January 2022 
Another six months have come and gone, marking the end 2021 with some nice opportunities and projects like 4 group shows, the launching of a mobile app and my first solo show in a gallery.

First group show was the Triennnale de gravure at La Boverie museum in Luik: a prestigious place from late XIXth century that looks like a palace from the outside. It was a printmaking contest and a show with 48 international artists, initially planned for the year before, but got postponed due to corona virus. The one-year delay gave me time to improve and finish some of the 5 projects selected, like with better displays, pedestals and other details. Exhibiting the fridge and the cake in the wall’s niche/alcove, between two majestic columns was visually impacting and fun. 




Ars Moriendi, 2018
Funeral wreath, marble column






Subliminal Packagings, 2019
Inkjet prints mounted on iMac boxes, pedestals





    



gateau.jpg, 2019 
Cake, vitrine 






Full Moon, 2019
Lightbox, digital print and spray paint on plexi glas


Another group show in Luik was the Prix Dacos, which was also a printmaking contest. This one took place at the Cercle des Beaux-Arts, a gallery from a 30s building which is an exhibiting space for the students of fine art academies in the city. We were three artists to show works there. I exhibited the screen prints series, the TASCHE book and the sad Amazon parcels. 




Faire TA(S)CHE
Media wall, pedestal, books

I recycled and painted a telescopic media backdrop, to used it as a background for the fake TASCHEN book. We also build a black pedestal like the ones from TASCHEN book shops, with gold letters and a label presenting/selling the project. 







Probably that during spring or summer, I will go back to Luik and showcase the fake Deliveroo Fitness Club in a storefront. This will be for the next edition of Art au Centre, which gives artists the access to abandoned storefront in the city center of Luik
 
Talking of Deliveroo, back in September, I've re-organized the outdoor performance of body fitness with apprentice Deliveroo riders for the SUEUR Festival in Forest (Brussels). For this opus, I got inspired by a fitness coaching class at Parc du Cinquantennaire in Brussels. The class was accompanied with some pop-psyche-trance music playing out loud, resonating in the parking of Autoworld and the Military museum. The electro tracks contrasted with the solemn neoclassical architecture of the place and caught the attention of every passers by. All the ingredients for a performance were there. Anyways. Like those of March at Abbaye de la Cambre, the Délivrénoo performances had three parts: 



1. Warm-up / Training




2. Individual ateliers of one minute

 

3 . Duels




So the music was different, but also one of the 4 apprentice, who kinda embodied the character of the clown by making fun of the coach, dancing and playing tricks. That was pure improvisation and it really brought something extra. If I had to organize these performances again, I must think of a better ending (e.g. with a ceremony to reward the winner of the duels. In other words : something that closes the show) and a track that is more synchronised with performers’ actions.


Next up is on a very new project I did back in August. Basically, it is a fake Uber eats mobile app with which one can order art online and customize it by ticking multiple choices boxes. When users submit their orders, I automatically receive an e-mail, with their customized art piece. As already mentioned in my September post, ‘über mensch’ stands for ‘beyond’ or ‘super-human’, ‘hero’ and ‘genius’ in German. The term has been appropriated by the nazis and more recently transhumanist philosophers, so it bears a lot of symbolics and significations. Like the project on Deliveroo, übermensch.vip compares food delivery riders to extreme sport champions. But it also embraces and questions the leisure industry, the (contemporary) art market, technologically advanced sciences and other things that represent a freaking lot of money.






To launch and promote the app, we distributed flyers to passers-by in front of different art spaces in Brussels, during the Brussels Gallery Weekend. The flyers were also imitating those from Uber Eats, with a code QR that redirects you to the website when you scan it. 



The first time I distributed the flyers was in front of Ballroom gallery (Brussels). It was funny to hear from the galerist (who was aware of the project) that he understood I was somewhere nearby, because at certain point, everybody in the room was holding my flyers. I also remember one of the artist exhibiting in the gallery being mad at me and infantilizing me. She was like What are you doing? Did you ask the permission? Did you really have to do that now?




Action of distributing of Über Mensch flyers in front of Ballroom Gallery, Brussels


The second time, I was with a friend and it was in front of WIELS art center, the night when they organized a talk about Marcel Broodthaers (the monographic exhibition had just started). It was a bit of a fail because all of the people going to the talk were mostly seniors (and younger people) who also disapprove Uber eats and therefore don't use it at all. So in the end the majority of the people entering WIELS refused to take the flyers.





Since September, I left this project on stand-by to focus on other things. I missed some big occasions to distribute the flyers, like the FIAC in Paris, Art Antwerp, FRIEZE in London, ... The performances could have been quite relevant at these mega art events. But, hey, there will still be plenty of them. 

