion, may perhaps be born from a work of co-construction and listening, which will continue to support, as they already do, an indispensable ecosystem.
Municipalities, retailers, real estate developers, museums and all other places open to the public will need to reinvent the way people will move through their streets and buildings.
For that, they’re going to have to be inventive to spread messages and be attentive to what people need most right now: find a little bit of wonder in their daily lives to feel better. This is where artists can intervene.
While being focused on the physical distance measures that are coming the signage can be helpful but also beautiful.
To get some inspiration, here are some artists who are experts in floor and wall interventions.
Trevor Wheatley & Cosmo Dean (left)
Toronto-based artists Trevor Wheatley & Cosmo Dean work in collaboration to produce large-scale guerrilla signs and typographic art installations. The two have produced works for companies such as Nike, Stussy, Topshop, Converse, Nordstrom and OVO. Though simple in message, the instillation is striking, and the work and precision of Dean and Wheatley’s pieces can easily be seen and admired. From concept to execution, it is no surprise that the two are called upon by business giants for commercial employment, as their creations leave a lasting imprint on the minds of their viewers.
His ground paintings, murals, and installations have been commissioned throughout North America, also in South America, Europe, and Asia. He has showcased his work with the LAF, the Cirque du Soleil, the Tour de France and Banksy’s Can’s Festival, to name a few. His unique approach of blending art and activism can be seen in his collaborations with such organizations as Greenpeace and Amnesty International. His recognizable brand of street art has been featured and discussed in many of the leading publications on street art in the past two decades.
SUPERFLEX (above, on the right)
SUPERFLEX was founded in 1993 by Jakob Fenger, Bjørnstjerne Christiansen and Rasmus Nielsen. With a diverse and complex practice, SUPERFLEX challenge the role of the artist in contemporary society and explores the nature of globalisation and systems of power. SUPERFLEX describe their artworks as tools – thereby suggesting multiple areas of application and use.
Gummy Gue (above)
Gummy Gue (Marco Mangione) is an artist who works mainly in the public space. He knows the graffiti writing environment in the early 2000s, investigating and experimenting with the expressive possibilities that will bring him to contemporary urban art. His work is an open dialogue with the architecture and the environment. Some of his works, such as Playground and Skatepark, have been recognized by magazines and platforms dedicated to design and architecture such as Domus, Designboom, AD Magazine, Architectural Record and many others.
Michael Lin (above)
Lin orchestrates monumental painting installations that re-conceptualize and reconfigure public spaces. Using patterns and designs appropriated from traditional Taiwanese textiles his works have been exhibited in major institutions and international Biennials around the world. Transforming the institutional architecture of the public museum, his unconventional paintings invite visitors to reconsider their usual perception of those spaces, and to become an integral part of the work, giving meaning to its potential as an area for interaction, encounter, and re-creation.
Historically artists have been at the forefront of cultural and societal issues initiating discussions and pushing boundaries. Art has the ability to create an emotional response, communicate complicated and opposing messages, drive social behaviours and create societal change. It also has the power to inspire communities during uncertain times and the current COVID-19 global pandemic is no exception.
We are facing an unprecedented period that requires all of us to be resilient. We want to take the opportunity to showcase various initiatives of the arts community during this time. We have been inspired by artists from around the world who have risen to the challenge to help people get away from it all, or to convey engaging and poignant messages.
The United Nations has called on creatives around the world to help stop the spread of misinformation and promote public health precautions. The UN has a global call out to artists and has created a library of artwork to educate, uplift and inspire. You can visit the library of artwork at UNCovid-19 Creative Content Hub.
Additionally UNESCO has launched the #ResiliArt movement, which, among other things, will consist of a series of global virtual debates with renowned artists and draw support for the cultural world throughout the crisis.
In Canada you can also check out the Social Distancing Festival started by Toronto artist Nick Green. The Social Distancing Festival is an online artist’s community made to celebrate and showcase the work of artists around the world who have been affected by the need for social distancing.
Because we can’t forget what the frontline workers are going through, you can also check out some work by artists Duyi Han who’s celebrating health workers with a fresco-inspired mural in a chapel.
Artist Thierry Geoffroy uses tents to speak to those who cannot go back to their homes in these times of confinement, because they are homeless or are refugees.
