Clément Dirié

Is the office the new studio? Some artistic experiences in open space

« Studio », 2008 © Marie Reinert

Some selected cases of artist residencies in business draws a panorama of the possibilities of an immersion of the arts into the world of economy. If one wonders about the profusion of these experiences, just think that art has continued to push its boundaries. The canvas on the wall, of virtual realities and of open spaces. While providing a new space for a creation that echoes the economic sphere, these residences are rich in knowledge for understanding today's business. The information they generate are made of flesh and not numbers.

Clément Dirié is an art historian and art critic, curator and editor specialized in contemporary art.

Reflecting on her experience of a residence at the Conseil Général d'Ille et Vilaine for the Ateliers de Rennes 2008, French artist Marie Reinert emphasizes not the reciprocal misunderstanding of it but the effective divergence. «When I ask agents of the Archive Departments to think of an action at work, they have in mind the consequences of their work, in other words their productivity, whereas, what I had in mind by action would be something independent of their own results in terms of productionIn Valeurs croisées, cat. exp. Les Ateliers des Rennes, Les Presses du réel, Dijon, 2008, p. 161. Marie Reinert was invited into the group SouRCES of the Ateliers de Rennes. See above..» Using this friction between the worlds of art and of the business of the importance given to process versus to results as inspiration, her video Faire (2008) reflects on the way in which the gestural activity of employees is influenced by the spacio-temporal organization of work. Taking the form of an abstract choreography, action at the same time seeks to optimize efficiency while cultivating its own intrinsic value.


A « foreign body » in the company


The introduction of a foreigner—an artist—within a universe regulated by its own laws—the business—and the manner with which this «intrusion» takes place is the basis of this text dedicated to the artist residences in businesses and of the works which are created there.

On the side of and beyond the artists and collectivesFrom Jain Baxter&, creating in 1966 the N.E. Thing Company to Gilles Mahé and his company Gilles Mahé & Associés S.A., from Philippe Thomas and his label Les ready-made appartiennent à tout le monde® (1987-1993) to Tatiana Trouvé and her Bureau des Activités Implicites, from Yann Toma president since the end of the 1990’s of the society Ouest-Lumiere to Jean-Baptiste Farkas the creator of IKHEA©SERVICES, the field of mimicking relationships, activists, inspiration concerned with the object of art or of the risk of becoming a good or service is very well explored, theorized, made the object of numerous publications and researches. We cite hear as a principal source for Francophone reference: the line of research Art & Flux (, integrated with the d’Étude et de recherche en Arts Plastiques of the Université Paris I-Sorbonne (The Study and Research in the Physical Arts of Paris I-Sorbonne University) and a collective of close to 150 «artist-entrepreneurs» and «critical businesses.» who have thought about the office, the economic world, and its particular ecosystem, or its relationship with notions of value, experience, performance, use, and productOn the subject of notions of performance and product, we call out the work of Martin LeChevallier titled L’Audit (2008) that the artist presents in his terms: «To the end of assuring the pertinence of his work and by measure of his chances of success, Martin LeChevallier asked a consultancy agency to submit to him an «audit of artistic performance.» See at, the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century has seen the emergence, within highly varied contexts, of a new type of artist: the artist in company, or more-so the artist in residence in company.  Here the artist rests within the scope here of tertiary business, dedicated to essentially immaterial creation.