Now let’s move on to a proposition that I got back in October, which was an outdoor group show in Heerlen (Netherlands). IKOB Museum and Greylight project joined to launch What the Flag?!, which invited artists to display flags in the city of Heerlen. The first spot I was assigned was the “Carbon 6” complex: the former National Statistics Office (”CBS”) which is now occupied by start-up companies, social entreprises, and others. During the late XIXth century, the site was a coal mine and in the 70s, they built this wonderful modernist/brutalist complex to host the offices of the CBS (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek). 


Then the CBS moved out and the urban development company World of Walas bought it in 2012 for around 700K, with the promise to start ‘urban farming’ in the place. Apparently they never did, and instead of that, rented one wing to the dutch tax department. Local scandal. I found a nice video promoting the opening of Carbon 6 by World of Walas. It documents the opening ceremony with absurd performances by “Time Cruisers” strolling around on top of retro-futuristic machines of late XIXth century, but also the re-activation of a beautiful modernist fountain in the patio. 



video available on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU_QwLQtpsU

The flags that I could use were in the front yard of the complex. At first, I thought about putting flags that twisted the visual identity of World of Walas and to mimick the entrepreneurship logic and vocabulary.


 


Then I thought of hanging flags to announce the advent of three new fictitious firms in the very complex: “decline”, “flop” and “resign”. The graphic design for each one has been generated by online logo generators. Have a try, it’s very ludic. 






So this is it with What the Flag?!
Then in December, I got another group show proposition, this time in Ghent, and more precisely in SMAK (omggg). The project was called Curator machines and consisted in a vending machines that sells 3-D prints designed by 20 artists. You know me, first I wanted to make something in situ and contextual. I read somewhere that SMAK used to be a Casino in the 50s, untill the 80s, lol. This is probably the reason why Guillaume Bijl set a fake casino there in the 90s. 




The constraint of the project was that the size of the 3d printed object couldn’t be bigger than 5 x 5 x 8 cm. So I started designing a casino token to buy artworks from SMAK’s collection. 






Then I thought of burnt bank cards, as if they had melt because of global warming.


More precisely, bank card replicas of artistic director of SMAK, Philippe Van Cauteren, or Bernard Arnault (LVMH), François Pinault (Bourse de commerce) and Paris Hilton. In the end, I designed a twisted version of Paris Hilton’s AMEX with quotes of her on it like “that’s hot / you’re not”. 

 






Next up is FOURT, a solo show at Ballroom Gallery in Brussels. The word ‘fourt’ (or ‘foert’) is a typical belgian swearword that expresses impatience and anger. Saying ‘Fourt’ is like saying ‘I’ve had enough with this’. For the design of the poster, I used the font of Disney’s cartoon Frozen and shot a plush representing one of the character of the movie, hanging on the wall, beheaded, like Maurizio Cattelan’s horse intallations. The show combined other pastiches of contemporary art icons with a fake Deliveroo electric bike, museified on a pedestal. There were also collages from 2017, two feathered Bird e-scooters on the street in front of the gallery and a performance during the opening night. 






The performance was both ambiguous and in situ. It consisted in an actor cleaning the gallery’s window, from the outside, and dressed with the same uniform worn by the cleaning staff of King UpKot, the student housing that openend in September. Before that, the building was a squat since 2007. In 2018, the belgian company Upgrade Estate bought the building to renovate it and transform it into the student housing and a contemporary art gallery on the ground floor. King Upkot is the 25th student housing project launched by Upgrade Estate, who probably named it like this, because it is located on the Royal Street in Brussels. There are almost no traces left from the thousands of squatters who spent time there, except some graffitis in the stair case and murals in the patio. The day of the opening of King Upkot, there were young girls wearing black t-shirts branded RealEstate and cardboard crowns on their heads. They were welcoming the residents with croissants and chocolate bread (see secong pic below).




In the show Fourt, I also exhibited the same welcoming display of King Upkot, with crowns, balloons and pastries, but on which there was fake mold. This piece was one of the two contextual / in situ art works that referred to the place’s heritage and recent past.





The second one was the performance, with the guy cleaning the windows. The very uniforms that he wears has a tagline that says ‘cleaning legend’. We thought that this phrase was both violent and symbolic, talking of the gentrification of the place and the former squat becomming a legend, a myth. I am still editing the video now, but will publish it soon on the web, so stay tuned. Here are some stills. 



July 2021

So this is it: I've just graduated from La Cambre and got my master degree in printmaking. I must say that I'm a bit melancholic to leave school after six blossoming years there, though the administration must be quite happy that I finally get the hell out.

