In this series of interviews we are delving into the participating collectives of Unseen CO-OP, a new initiative of Unseen Amsterdam. The CO-OP is an incubator for creativity, bringing together 13 groundbreaking artist collectives from around the world to share their knowledge and ideas in an immersive space.
Unseen CO-OP offers the opportunity to experiment with new commercial formats. This pioneering programme element will feature the recently born Italian collective POIUYT. The collective was launched during the Venice Biennale in May 2017, formed by a collaboration between artists Alessandro Sambini, Discipula and The Cool Couple and curators Francesca Lazzarini and Gaia Tedone. With a focus on the consumption of imagery with a political stand point, the group share the inclination to push boundaries and question the power of images.
Could you tell us a bit more about POIUYT?
The word POIUYT comes from an optical illusion, which changes according to the spectator’s point of view. It becomes the symbol of a critical attitude in approaching the power of images which is the core of what we do. Additionally, the word “poiuyt” is the reversed order of the last six letters of a computer keyboard’s first row. Within the networked culture it is a synonym for boredom as much as it is an antidote – typing it is an attempt to open research paths yet to be explored.
What sets you apart from other collectives?
As individuals operating within the art sector, we believe it is our responsibility to try out different forms of collaboration and participation. Our desire as a collective is to further explore the image by analysing the dominant role it possesses in our contemporary media landscape. POIUYT is a space for dialogue where we can expand our common research through experimenting with practices and strategies. Our individual projects differ from the work we present within our collective allowing us to dig much deeper into the topics we explore. As a collective we present an alternative perspective to traditional documentary and contemporary research and how we use photography as a visual language. Our first exhibition, Point Zero allowed us to break away from traditional genres in photography by presenting various projects holding political themes as well as the re-appropriation of images. In a panel discussion with Francesco Jodice we invited our audience to investigate the role of viewer, artist and curator. We want the collective to be an open research network allowing us to create various dialogues and collaborations amongst artists, curators, critics and theorists from various fields as well as students and enthusiasts. We present our ideas through various levels of communication making our content accessible and shareable via our website.
Photo Credit: Point Zero Exhibition, 2016 © POIUYT
Could you give us an insight into what you have in store for Unseen CO-OP 2017?
Our vision for Unseen CO-OP 2017 is to find an effective formula that translates our ambition into practice. We have produced limited edition posters exclusively for Unseen CO-OP that analyse the contemporary usage of images in the media. Alongside this we plan to transform our space into a radio and podcast station to act as a meeting point. The broadcasts will combine pre-recorded content with live presentations, talks and discussions. Rather than presenting images our ambition for CO-OP is to invite people to join in the conversation.
Photo Credit: WHAT HAS TO BE SEEN CAN'T BE UNSEEN, 2017 © POIUYT