In effect, the model of the artist in business for material production or—to reappropriate a political term—of «the established artist» born from the 1960's with experiences which, as in the canon of  Régie Renault, spawn collective collaboration—and to the only direct beneficiary, the artist—creators and workersWith some recent works, the image of the artist as entrepreneur or as the «prototype of the worker of tomorrow» is imposed: Luc Boltanski & Eve Chiapello, Le Nouvel esprit du capitalisme, Gallimard, Paris, 1999; Pierre-Michel Menger, Portrait de l’artiste en travailleur. Métamorphoses du capitalisme, La République des Idées, Le Seuil, Paris, 2002 ; Hélène Mugnier, Art et Management, Demos, Paris, 2007 ; Karine Lisbonne & Bernard Zurcher, L’Art avec pertes et profits, Flammarion, Paris 2007.. Within this realm, the business is for the artist a raw material, in the economic sense of the term, and its methods of production, material, or competencies comprise a final benefit, allowing the artist to plug in naturally into the production. In the case envisioned here, the business is an ecosystem to observe, a universe of possibilities to which the artist brings a subjectivity and vision, in accordance with its practice apart from the business. In mirror, the employees do not gain knowledge or expertise, merely a simple broadening of horizons. The work is no longer a «product» but a possibility of «reconciliation,» the result and condition of a common sharing of experience. At the heart of a corpus, the appropriateness of realized works in the realm of collaborations with businesses—which these would be—and those realized in other contexts—which involves interaction with a studio or with other collaborators—is one of the main criteria for judging the viability of these experiences.

In the course of centuries whereby the corporate sphere has cannibalized the public and private spheres, several types of residences in business have developed—with diverse goals and benefits. This text is interested in a specific type of residence, in which the artist is interested undeniably in the corporate, that where there is no objective or requirement from the host enterprise—in terms, for example, of motivation, of communication, or of driving change—assigned to the artist. This is not for office art, just an artist temporarily installed at the officeAfter now a good decade, the methods of mobilization and of creativity for making the artist and instrument for HR and R&D have been developed. Art here is secondary, no longer an end but a means. In fact, all these experiences linking art and business are far from being similar and their diversity reveals a gap in understanding, engagement, and the attentions of businesses vis-à-vis contemporary creation. Between the collaboration to create a product, price setting, stimulation of steams for the creation of art, or the instigation of a collective of dialogues between the worldsof art and business, the differences are patent and the criteria of values varied.. In a word, as long as the liberty of each party is assured, guaranteeing an artistic integrity and a level of respect from employees: the artist is free to satisfy his or her will of an inherently unpredictable nature; the employees and collaborators free to adhere and to participate in the development of the residence.

Igor Antic workshop, 22nd floor,  Vista Tower, Eurogroup Consulting headquarters, 2008 © Igor Antic

In 2008, Bruno Caron, an industrialist from Brittany and founder of the agribusiness giant Norac, founded Les Ateliers de Rennes, a biennale with the ambition—in a sign of the times—to create an event of importance dedicated to contemporary art within a region which up to then was so-deprived and «foster a relationship between contemporary artistic creation and the economic domain of the corporationBruno Caron, Valeurs croisées, op. cit., p.11. For English see:» The programming for the event, titled Valeurs croisées and entrusted to the direction of Raphaële Jeune, joins «mimicry» artists and «installation» artists, and those presenting unprecedented works pertaining to the economy and business, along with others involved in residences set up by Les Ateliers de Rennes. Within the category of SouRCEs (Séjours de Recherche et de Création en Entreprise), the latter were immersed in roughly a dozen businesses, the majority of which were businesses in the secondary sector (industrial production) belonging to the Norac group. Although divergent from our topic, a consideration of these experiences in counterpoint to the residences in tertiary sector businesses (service sector) is a source of enlightenmentOne must also reference here the residences of artists put in place by the space for contemporary art HEC, pioneering site for the discourse of art and business..

A posteriori, insisting on the—indispensible—need to take account of the residences as they were going on, the Commissary describes the SouRCEs as such: they are the «residences of artists in a business where the possibility for art to infiltrate the inner world of work is allowed. This thus acts as an occupation of a terrain, far from a colonizing desire to create it into a new territory for art, within a dialogue of exchange, of confrontation between diverse view points, where the artist will have taken more than just a simple glance on a world traversed by human, social, economic, and tangible dilemmas. It openly confronts agendas, in inviting each actor, artist, employee, director, to be left vulnerable to the encounter, without an assurance of a financial return for the investmentRaphaële Jeune, ibid., p. 21. The SouRCEs are documented in the catalogue for the Ateliers de Rennes..» This is a legitimate and necessary conclusion for all experience of this typology, to the end that art does not become «retaken» by entrepreneurial objectives. What this does not mean, however, is that the host business cannot or must not gain anything from the temporary presence of an artist in its core. In a dialogue, two people exchange; the effects are mutual.