For the final jury, I presented the projects on Deliveroo, TASCHEN, Bird, Proximus and a series of screenprints. These were large reproductions of preparatory sketches for potential installations (i.e. a “Délivrénoo” motocycle showroom), performances (distributing Apple Eucharists in an Apple Store), sculptures (a melting FIFA World Cup trophy on a pedestal),.... Some of them parody, while other poeticize and aestheticize brands and their visual merchandising. Although they are preparatory sketches, these potential art pieces will probably remain as mere images, and won’t be realized. There are around 10 copies from each image below.





From left to right: iBelieve, 2021, Screenprint on ZERKALL paper, 56,5 x 77 cm ; Showroom Délivrénoo, 2021, Screenprint on ZERKALL paper, 56,5 x 77 cm ; Untitled (Apple Store), 2021, Screenprint on ZERKALL paper, 56,5 x 77 cm ; Frigo Virus, 2021, Screenprint on ZERKALL paper, 56,5 x 77 cm ; Protect Me From What I Want, 2021, Screenprint on ZERKALL paper, 56,5 x 77 cm ; I Can’t Remember To Forget You, 2021, Screenprint on ZERKALL paper, 56,5 x 77 cm ; Apporté Avec Soin, 2021, Screenprint on ZERKALL paper, 56,5 x 77 cm ; FIFA World Cup 2050, 2021, Screenprint on ZERKALL paper, 56,5 x 77 cm





Second project was on the micromobility company named Bird. The original plan was to place several Bird e-scooters covered with feathers and singing on the rooftop of the surrounding buildings. But unfortunately, two men working for Bird arrived the day before with a van to take back the four scooters I had stolen from the streets and covered with feathers. The two men were collecting all the uncharged scooters in Brussels, which they could localize with their mobile app. 




When they came to me and saw the scooters covered with feathers behind me, they surprisingly laughed out loud. They were like 'So this Is an art school, right ?'. Then they left and went to the other building, where I had hidden two other scooters. I guess the scooters went back in the streets, after being recharged and un-feathered. Hopefully, I've taken nice pics of the twisted Bird scooters in a public parc close-by, before they got embarked. 




Predator, 2021

On the photograph, the customized scooter appears as an ambiguous sci-fi entity that is both animal and artificial. The title “Predator” ironically compares Bird e-scooters to hunting animals, competing with other brand-species of e-scooters, in the globalized jungle of neoliberalism.





Magic Deals, 2021
Lightbox, 60 x 60 x 20 cm

Third piece I presented was the Magic Deals light box, which is a pastiche of a promotional object from Proximus’ point of sales. I came up with this idea back in winter, when I applied to the open call for the group show “Third Place or What”, at Tick Tack gallery in Antwerp. In the beginning, I had proposed the Proximus flag without logo and thought that other twisted promotional/branded objects from Proximus shops could make the proposition more solid. So in front of TickTack gallery, on the pathway, there was the logoless beach flag and, next to it, social distance floor stickers without signage information ("in", "out", "1,5m", ...). These were arranged in a playful and chaotic way, making them appearing like graphic elements composing a full-scale abstract painting. The Magic Deals light box was hung at a high level on the wall, like an icon or relic. All three had in common the idea of withdrawing consumerist information from the objects, making them flirting with Geometric Abstract art.




Proximinus, 2021
Outdoor installation at TickTack gallery (Antwerp)




I’m thinking of a series of new lightboxes, with other pastiches of Proximus’ advertising campaigns. The images printed on the plexi glass would look like these:


Photomontages from Proximus advertising campaigns

In the fake TASCHEN book that I've recently published, I relate to this show at TickTack Gallery and extrapolate by saying that I've transformed the whole space and vitrine into a fake Proximus shop, which is not completely true. And this lie is far from being the only one in the book. Since the object is, at first glance, a hoax, I was free to romanticize and fantacize my life and future. Therefore, I foresee and predict a successful art carrier, based in New York city, Maurizio Cattalan being my sugar daddy. I'm also planning to disappear in ten years, during the opening party of my solo show at "Babosian gallery", in Los Angeles.
Since the monograph is autobiographical, I did confess and unveil some intimate things about me, my childhood and adolescence. But above all, the book is about self-derision and is a joyful critique of the art world and its myriad of institutions (TASCHEN being one of them).



Views of the installation Faire Tasche (Eleven Steens, Brussels, 2021) and details of the fake Taschen book

For the group show IRL* at Eleven Steens (Brussels), I've showcased the book in a display that parodied the interior design of TASCHEN book stores. The book was presented on a branded pedestal: a baroque column, with gold letters forming the word "TASCHE" (in french, "tache" stands for "stain" and "faire tache" is when something or someone's presence isn't desired and is problematic).

I still have 70 copies left from the standard edition. The deluxe edition includes a cute screen print edited to 20, signed and dated. I’ve made a website which imitates the one from TASCHEN and where you can pre-order them online. There it is: www.tasche.one (wait 5 seconds for the page to open).  
I'm also planning to deposit and sell some books in cultural institutions in french-speaking countries, but also to infiltrate bigger book shops like Filigrannes, FNAC and ... TASCHEN stores, OFC!