Finally, Til Kolare decided to use his digital art skills to portray the world’s current situation. He gives us a new look at some classic paintings through which the characters distance themselves from others and reveal the reality of a lot of people now: the loneliness and solitude.
We like to see that the creativity of the arts community is not locked in! They always find ways to spread messages through their art, and we will always support them.
This ongoing project is building on Les Printemps du Palais, which featured a variety of creations by local artists and artisans. Highlights of the spring 2019 event included public pianos, collaborative workspaces, creative ping-pong tables, and self-service libraries. The Palais Seasons is being introduced in an effort to keep this excitement going throughout the year. MASSIVart has put together a program that will once again showcase Montréal ingenuity.
“At MASSIVart, we have always believed that art and culture have the power to revitalize public spaces. We are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to help Palais des congrès de Montréal bring more creativity to its premises. This iconic institution is a perfect showcase for the city’s creative talent, an open window into Montréal’s culture. In a place where the future of our society is constantly being reshaped, it is important to bring in local artists and creators to reimagine these public spaces as meeting places where surprise and the unexpected can be experienced. Just one more example of how art and culture can be compatible with public and commercial spaces!”
– Philippe Demers, Founder & Creative Director of MASSIVart.
The highlight of the program is without a doubt Seuils by internationally renowned Montréal artist Michel de Broin. Comprising a series of Montréal subway car doors, the art installation forms a path for people to follow. The experience recalls the digestive tract’s ingestion process—the installation breathes and swells to the rhythm of the traffic passing through it, creating a contrast between mechanical structure and organic movement. The work repurposes the door-opening components of the city’s original subway cars, first introduced for the Expo 67 world fair. Recently replaced by newer models, the now obsolete MR-63 subway cars have become an iconic part of Montréal’s public transit history. Seuils will give Palais visitors from all over the world a glimpse into that past.
“After the resounding success of last spring’s program, I am pleased to offer the Palais Seasons year-round to Montrealers and visitors alike. The artwork had an immediate impact on the atmosphere in our creative spaces and this second phase designed by MASSIVart promises to be just as exciting.”
– Robert Mercure, President and CEO of Palais des congrès de Montréal
Visit the Palais des congrès project page to learn more about what we’ve already implemented!
With a background in fine art, visual effects, puppetry and animation, LA-based filmmaker Andrew Thomas Huang crafts hybrid worlds rooted in Sinofuturist folklore, mysticism and spiritual realism. His list of collaborators include Icelandic artist Bjork, among others including Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and FKA Twigs for whom Huang is Grammy-nominated for his fantasy epic “Cellophane.”
By using installation, printmaking or visual performance, Charline questions different notions such as ambivalence, otherness and porosity. Her work tries to dissolve boundaries between absence and presence, real and virtual, synthetic and organic. By integrating slow progressions, video becomes for her an hypnotic tool inviting the audience to feel oneself in the present. Her work has been presented in Paris, Brussels, Toronto and Montreal.
Rihab is a multidisciplinary artist exploring the subject of resolving interpersonal and personal emotional distress through a research-based practice. Her process starts with a need for resolving or translating an issue occurring in her personal life in order to move forward or create a sense of communal understanding.
Eli focuses on animation in potential forms and contexts as well as its representation and exploration in alternative media, including installation, light, sculpture, and video. Eli Schwanz has been profiled by Vice and was Exhibitionist in residence at the CBC. Exhibitions include Chromatic Festival, Gardiner Museum, Animocje Poland, Onsite Gallery, Ignite Gallery, Robert Kananaj Gallery as well as commissions for The Drake and Four Seasons Hotels.
Early bird tickets are on sale until February 29, visit www.agomassive.ca
MASSIVart joins forces with the Art Gallery of Ontario as a Creative Partner for their annual fundraising party AGO Massive, which will take place on Thursday April 16 in Toronto!
Our team of art curators had the chance to collaborate with the renowned gallery to select 4 artists that will be unveiled very soon.
Together for one night only, AGO Massive will feature immersive art installations, exciting performances and irresistible food and drink.
With this event, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s mission is perfectly aligned with our leitmotif which is to bring people together with art to see, experience and understand the world in new ways.
Early bird tickets are on sale, go buy yours on www.agomassive.ca
Philippe Demers, MASSIVart’s founder and global creative director, has been recognized as a “Creative Revolutionary who has lead the way for positive change” by CODAworx this week!
