What defines space? And what defines agency? In his piece Organism 518400, Berlin-based artist Saverio Cantoni creates an environment that becomes activated by everything within it—visitors as well as inanimate objects, material or immaterial. Investigating what constitutes living matter, Cantoni suggests that a wireless network that invisibly delineates space can be considered a subject with agency. Cantoni’s room at the HKW will include unpredictable variations, inserted as tools to destabilize our perception of the ordinary and an invitation to explore the conflation of subject and object.
Cantoni discussed the nature of living matter with artist Laura Lima, his mentor in the category Living Matter. The conversation revolved around a key question: Must a thing be organic to have agency? As a result, the two focused on creating a work that explores where the boundary runs between living and nonliving matter, and whether inanimate objects possess agency and can thus become subjects.
Cantoni’s work, which will be presented at the Forecast Festival in October, will consist of an environment activated into a staged situation by everything that inhabits it. A network will link anything and anyone that enters the imperceptible boundaries of that environment. It will also become a catalyst for viewers to explore the space, as unpredictable occurrences will take place there. In this nonplace, events that could seem like a mistake will alter the viewers’ perception of their environs.