Please Ask For Assistance, 2021
Screenprint on Zerkall paper, 16,5 x 22 cm
Multiple of 20



Last but not least: the project on Deliveroo. After one and a half year working on this project, it became an installation that recreates a fitness room with musculation machines, twisted food delivery uniforms and equipments, a video and a performance with someone activating the objects. The installation thus pretends as if Deliveroo started to set up sport clubs around the world to train its coursiers. It compares fitness with delivering food, to put on a same level the physical violence of training musculation and the social and emotional violences of being a coursier. Thus, the set up tends to question labor conditions of coursiers, but also to show my fascination for colorful branded uniforms and for fitness clubs.




Délivrez avec Délivrénoo!, 2021
Installation and performance
Eleven Steens, Brussels



Activation of the Délivrénoo objects showcased in the installation






Twisted Deliveroo equipments, showcased on dumbbell racks









If I had to show the installation again, I would add extra machines, nutrition boxes and frames on the wall, with twisted Deliveroo uniforms like on the photomontages below : 





I didn't communicate much on that, but in March 2021, for the open doors of La Cambre, I've organized outdoor performances which were fake fitness classes, during which a coach was commanding four novice-coursiers and trained them for the job. The performance ended with several duels, where the fastest gets the job. It was fun to hear the public encouraging the actors during the duels, like it was actual sport and entertainment. The performance was spectacular and quite successful, both in real time and on the internet. I’ve recently been contacted by an emerging performance festival in Brussels called SUEUR, and for which I’ll probably re-iterate the performance at the end of September.







Délivrez avec Délivrénoo, 2021
Outdoor performances (La Cambre, Brussels)


Although I’ve been focusing more on startup companies lately, I still enjoy subverting the visual merchendizing from multinationals titans, especially from the fashion and glamour industry. So now I'm working on a series of surrealits-dadists assemblages that combine sexy packagings and shopping bags with other found objects like puppets and children toys and disguisements. The assemblages look quite similar to the ones I've been making last year with Apple packagings. I don’t know yet if it worths showcasing and spatializing them in tangible exhibition space, or if they could simply exist as photographs. 


Latests assemblages


Theeeen, there is also the “Triennale de Gravure” show, which was supposed to take place last year in Liège (Luik), and that has been postponed up to this September. 
For this show, I will exhibit the iMac boxes with twisted wallpapers, and sacralized on wooden pedestals. I’ve made two new photomontages from the Mac OS wallpapers, that are less frontal and less perceptible at first glance. 





There will also be the funeral wreath elevated on a nice marble column i found in Brussels. 




And lastly, the un-customized cake, museified in a refrigerated vitrine.







 



January 2021
Three months have passed since the last blog post and I have to admit that November and December have been quite emotionally intense, since I got myself in trouble many times like at school, with the police, a coursier and other pp. Also, full moon in Gemini didn't help much. So it felt nice to have the Christmas holidays to reflect, take some rest, and some distance with everything.

Art contests, grant requests, shows
Since October, I've applied to some art contests like Prix Médiatine (Brussels) and Prix Jeune Création (Paris). I also sent a dossier for two grant requests to SOFAM (Société multimédia des auteurs des arts visuels) which is a Belgian ONG that launches several open calls for artists. For one of the request, I had to propose a project with a budget, calendar, etc. So I proposed something like three showroom spaces with branded objects from Deliverro, Takeaway and UberEats. Audio pieces from my interviews with the coursiers and restaurent owners would have been part of the installation. Here are some slides of the dossier:







The other grant was given to the ones who sent a portfolio with 7 pics and description of their work. Unfortunately, neither my application for Prix Mediatine and my grant requests have been selected... I was quite disappointed, for I had high hopes for this, which would have financed my final year degree show at LaCambre. But it’s part of the game so it’s OK.


I'm glad that I've been invited to participate to the next Windowmuseum group show, curated by Lola Meotti who launched this project as a response to the shutting down of museums and cultural spaces because of covid. Not long ago, Lola contacted me and proposed that we reiterate the performance with food delivery coursiers waiting somewhere and wearing twisted branded uniforms. This next edition of WindowMuseum will be hosted by ISELP (Brussels) and will take place in the public parc next to it (Egmont and Georges parc), probably around Spring/Summer 2021.
Though the curator proposed to hire real coursiers for the performance and pay them twice as much as they would usually earn, this sounded to me a little bit too ethically borderline as it would instrumentalize coursiers and take advantage of their economic precarity to make art. So I'd rather ask some friends, or simply do the performance myself.