MASSIVart has been included in their list of 25 leaders who have taken a stand through their artwork creations and the spaces they transform.
“Representing a new breed of producers and curators, Philippe Demers, Founding Partner and CEO of MASSIVart, runs an international art consultancy agency in Montreal, Toronto, Mexico City, Shanghai, Paris, Dubai and Los Angeles. Working at the intersection of art and commerce, he collaborates with emerging and established artists, architects, developers, designers and other creatives on architectural design, original works of art, and art-driven cultural programs. His passionate support of innovative art programs have brought MASSIVart a who’s who of high-profile clients.”
As a part of a Public Art festival in the shopping centre Ruihong xintiandi Hall of the Moon in Shanghai, we worked with Beijing Modernsky Culture on a multimedia installation project. We collaborated with artist Christopher Schardt and Building180 agency to produce this large-scale outdoor immersive installation.
Constellation is a star-shaped canopy of 5,400 LED modules. The structure weighs 2000 kg, measures 26′ in diameter and hangs from a single point which will be displayed from November 26 to January 5, 2020.
In 1998, Christopher Schardt’s first Burning Man experience inspired him to apply his engineering and computer skills to art and he has participated in—and brought a major art project to—the event almost every year since. Now widely known for his LED sculptures, he is also the author of LED Lab, an app used by thousands of LED artists worldwide.
MASSIVart has worked in partnership with Chromatic and UltraSuperNew Gallery as well as FRAMED* and MUTEK JP to produce a digital exhibition featuring amazing video artworks by Canadian artist Sabrina Ratté and Japanese artist Yoshi Sodeoka.
We are proud of this cultural exchange between these talented Japanese and Canadian artists! The exhibition took place December 1st-12th, 2019 at the UltraSuperNew Gallery in Tokyo.
Artwork: Yoshi Sodeoka – Sprindrifer
Alejandro Cardoso, former Executive Chairman of Publicis LATAM, has been appointed as the Global CEO & Managing Partner MASSIVart Latin America. With 25+ years experience, Cardoso is considered one of the most influential advertising personalities in Latin America, he left his position in June to join the leadership team at MASSIVArt. Read the press release.
Alejandro, you have held several Executive positions in Mexico and abroad, including: Yahoo, Aeromexico, TBWA, JWT and over the last decade at Publicis Groupe as Executive Chairman for Latín America . Can you tell us about your career path?
Of course. I started as an actor. Mostly theater. To support myself I mixed theater acting with a paying job. So I found the opportunity in the hotel industry where I grew from bell man to CMO. It was a great journey. I quit acting and decided to be part of the advertising and marketing world. I decided to leave the CMO role and moved to the advertising world where I worked at TBWA, Leo Burnett and JWT. I then went back as a client as Aeroméxico’s Sales & Mktg Senior VP , then Citibank’s regional CMO and Yahoo’CEO. My last corporate venture was with Paris based Publicis Groupe where I held different regional roles, my last being Publicis Groupe Latin America Executive Chairman where I led all creative, digital, technology and media operations.
Why did you choose to join MASSIVart?
World class creative work, awesome team, a differentiated, relevant value proposition and huge business potential in Mexico and all around Latin America. I love art and marketing. This partnership brings it all together.
With your arrival, MASSIVart takes a new turn with the opening of a new office, the first in Latin America. What can we expect from MASSIVart Mexico for the coming months?
I aim only at producing spectacular work. Work that will make our competitors jealous, prospects mouths water, clients highly satisfied and the press praising our work. This will result in growth for MASSIVart Inc. and MASSIVart Mexico. I believe Mexico will be the 1st step into MASSIVart’s expansion in Latin America. In the next few years our ambition is to see a MASSIVart operation in the most important markets in the region, incorporating and leading the new trends in the Real Estate, Public Art, Museum Design and Marketing services industries.
How does what MASSIVart offers fit into Mexico’s cultural/art scene and is there a need for it?
It is the perfect fit. Mexico is proud of its cultural and artistic heritage. Mexico has been is and will be an influential country when it comes to art in its many expressions, be it in contemporary art, literature, architecture, music, film making , gastronomy and even in street traditional arts and crafts. Art is everywhere. Massivart will merge this strong cultural heritage of Mexico with a marketing value proposition that combines the best of Mexico with the best of Massivart Inc. it’s a win-win proposition.