In the realm of SouRCEs, Damien Béguet produced with SAS Christian Faure a crêpe filled with banana and chocolate called, OUI ART, Matthieu Mercier a replica of the work Fresh Window (1920) by Marcel Duchamp in collaboration with the society of thermoforming in plastic, Thermoformes. In terms of risk and the unexpected, it is without a doubt that the residency of Claudia Triozzi, at SOREAL, a maker of pasta sauce, has generated the most buzz. Having taken into account the fact that the Annual Interest Report had just been announced just before her arrival, she hoped to reverse a portion of their salary compensation under the guise of a bonus to art, solving an equation of three unknowns: the value of money, of art, and of work.

As explained by Raphaële Jeune, these artworks—of which have taken almost always the form of a product of a collaboration artist/employees, with the exception of the examples of Marie Reinert, Claudia Triozzi, and Alain Bernardini— «speak to the richness of this matrix (of work and mixed values), which brings to mind the question of the status of the artist and his or her production faced with the new economic conditions of our hyper-industrial society.» Essentially, what does it mean for the artist to transport his or her place of work, the studio, into the factory, the office, the open space? How to begin measuring their production, of which requires criteria that is simultaneously subjective and objectiveOn this question of value, see Art Service, a work by Igor Antic realized on the occasion of Ateliers de Rennes, consisting in a concourse initiated by the employees of the Norac group developing a personal artistic practice permitting each to explore the side of the other, see p. 278-281 of the catalogue., by the standards of an economic production and real consumption value? These are the sorts of questionings that confront the artists in residence, whatever the company in which they are placed.


From studio to open-space

The video by Carey Young, I Am A Revolutionary (2001), is a luscious and ironic response to these questionsThe collection of the work by Carey Young remains pertinent in view of the constant mutation of the world of work. See In the video, we watch the artist trying to improve her elocution of this sentence through receiving coaching to pronounce it. Filmed along with her coach in an office in the City, she strives to (re)give sense to this slogan so paradoxical to the place where she is and of the «costume» which she is wearing. What sense and what form to give to the artistic action and to what degree—with a vast number of possibilities—this becomes one of the crucial questions posed by all artist residencies in companies, (from which it has chosen to open the automatic gate).

"I Am a Revolutionnary", 2001 © Carey Young - Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

In a identical backdrop to that of Carey Young’s, in the period of time between September 2006 and June 2007 an original experience took place in the offices of the leadership of the bank Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, ParisThe experience is documented by the work Bureau ISO- Regards sur un lieu de travail, Paris, 2008.. Following the Bank’s donation of a photographic collection to the Centre Pompidou, they decided to organize a year-long artists residence at their office. Numbering three the artists, Blanca Casas Brullet, Simon Boudvin, and François Fleury, opted for a discretionary salary to compensate for their residencies. In an institution producing no concrete product, the primary resource «available» was in essence the human resources which the artists decided to stir up. They transformed the office into a studio, library, fabrication shop, and site of meetings and reflections, having notably, every Thursday at noon weekly studio charrettes. Each studio corresponded to a theme—«pirate the space,» «invent a new job within the company»—all of these became invitations to take account of and repossess the space in a novel way, bringing a fresh outlook on the place of work and exacting an alternate form of creativity. Themselves, the artists, complete novices in this professional universe, teaming up with the office-habituated facilitated their study of its mechanisms. Having chosen communal creation, they exposéd works anonymously alongside those of the employees for the Nuit Blanche 2007. In this way, the residence of artists can be seen as an opening of space for creation, unregulated, at the heart of the business.