Another good news is that I successfully sent an application to participate to a group show called Third place or what? at TickTack gallery in Antwerp, which will be curated by two students from Espace Urban department of La Cambre. Every year, the gallery offers carte blanche to students from one art school and 2021 will be devoted to La Cambre. It was nice to meet Paul Gérard and Jules Flamen to discuss about the project and our respective work. They were particularly interested by the flyering performance I did back in 2018, and expressed me their desire for a sort of an in situ artwork/performance that would create communication between the inside and the outside of TickTack gallery. We planned to go on site after mid-year evaluations and exams to check the place. The show is supposed to be around April 2021 and the thematic deals with the notion of 'third place’. After some time, they the curators went back to me and told me they had selected 3 works of mine, like the Flyering performance, the Proximus flag without logo and the Full Moon light box. I thought that if I had to exhibit the Proximus flag, why not re-create a whole Proximus point of sale vitrine, without any information but beautiful gradients. If they pick this projects, I’d like the Tick Tack gallery to look like this:







Sonic creation school module
Master class students from La Cambre also had to pick a specific course, so I picked the 'création sonore' module, directed by Céline Gillain, Julia Eckhardt, Myriam Pruvot and Caroline Profanter. 
In the beginning, I was making some mash-up’s from the audios I had collected from my latest interviews with coursiers and restaurant owners in Brussels. One of the composition is from the interview I did with an employee who works in a fast food that is in partnership with Takeaway. The track opens with the ringtone/alert from the Takeaway tablette/terminal that sends orders to the restaurent. Through the track, we hear the guy explaining what is the process to be partners with Takeaway and how one restaurant buys ‘primary goods’ from takeaway’s online catalogue (branded objects like delivery bags, tissues, note pads ... but also food itself. URL of the catalogue here: https://shop.takeaway.com/fr-BE/home ). I also added some ASMR soundtrack from frying aliments to recreate the atmosphere/ambiance of the place. The idea would have been to add the track to a video, displayed through a fake Takeaway terminal where we could see the employees working in the snack. 





Stills from the video Takeaway Proud Partners (2020) 3’8”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaxhFVKS4Ko



The 2nd track I did is also from an interview (this time from a coursier I met in Brussels) from which I've extracted words and phrases, and put them on top of city streets sound effects, mashed up with robotic guidance voice from google maps indicating the way to the coursier, as if he was actually on the way to deliver food. During the trip, the coursier talks about social prestige, discrimination, racism and the violence of social relations between coursiers, customers and restaurent owners. Sometimes, he sends voice notes to an imaginary customer who’s waiting for his/her food to be delivered. Have a listen:
https://soundcloud.com/ravier-1/assisting-steph

However, because these tracks are too documentary-like, I decided to stay on my very first idea and work from an interview with Jitse Groen, the CEO of Takeaway.com. Thus I've extracted words and phrases from the latter and mixed them on top of the happy indie pop rock soundtrack Takeaway uses for their commercials. In the mash up, the voice of Groen comes out of a burger box, surrounded by other objects that comes and go every time the music starts. In the final sequence, every objects end up fighting with each other, going frenetic and crazy because of a too clean and deadly sanitary aesthetic that is precisely the one of visual merchandizing and mass-advertising.




I didn’t post the video online yet because it looks, in my view, a little too amateur and there are many aesthetic clumsinesses. I still have to think wether I shoot it again or not. Anyway, working and directing a team of 13 people was quite challenging and stressful, but still it was fun and nice experience. 




Mid-year evaluations 
The last week before the Christmas holidays, we had a lecture/presentation with printmaking department teachers inside school's gallery space, so each student could prepare to the mid-year evaluations. The lecture ended with a collective installation inside the vitrine/box.





View of the collective installation inside school’s gallery vitrine
with works of Nina Koopmans, Apoline Sanguinède, Aliocha Tazi, Lou Coco Valentino and me.


For this presentation, I recreated an office space from Berlin’s Takeaway headquarter. The floor was covered with a grey carpet, on top of which I put tables and chairs. One table had twisted branded uniforms and packagings, and the other one had a computer screen with a loop video and a glass with orange Takeaway pencils. The video was a compilation from Youtube videos published by Takeaway on its channel. It started with the cartoonish video formation to apply as a coursier for the company. Then, there was an after movie and recruitment video, where one sees all the white collars going to ski together, wearing the branded jackets and skiing, assisting to talks, chilling in transats and partying together. I left the videos telles quelles, like ready-made contents and didn't intervene on them. But it didn't make much sense that I show the twisted artefacts (with the wordplay Takemeaway) among original videos from Takeaway. Perhaps it'd have been more relevant and impressive if I had made the videos.