Why did you choose to work in the art and culture space?
It is in my DNA. As said before I started my career as an actor. Culture and art have always been around me and has been a passion for me. My father was an actor for some time in his early years then became influential in the advertising industry . My wife is a sublime artist. Most of my family, including my daughter, have a background in the creative industry. So it is part of my DNA, I guess, and an important part of my life. Now, through Massivart, I can combine my passion for art and culture with my extensive business experience.
What kind of art speaks to you the most?
Hard to choose. I’m open to everything . Probably my mind is most blown away with contemporary art. Visual arts and innovative sculpture/art installations get my attention. However, I love cinematography, theater, dance, literature, photography and music. I am an admirer of daring, innovative architecture. I also express myself through cooking, which I consider artistic. Art and culture is a cool way of staying alive and connected.
Since 1992, the Applied Arts Awards have been an internationally recognized standard for creative excellence. It’s the only Canadian competition that recognizes the work of both professionals and students across the visual communications spectrum – covering everyone from image-makers to advertising creatives, marketing gurus to graphic designers.
We won an award with Iregular, Ædifica & iGotcha Media under Environmental/Signage Design category, for the project “RIVER”. This artwork was commissioned by Desjardins to permanently occupy their branch in downtown Montreal. “RIVER” is a 11 meters LED mesh sculpture and a software generated pattern. It listens to the environment to represent it evolving constantly and infinitely, day and night.
We interviewed Maxim Céré-Marcoux , the new CFO of MASSIVart.
1. Tell us a little about your background and past work experience?
I am born and raised in Montreal and studied accounting at Concordia University, after which I obtained by CPA title and left to work in San Francisco for a few years. I have worked in financial and accounting advisory for 6 years now, providing consulting to companies of various sizes, operating in different industries and with their respective set of opportunities and challenges. Little did I know that working at an art gallery as a student would spark an interest for the art world that sadly very few people with a background such as mine get to have.
2. What drew you to MASSIVart?
The magnetic energy and dedication of its partners, the ability of the agency to uniquely position its service offering by enhancing them with local and international art and its restless desire to grow without losing its originality.
3. What do you bring to MASSIVart?
I bring a set of skills in the financial and accounting fields coupled with a strong interest and fascination for art that I hope will allow me to help MASSIVart in a distinctive way to be well positioned to successfully seize opportunities as they emerge given the company’s continuing success and growth.
4. How does what MASSIVart offers fit into the global cultural/art scene and is there a need for it?
MASSIVart, in thriving to remain unique and differentiated, always delivers its services to undoubtedly exceed customer expectations but also actively engages our global community in making room for art in our everyday lives. MASSIVart plays a critical role in the art community by carefully curating the inputs of its creative process in a way to highlight the artistic community and further its exposure.
5. What would be your dream project and/or client?
I am especially excited to be joining the company at a time where so many growth and diversification opportunities have presented themselves and hope to assist the partner group by bringing another perspective to the table as well as a different set of skills which will hopefully help in determining which ones, if not all, to pursue, when and how.
6. Why did you choose to work in the art and culture space?
For quite some time now, my intention has been to transition to the artist/cultural field. Perhaps my interest stems from my personal lack of artistic creative energy. By working, even in a financial advisory capacity, in the artistic field, I feel like in my own way I contribute to furthering a community of creative spirits by other means than by creating art myself.
7. What kind of art speaks to you the most?
Regardless of the form it takes, art plays a crucial role in shaping public opinions and in initiating cultural shifts. Art speaks to me the most when it takes advantage of its unparalleled ability to touch people while at their most open state to purposefully expose a societal issue and compel awareness.
8. What about the future of art are you most looking forward to?
I think art is mankind’s most unique contribution to the world and will most likely play out to be the hardest concept for artificial intelligence to decypher and understand. While it will eventually be able to copy certain pieces and/or artists and perhaps even understand art by channeling the analysis of other art enthusiasts, it will never truly be able to innovate and create art in its true form, which entirely relies on the ingenuity of the human mind. I am most excited by the role art will play on artificial intelligence as it may be one of the only areas that does not show any potential for it to be completely overtaken.