Inevitably, this «delegation» of vision and of the artistic practice produces a self-portrait of business and office culture, by the constraint that the artists, like employees, have only the materials and spaces within the office for their works. Consequentially, the artwork’s materiality is of office furnishings (binders, paper) and the furniture (chairs, coat-hangers, trash cans), while the backdrop is the lobby, the hallway, the office, the toilets. The employees can in this way play an active role, actors and no longer simply users, in envisioning their daily working space aiming to invent new functions and to playfully reinvest in banal spaces. The employee in residence in his or her own office. Strangely, nothing specifically demands the impulse towards created works: the subject is the life of the office within its physical and administrative components, treated in an iconographic or documentary manner, which gives birth to these traditionally artistic forms when coupled with documentary photography, photomontage, narrative photography and sculpture. Under the impulse of the artists, the office becomes for a period a relational, functional, and human space where games with elements of language and work serve to reappropriate the habitual spaces and, for the artists, to be an investment in a universe distanced from their practice.

"Columns of results", installation, Nuit Blanche, Caisse des dépôts et des consignations, 2005 © Blanca Casa Brullet
"Cellulose", installation, Nuit Blanche, Caisse des dépôts et des consignations © Simon Boudvin


From 2008 to 2011, the advisory council for strategy and management, Eurogroup Consulting, located in La Défense, organized a program for artist residences in businessesA series of five catalogs, available for download on document the program and detail the works and the approaches taken here: four are dedicated to residencies, a fifth to an exploration of experiences. The unattributed citations come from this catalog. The author of this text was the artistic advisor for the Residence.. Originally numbering four, they were replaced every two years, with each individual residence as one every six months. Born of the initiative of a Eurogroup consultant (Julien Eymeri, contributor in Stream), and unaffiliated with the Communications Board, this project stems from reflection on potential similitude aligning the job of a consultant and the figure of the artist concerning notions of intervention, exchange, and creation. Otherwise put, under this parallel, a consultant works within a company, as a third party—the conception of a consultant is such that he is never completely integrated into the company—towards a result or goal with a set timeframe; an artist works in residence at the company, for a given time, removed from their studio and distanced from the office culture. The statement of intention follows: «This multi-year plan welcoming artists into the company environs sees itself as laboratory for creativity and form of reflection on the consultant’s role and their practices, allowing perspective. It aims for an improved reciprocal understanding between the worlds of art and business.» That is to say this is the expression of an option for linking the two, without preconceived goals, and to stimulate dialogue between worlds which, quite likely, have little experience appraising the other’s worth.

Four artists or group of artists have therefore had the possibility of observation, of encounter, and of mingling during the duration of the relationship with collaborators in the company. Their only defining canvas were production and to create an on-site exposition at the end of their allotted time, of one or several works, and to drive a rapport more or less pertinent to the office, for their goals and their operation—and this all achieved using obvious methods, in consideration of the artistic conception having taken place on-siteIn the order: Igor Antic, January-June 2008, Renaud Auguste Dormeuil, October 2008-January 2009, Barbara Noiret, April-October 2009, and the Collectif 1.0.3, February-July 2010, for the expositions Cabinet de Consultations, Black Out, REX (Retour d'EXpérience), and Specimen.. Offering time, space, methods of production, and a fixed retribution, Eurogroup Consulting opened its doors to artists, from diverse backgrounds but all interested in an encounter with a universe seemingly diametrically opposed to their own. For each of the three parties, the risk was real: the artists were immerged in a context hitherto unknown; the employees could follow along, reject, remain indifferent, or impede; the company plunged into the unknown of an untested experiment—all of which the President of Eurogroup Consulting resumes as: «A relative norm does not exist for the position of art (occurring) in the company.» In effect, each artist could experiment, according to their own parameters, a previously unknown universe, and likewise, each employee had the opportunity, if they desired, to encounter art and the artists without facing a question of proselytism and without an obligation to participateOn this subject, read the essay by Ariane Berthoin Antal, researcher at the Social Science Research Center in Berline, in the fifth catalog of the Residence of Artists at Eurogroup Conulting; on the subject of employee reception of the series of residences, «Manifeste, corporel et imprévisible: l'apprentissage organisationnel de la Residence d'artistes.» Igor Antic: «The Residence is an exchange, an intellectual and behavioral interaction which could perhaps result in a provocation or reconsideration. Seeking a consensus bears nothing. If nothing happens, if there is no tension, then it is not interesting. Harmony doesn't really do much, whereasa small conflict...».