Clearly, an extra element was missing: something that would have disturbed this whole clean and sanitary aesthetic. Teacher Anne Fransen proposed that something liquid could have leaked from somewhere, an oversaturated soundtrack playing out loud, a blinking light,… Though I wanted to share my interest and fascination on corporate aesthetic and entreprise culture with this remake of office environment, it was quite boring. Also, I’m not inventing anything since these kind of installations are no new and quite recurrent in contemporary art. So I think I’ll leave this idea of display for my graduation show.




Takemeaway e-bike, delivery bag and packagings, 2020


Also, showcasing tels quels the fake Takeaway e-bike, the uniforms and packagings was unsatisfactory and reduced them to mere gags. Whereas showcasing, for instances, the ebike it on top of a pedestal/podium, or fixing it to the wall (like hipsters do) would add an extra point and another element to bounce on.

I also showed the Uber Mensch delivery bag and jacket on a pedestal. A compilation video from my interviewes with the coursiers in Brussels was displayed on a smartphone inside the jacket. Link of the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pwa6f8g2bI




       

UberMensch, 2020
Deliverybag, jacket, smartphone and video (3’34”)



Another point that has been said during the presentation is that (because of its documentary dimension), it's too down to earth and too critical. It seriously lacks fantasy, poetry, fiction, ... and fun.

I also printed in large format this photomontage that mimics a 2019 Deliveroo advertising. But lmao because the resolution of original pic from the Last Supper was so low compared to the HD incrusted delivery bags. In the end, the background was super pixelated, and the delivery bags super clean. What has been said is that the slogan and the word play in the logo twist must be from the same language. Otherwise it doesn’t work 100%.




Left: Devotion can wait, 2020, photomontage 
Right: Billboard from Deliveroo commercial campaign in 2019, London

I wish that for this second semestre, I take some time to travel and take some pics of friends of mine, wearing uniforms from Délivrénoo, Takemeaway and UberMensch in natural environments like at the beach, in mountain, the forest, and so on. The idea would be to de-contextualize food delivery coursiers from their working place (the city) and get them to sublime natural places where we would feel freedom and hope, somewhere they would finally be 'away' (takemeaway) and free (délivrénoo). These pics would then be posted in public space, inside advertising panels and clipping frames. I'm also thinking of some short films that would parody Deliveroo and Takeaway advertisings, to publish them on the internet.





Délivrénoo (Ski), 2020
Photomontage




C’est le moment (ski), 2020
Photomontage

Food delivery / leisure and xtreme sports
An ex-student from the printmaking department gave me the advice that I should think of a scenario for my final degree show installation. He told me that my critique of food delivery industries could be more subtile, intelligent and less critical, if I compare them with leisure and extreme sport like motocycle races, skiing, trekking, motor cross, formula 1, diving, ice clibing, air diving, and so on. We came up with the idea of a fake store that'd sell extreme sport equipment items branded with Délivrénoo, Takemeaway and Ubermensch. In this scenario, the feeling of speed, of danger and of competition could subtly evoke the precarious working conditions of the coursiers. Also, a fake store with branded clothes would also anticipate a future trend/fashion that is: the re-appropriation of food delivery uniforms by youth and their becomming of cool, vintage and fashionable objects.



Off to the races (Sponsoring), 2020
Photomontage


Also, it's funny to imagine an advertising/commercial campaign with food delivery coursiers having to climb a hill or dive deep in the ocean to bring food to someone. In the first case, if he has to climb cliffs and snow mountains, this could anticipate the moment when the ocean level would rise and that populations will have to migrate uphill. 
The comparison between food delivery and sport and body culture is also interestingly absurd, since it compares leisure and labor/work. I’m really fascinated by showroom aesthetic and there are many chances that I’ll make this kind of environment for my final degree show. Curious assemblages and homoerotic images would be part of the trick, hihi.




Délivrez-nous (Showroom 1), 2021
Photomontage 


Délivrez-nous (Showroom 2), 2021
Photomontage

Last but not least, for this second semestre and last 5 months at La Cambre, I’m planning to screen print some of my drawings extracted from my sketchbooks and which, for the majority, also deals with consumerism and my own fascination for visual merchandizing. Some of them are potential performances and sculptures that I’ll probably never produce in real life and that will remain as images. I’m OK with that.










October 2020

A couple of weeks ago, I offered artist Leo Luccioni to be his assistant. He said OK so I'm now doing an internship with him and so far, helped him for his solo show ÉGRÉGORIEN at Everyday gallery in Antwerp. Basically, I had to fix stained glasses to their plumb structure, then clean them and remove fat with sawdust. The two pieces represented the logo from British oil company BP. While the first one is a replica of the original logo, respecting the same colors, the second, untitled PB, is a more dark and opaque version, with glasses tainted in deep dark marine blue and bordeau.