MASSIVart is looking for artists, creators and professionals working in the digital sector. We are currently developing a directory to support more inclusive organizational practices and cultural diversity. This directory aims to provide a platform for professionals of the digital sector from visible minorities* through which they can be contacted for potential projects and job offers that match their expertise.
Therefore, we are launching a public campaign in cultural communities and digital networks to gather profiles interested in joining this directory. To do so, interested people are invited to complete the online form here.
Targeted digital sectors: Interactive media, Digital arts, Video games, Photographs, Visual arts, Design, Music, Podcasting, Sound recording, Animation, Film, Television
*Visible minorities are defined based on the Employment Equity Act definition as persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour and include Chinese, South Asian, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Southeast Asian, Arab, West Asian, Japanese, Korean, other visible minorities and multiple visible minorities. (Source: Statistics Canada)
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Bed-in, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s iconic performance to promote peace that took place at the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth in Montreal.
MASSIVart worked with the prestigious 5-star hotel and Sid Lee Architecture to curate a unique experience for the famous Suite 1742 where John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their Bed-In back in 1969.
In this very room, the couple stayed in bed for a week, receiving guests and conducting interviews with the media. On the last day of their performance they recorded the now-famous song “Give Peace A Chance” while still in bed.
Our team researched, produced and curated a 360 immersive throwback experience for the suite, allowing the guests to witness an exclusive glimpse of the hectic ambiance that took place in the room. The unique museum experience we developed includes three interactive devices, a virtual reality movie, an interactive archive cabinet displaying photos, archives, videos and heirloom objects, as well as commission artworks inspired by the performance.
We are extremely proud to have been able to revamp this historical space using art and culture to highlight the wonderful message of peace that John and Yoko delivered and that resonates just as much today as it did back in 1969.
Our team has always believed in the power of art to transform spaces and this story shows it can change lives too!
Kian Nojoumian, a talented 16 year old pianist who recently moved to Canada without his piano found joy in the new public pianos we recently installed at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal. While playing he caught the ear of everyone passing through with his own compositions. Maddy Samaddar visiting from New York, was passing through the space and was so moved by his exceptional talent she learned more about him and posted Kian’s story on Facebook. The post caught the attention of Jason Howland, Grammy-award winning musical theatre composer, playwrite, conductor and musical director & producer who has gifted Kian with a new piano to practice at home. Jason asked that he continue to play at the Palais and to spread joy to the visitors.
We’re so proud to have been a part of this project. Read more below:
Piano painted by Cyndie Belhumeur
Philippe Demers, CEO & Founding Partner of MASSIVart sits on the global arts grants jury for the renowned desert festival.
MASSIVart CEO & Founding Partner, Philippe Demers, was invited to be a part of the Burning Man Arts global grants committee for the renowned festival that takes place annually in the desert of Nevada, USA. Dedicated to funding artistic projects that are inspiring, interactive, accessible and most importantly, community-driven, the program funds various projects that become part of the festival and beyond. The arts grants offers up to $10,000 USD per project and has contributed over $750,000 USD to date, funding in total more than 160 projects from over 25 different countries.
The selection committee is comprised of nine members with various creative backgrounds. Having a cultural expert from Montreal (Canada) at the jury table for a global event of this size shines a spotlight on the country’s influence and expertise in the arts.
For over ten years, Philippe has been a part of the global cultural and artistic scene and looks forward to contributing to the development of these high-caliber artistic projects. “I am very happy to be able to participate in the selection of artists that will be receiving a grant. Supporting creators in their artistic process contributes not only to their growth, but also to the development of the artistic and cultural scene by making it more accessible. Platforms such as Burning Man also enables international discussion and makes it possible for relationships to form between people, cultures and nations.”
Philippe is deeply passionate and committed to the Montreal and international cultural community and through his experiences in cultural management and artistic production he continues to demonstrate his creativity and leadership skills whether in Canada or abroad. Demers also founded Chromatic, a non-profit festival aimed at promoting artistic entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation in Montréal. Prior to the Burning Man Arts global grants jury, Philippe was a part of other like-minded committees such as South x Southwest (SXSW) festival that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries from 2016 to 2017 and the Printemps Numérique, a non-profit organisation whose primary mission is to boost digital creation and creativity through various local activities from 2013 to 2015 as an art consultant and curator for both platforms.