In retrospect, one of the factors that assured the success of the programAnother reason put forward by employees is that of the existence of a partner program (a library of works dedicated to contemporary art, visits to museums and galleries, discovery seminars). probably was the diversity of the artists invited, a succession of various profiles and of artistic expressions (photography, performance, installation, participatory works, etc.) having each called out different aspects by which the artist could mold a vision of the context. Each artist was in fact interested in unique aspects of the office (its architecture, its modes of representation and communication, its networking practice, its human relationships), and personally negotiated their placement—physically and relationally—within the company.

"The Fair Conference", February 2010 © Collective 1.0.3
"Triplum", ephemeral installation, 2010 © Collective 1.0.3


While, after a nomadic life on the different floors, Igor Antic devoted a period of four months of his residence in a meeting room in order to transform it into a production studio for his works, Renaud August-Dormeuil occupied from the first day the most beautiful meeting room of the tower to install his perceptual environment Black Out. Whereas Barbara Noiret centered her residence on the collaboration with consultants as her goal, the Collectif 1.0.3 chose to progressively take «possession» of the Tour Vista, creating every fifteen days ephemeral sculptures for all the floorsThe Collectif 1.0.3: «The sculptures are allowed to fuse the link with [employees]. We propose to them something much closer to the residence, in showing ourselves in the working process. We have realized these sculptures during office hours. Certain employees have been allowed to study a certain technicality, others the reality of artistic work on-location. Each reacts in relation to their taste for each or each sculpture. This also poses the question of their status: do these sculptures generate admiration? Irony? Doubt? It was inspiring to question these values relative to art.». Similarly, the manner of entering into a relationship with the employees differed amongst the artists, each haven chosen to «communicate» according to their own method: a viral and mysterious communication linked to the performance presentation of the Collectif 1.0.3, directed communication for Barbara Noiret with her REXREX was included in the initial images created by Barbara Noiret. Thanks to a simple protocol (an internal meeting = a realized work then reconstructed in the mail of people present at the meeting), the artist put in practice and in art the notion of a return to experience (REX), in reaction to meetings and decisions made. Igor Antic elaborated a similar process with the Notes d'étonnement which, notwithstanding, do not result in the realization of a work., put forward by the work and not by the artist for Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil, made by contribution and the creative process of the employees for Igor Antic. In fact, the interaction between the artist and the employees is each time developed along different modalities, always in relation to the tempo of each residence, showcasing an extreme diversity of artistic approach. Numerous works speak to a voluntary or involuntary «collaboration» of the employees with the artists, within a fairly large spectrum: when Igor Antic seized upon expressions and anonymous paperboards, he worked with the «collective» of the company; when the Collectif 1.0.3 realized the video La Conférence équitable mise à nue par ses célibataires, même (2010), he set up coaching sessions available for a specific consultant.

Lastly, the four artists created works which, against the resistance of the company, spoke to a communal experience. In this aim, the product that Eurogroup Consulting acquired –under an unconnected budget—all or some of the realized projects enriched this process of porosity between the worlds of art and business. A propos a cosmetic decoration, this was the presence of projects in the space location where the artist desired to capture by their exposition dreams of a community of the employees. Their on-site character lent them a contextual and artistic intensity allowing them to belong to the material and immaterial patrimony of the officeIt is thus with Urgent et Confidentiel (2008), a work by Igor Antic installed across from the cafeteria. This presents, in the form of five photographs associated to brands of coffee and the predictions of a seer realized. Born from an observation on the importance of consumption of coffee in the office, Igor Antic wanted to establish a parallel between the work of a consultant which much call upon intuition and to the tools at his disposition (the rational hypothesis to create scenarios, technical vocabulary, graphic tools...) to foresee the future and the clairvoyance which relies on the same objectives but here achieved via different methods, seen as antithetical.. What the residence of Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil underlined in his departure from his traditional media of photography, in Black Out, installed at the «scene of the crime,» aimed to fabricate experience and elicit heightened emotion. «With the [subsequent] photographic collection, I hope to create a new image different from that which could have been seen during the five months of Black Out. It is like a negative of the project, a reversed image. It underlines the fact that art, like Eurogroup Consulting, produces intangible creation. In deconstructing Black Out and leaving nothing but an altered imprint from what the people could experience, I appealed to narrative, to words, to the intimate. In speaking about Black Out, employees have nothing but their memory and recollections.»