Léo Luccioni, BP, 2019-2020, Plexi glass, glass



I also gave him a hand assembling and painting 4 baroque-style speakers made of digital engraved panels of wood. The engravings were decorative and geometrical patterns from popular logos; and the speakers, during the show, played spiritual-chorus chants of brand names. I also had to paint two large doors forming the M from MacDonald's (also CNC engraved).





Léo Luccioni, Égrégorien Speaker (4), 2019-2020, Yellow pine, speaker





Léo Luccioni, ÉGRÉGORIEN, 2020, exhibition view, Everyday Gallery, Antwerp


Working with Leo made me realize that I was actually going in the same direction as him, by often referring to the sacrosanct and using Jesus Christ’s figure. Although it’s been a long time since I’m interested in the difference between the sacred and profane, and more recently, in ‘holistic branding’1 and the appropriation of religious vocabulary/aesthetic for marketing strategies, I ended up criticizing monotheist religions... which was not my initial intention. 

Probably that I’ve lost myself in this whole thing, by trying to assess religious connotations to every brand and by considering every form of consumption as a communion ritual. Doing it for Apple used to make sense, but not really for app-based food delivery companies, lol. 

Sooo, I guess I’ll leave the religious registre for a little while, although I have been making new assemblages with Apple packagings and porcelain statuettes from Galettes des Rois. Anecdotally, I received plenty of statuettes from a woman who commented on my fb post when I was looking for some. The woman told me she had so many because she works in a retirement home in Brussels where they celebrate the Christian holiday of the Epiphany, but where, for safety reasons, they remove the little statuettes from the Epiphany cake.

The Annunciation, 2020
Assemblage
9 x 17 x 3,9 cm












What else ? 
I’m still working on the food delivery industry project and have been applying to be given access to the vitrine of Centrale For Contemporary Arts in Brussels. One of the criteria to get selected was to consider the institution's neighbourhood. As the street is full of bars and restaurants, many delivery people meet and wait together in the area. So obviously I proposed something in relation with the takeaway industry and delivery guys’ working conditions. Here are some pics of the dossier I’ve sent.




Cover and other slides from the application dossier sent to Centrale For Contemporary Arts (Brussels)



In hindsight, I wish I had kept the first twist for Takeaway (turned into ‘Takemeaway.com’) instead of alluding to Islam: the drawing of a Mosque and inscription ‘inchallah.be’ were of bad taste in this context. By doing this, I hoped to shed light on social determinism of people with immigration background in western cities, but also to suggest the illusion of freedom and happiness that promise both religions and app-based, uberized jobs. But still, the parrallel isn’t really relevant and it was clearly not the smartest nor mature way to refer to pp with immigration background. And I truly don’t want to offend anyone. So, enough with blaspheming towards Islam and Catholicism, ‘cause this is not my point.

I’m still thinking of an installation with branded uniforms from food delivery coursiers and their other working tools, like vehicules (scooters, motorbike, bycicle,...), smartphones, earphones, ... but also branded food packagings. I’ve heard and checked last year’s show entitled Strike Now!!2, directed by Aram Bartholl, which took place at Panke Gallery (Berlin) and which also dealt with app-based food deivery platforms and, more generally, gig economy. The installation is very inspiring: there were dismantled and unstitched isothermal delivery bags suspended in the air like a crucifix, or lying on the ground like welcoming sofas. In the middle of the room, electric scooters were stretching a branded uniform from Foodora, like it was actually quartering a delivery person’s body. Also, Strike Now!!’s program included life performance with a female coursier riding a bike inside the exhibition space, and talks from scholars who studied the whole subject. 



Shots from Strike Now!!, directed by Aram Bartholl, at Panke Gallery (Berlin, 2019)


So, at some point, I thought to myself: What more could I add to this already complete synthesis and critique of this economy?’... Then I realized that, perhaps, what was missing was some testimonies from coursiers, restaurant owners, customers and white collars (like sales managers and companies’ CEO’s) in order to provide a documentary and sociological dimension and approach.

Thus I began interviewing coursiers in Brussels and, so far, did nine filmed interviews during which I usually ask them basic and naive questions like: How is the formation and application ? How are their relations with other coursiers ? with the customers ? with the pp working in the offices/hub/basement ? If they ever had an accident . . . 



Stills from my interview with a coursier from Takeaway.com explaning me how he passed the test at Uber Eats’ offices in Brussels. I’m blurring his face ‘cause I didn’t tell him I was recording. 



From these interviews, I’ve learned that having a contract with Takeaway, or being Deliveroo’s coursier-partner is actually not that simple, since the demand for these jobs is quite high (apparently, it takes between 6 monthes and 1 year to get employed for Takeaway. Same for Deliveroo). Also, to work as a coursier, one must have an updated and recent smartphone that can download riders’ apps. I’ll let you imagine how much money coursiers must spend for mobile internet, performant smarphone and vehicule. Also, a lot of them have either an electric bicycle, a scooter or a motorbike, because a simple bicycle isn’t profitable. If you ride by bike, you’re not fast enough for delivering the food and therefore, you don’t get much deliveries because the algorithms fuck you.

