Halfslant at CHIC Art Fair: Interactive projects

by anne

Just over one week ago we closed the Commercial Center Sans Commerce at CHIC Art Fair, after being open for five wonderful, busy days. The opening and closing parties were huge successes, and Halfslant feels so honored to have collaborated with the CHIC directors, Cécile Greismar and Sandrine Bonsignon, their wonderful staff, and the fifteen CHIC artists and their enthusiastic Galleries to welcome Paris to the Cite de la Mode et du Design for the first time.

For those of you who could not visit the Commercial Center for yourselves, we’ve put together this blog of photos and descriptions to show you some of the more interactive aspects of the show.

The website, www.sanscommerce.com, created by beholdthedestroyer! showcases the floorplan and custom signage of the commercial center, as well as lists the artworks contained in each boutique.

Opening and closing night the public was greeted by a red carpet leading to the Galerie E.G.P’s beautifully designed box containing artist Igor Josifov.  This performance invited attendees to walk over Mr. Josifov- separated from them by a thick sheet of plexi-glass.  Some people jumped off horrified, others flirtatiously kneeled down to give him a big kiss, while children stomped up and down in furious disbelief. Stepping over Mr. Josifov’s face may have been extremely uncomfortable, yet this somewhat morbid performance also managed to be playful and fun.

Perhaps one of the most dynamic aspects of the Commercial Center was the “Dream Object Boutique” featuring paintings that were composed by Patrick Lebret’s (Galerie Ma Collection) daughter and then meticulously copied and enlarged by the artist.  The Princesses, they matched perfectly with the Boutiques main product: dreams.  Visitors were greeted by a single representative of the troupe of actors at a stark white counter, but then were surprised to find five more popping out offering to recreate childhood dreams and current desires.  We watched children ride elephants on a safari, a grown man fulfill his dream of being a baseball star, as well as a certain curator who once dreamt of being a veterninarian magically heal a sick dog. All you needed in this boutique was a bit of imagination to play along.

We also caught many people interacting with the Ana-Lee Karkar’s “Video Club 2010+”. The poetic DVD cases described films that could be watched by snapping a photo of the enclosed bar-code with your smartphone, which could then be used to instantaneously accessed the video via the internet.  Even for the non-tech-savvy the titles themselves were evocative and thoughtful.

On quieter days, the Music provided by the M. Chinworth ensemble would echo through the space unhindered by the masses or the sounds from the river or the street.  A jazzy slow version of the Pixies “Where is my mind?”, Beethoven’s 5th sung acapella in a doo-wop style, or a sound-art noise mashup of modern pop hits and screeching sounds were all part of the one hour loop which provided sound during the entirety of the Commercial Center show.

Over at the “Make Your Own Furniture” Boutique , design troupe Breaded Escalope (Outdoorz Gallery) from Vienna led workshops where they created their “Original Product” stools with the visitor participation.

With so many interactive aspects to the Commercial Center we hoped to create an accessible and fun experience for our visitors. We hope that you enjoyed it!

We couldn’t have done this without a lot of help. At the head of our support network was our incredible assistant and friend, Anne Landsberger, and a team of extremely dedicated and enthusiastic interns:  Breeshey Gray, Jess Byers,  Haejin Chun, Natalie Fasano, and Rachel Stuart. Halfslant would also like to thank Mathieu Motta and The American University of Paris, Daniel Wilcox and Elena Damiano, Thomas Rugani, Ray Smiling, and Michael Chinworth.

Up next: a closer look at the monumental projects at the Commercial Center!

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