Eurogroup Consulting employee experiences Blackout, November 2008
Photograph from the Black Out project, 2009 © Renaud-Auguste Dormeuil


Plasticity of infiltration strategies

If we focus mainly on the realized works, what do we learn about the company, about life in open space, and of the sensibility of the artists that I have referred to as «ambassador of art,» «antibody,» «chameleon,» and «elastic structure»?

Shared between meeting rooms and open space, the sites of the office were envisioned and experimented within all dimensions. For example, Barabara Noiret photographed from the exterior and interior the towers and the temporary offices housing the contract consultants. Postes de travail (2009) appears thus to take a pessimistic pulse of the homogenization of the atmosphere for life at work. In this photographic collection, realized at the BNP Paribas and EDF headquarters, we discover uniform laptops and desktop computers, aerosol spray cans, bottles of water, fake ceilings, some minor disorganization. All that would be the architecture, the real estate, and the standardized occupation of the space. In basing the composition of the frames always on a central computer, the artist underlines the notion of the network belonging to the workers of the service sector and putting abysmally the congruence attested to by the interchangeability of the spaces—today further reinforced by the installation of the series, by volition of the artist, on the wall of a «staff room» in the office. At the heart of her residence, Barbara Noiret also followed the consultants to SNCF, to RFF, to SSA (Service de Santé des Armées), to l’Association Envie/Emmaüs, to Syndicat Mixte d’Aménagement de Mantes-la-Jolie, so many places to which she spoke to via images, documenting this mobility of the consultant, armed with standard tools from these spaces that they never truly claim.

Barbara Noiret also explores this impression of the standardization of spaces of work in the diptyques Vista In/Out and Vista Out/In which she hung in immediate visual proximity to their context of production. What do these photographs reveal? An isomorphism of the architecture of the interior office and the exterior architecture of the business districts, between an office tower and a computer room. In short, it is a vision imparted by a searching and refreshing eye, reflecting her practice of noticing and calling details into light, allowing us to see.

The meeting rooms have equally been made the object of artistic interventions, notably the «glass cubes» on the 22nd floor. At the time of their exposition Specimen, the Collectif 1.0.3 suspended an acrobatic net between the walls of glass, forming a ceiling of sting above the meeting space. This thus created a landscape upon which each could project, as an experiment, their sensations and conclusions about the signification of the works titled Monsieur Prudence and Monsieur Conscience, of the name of real coworkers in the office. Some months earlier, Barbara Noiret had created the theater for a musical performance, Partition pour une routine (2009), where a violinist would improvise in counterpoint to a band his or her mix based on dialogues from a internal meeting dedicated to the elaboration of a «Propal.»


Barbara Noiret, "Partition for a routine", 2009 © photo : Alain Goulard pour Eurogroup consulting

Finally, the whole residency of Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil consisted of an exploration around the function of a meeting room, removing it from the world of the company as an annexation to the world of art. On the subject of this work, which he strove to make its lights illuminating Paris, night after night, disappear, the artist reflects: «Black Out, a work of infiltration more than immersion, made the successful gamble of an open public and a fertile system. The originality of the Residence resides in this aim, based in my highly political sensibilities, of thinking and of permitting the expression of art within the company. In assuming the role of art and accompanying its presence into the company, even while this in itself is a source of tension, the Residence assumes its initial responsibilities and allows the artist not a justification of their approach but a direct dialogue between art and a captive and demanding audience. Certainly, the process is long and empirical. It demands adaptations but strives to create, in the end, an experience which fundamentally conjures art and emotion.» Such was the logic behind his approach of depriving a company of a desired space and in introducing an irrational element at the core of a supposedly rational universe. This emotion with which the consultants experienced Black Out equivocates to that which he felt with being constantly observed at work. Different from the protected space of the studio, a residence in a company confronts the artist with a number of other subjective observers.

Experimenting first with the system, Igor Antic was principally interested in the languages of the consultants, to their tools of work, and of modes of visual representation (Powerpoint, slides). This being to the end of allowing a «secondary time,» a pause of reflection for collaborators who are not certain quite what the nature of their work is but possessing the ability to express and realize it. In an exemplary way, one of his works speaks about the way in which an artist can «withdraw» the material for their disposition. Entitled I.A. Value Network (2008), his piece takes the form of an easel upon which twelve installments hold 24 paperboards, sampled by the artist from the office. On these paperboards, the signification for which inevitably escaped him, Igor Antic superimposed his own sense to commentary and transformatory legends his own operational schemas in abstract drawings. The consultant’s tool is found in this way reappropriated to the field of art by formulas like «fusion of trajectories of the early morning,» «of liquids in perspective of wheat in the horizon,» and «twilight of autumn at La Defense»Orgasmigramme (2008) underlined this process of displacement of the regard. Realized with the contribution of employees, it is a series of slides constituting an unconscious portrait of the company and an exploration of its utilitarian function as a professional tool.. This freedom of association—from which is born a new sense—is found in the work Poka Yoke (2008), a giant puzzle for which each element bears names of consultants and welcoming expressions by the artist about meetings. To collaborators astonished by its meaning and its restitution, Igor Antic responded: «What you see is a part of what I have kept for creating the works. It is a certain reality which is not necessarily what you know. In my work, it is never a question of truth. I given a partial image, intentionally altered, from the truth.»

"Poka-Yoke", Eurogroup consulting, 2008 © Igor Antic

Installed on the 22nd Floor, in the largest meeting room of Eurogroup Consulting, the Planiscope version Eurogroup Consulting (2010) by the Collectif 1.0.3 is an emanation of their project entitled MISMA (Module d’intervention de sauvegarde de méthodologies artistiques). It reports the content of the office server on the date of February 10th, 2010. Its departure point: «desktop,» from which stems the arborescence. Both preserving a memory of the company and the numerical imprint of its immaterial creation, the piece is a collective and comtemporary portrait. The organization of files reflects the structuring of thought, work, and the archives. In an size unedited yet necessary for containing the millions of files on the server, this Planiscope also poses the figure of the individual within the collective, of the single within the group as is the functioning of a network—in labyrinth ?—of information.

If one studies it closely, one will notice the folders dedicated to the archive about the residences of the artists, signifying that these experiences have been incorporated into the DNA of the office, that their effects—more than their results—become recorded within the realized works left in the office but also in the un-recordable media of the human relations between the artists and the employees. Un-recordable therefore unquantifiable. As the only trace of these experiences that remains are the works hanging on the walls of the office, and as the presence of the artists has not acted in the service of the host organization, the individual and collective consequences remain largely imaginary. The president of Eurogroup Consulting sums this up in this series of questions and a response: «The Residence of artists. An intergenerational agent? A good publicity stunt? An immaterial reciprocal enrichment? An attempt at opening.»

Based on selected cases one may draw a panorama of possibilities for immersion of art into the world of business. If one interrogates the actual richness of these experiences—linked to all of these works is a body of critical thought articulated by the artists about the company and the economy with the attention due an empirical study—, it is useful to think that art, since the start of the 20th century, never ceased to push the boundaries. From the canvas to the wall, from sculpture to installation, from the object to the environment, from reality to the virtual, and therefore logically from the studio to the factory and open space. In annexing the world of art to the universe to which it had been, up to the present, foreign, it installs itself at the heart of the economic sphere, for creating works which make copies attenuated by an artistic research, the artist residences in businesses both functions as a formidable environs of possibility for creation and as an unrivaled source for learning about the contemporary business—as the information conveyed is of flesh and not of statistics.

Translated from French by Heather Tipton

(This article was published in Stream 02 in 2012.)