Once, a Bengladeshi coursier from Uber—to whom I introduced myself to by saying I wanted to be a coursier too—told me that I should try with Deliveroo, because I have the Belgian nationality and that Deliveroo prefers to have partnerships with workers born in the same city and not with people with immigration background. Comparatively, Uber Eats and Takeaway don’t discriminate coursiers, depending on their nationality.



Stills from my interview with Raul at Place Debrouckère, Brussels


As I said above, I’ve also started to interview restaurents’ owners. I ask them since when they collaborate with app-based delivery platforms, how does it work, if they are often in contact with them. But also how is the contact with the coursiers. Usually, I present myself as a journalist student who has to write a short article about the restaurant industry in Brussels since COVID-19 (hihi).



Stills from my interview with a cooker in a pizzeria in Brussels


I’ve also applied to become a food delivery coursier for the company Takeaway.com. First, I had to watch a cartoon video formation and then to answer a 13 questions quizz in 2 minutes. Although the questions I was asked made me feel like I was doing a vocabulary test or a ‘are you human’ kinda test, to check if I’m not a bot—I failed twice. I finally succeded and had to answer another series of questions about my age, sexe, school and finally, to write a ‘motivation letter’. Then I had to wait 2 weeks untill I recieved a negative answer through an automated email. 




Screenprints from online formation and application to be a Takeaway.com coursier



Two days in a row, I went to Takeaway’s hub in Brussels (which is nearby North Station) to interview the people working in the offices. I also said I was doing journalism studies and that I was writing something on the restauration industry in Brussels since the corona virus. I’m glad I could get an interview with the supervisor (who is about my age, LOL) and could take some pics of the place.


Inside Takeaway’s hub in Brussels


I have to admit that I’m quite fascinated by these places, because they are the headquarters and hidden backstages of what we regularly see on a daily basis in the streets (coursiers delivering food). Both Deliveroo, Takeaway and Uber Eats have a headquarter and offices in each city they operate in. These places are inspiring and challenging to infiltrate.

On YouTube, Takeaway.com has been posting some promotional videos with interviews of riders and coordinators/supervisors. ANd one can have a glimpse of what the Berlin’s hub looks like. Here are some stills of Delivery Talks: meet Niels. 



Link of the vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw8i-GUZsE8

And then, there was this shot, with a white collars’ meeting inside an office. Inspiring for an art installation, isn’t it ? This could be the perfect scenography to showcase the twisted uniforms.
 
Stills from Delivery talks: meet Harley and Tereza, Hub Coordinators in Berlin
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxrbpjSuqws


About three times this month, I’ve seen young people wearing Uber Eats branded jacket and distributing flyers nearby university campuses in Brussels, to promote Uber Eats and offer free 15€ on customers’ first order. 


Young woman distributing Uber Eats flyers in front of University Campus in Brussels (ULB)


I talked to the two youngsters who were distributing the flyers and who, actually, weren't delivery people but just on punctual jobs that they had received from mobile app called "Opizy". I also learned that this campaign is supposed to last from September until December (giving me time to think about something and hijack it. I still wonder what to write on the flyer: if I comment it with annotations that deconstruct and analyse visual communication strategies or if I focus more on delivery people themselves, for instance by revealing their working conditions and the fact they earn 4,95€ per delivery) ... idk yet. This is what the flyer looks like:








Flyers from Uber Eats promotional campaign in Brussels




This is how Oppizy presents itselfs through its official website: 

“FLYERS: A NEW WAY TO ACQUIRE CUSTOMERS

Oppizi is the world’s leading Flyer Distribution company. We provide a new avenue to grow your business and acquire customers. Businesses have used street flyer and leaflet distribution for years, but measuring success is difficult and it’s hard to know if flyers are actually reaching potential customers. Our unique tracking methodology ensures you’re getting the best results from your flyer campaign. We use proprietary technology to track your campaign and optimise results, so flyers are consistently handed out in the best performing locations. Our friendly ambassadors communicate with enthusiasm and deliver your message to potential customers effectively. We’ve delivered strong results for leading Australian and International businesses like Uber, Hello Fresh, THE ICONIC and many others. We operate flyer advertising campaigns across all major metro cities in Australia, France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United States of America.”



1. See chapter 7 of Brand Senses, from M. Lindstrom Martin, Free Press, 2005. 

2. 
https://arambartholl.com/strike-now/ I highly recommend you to read the exhibition brochure if you’re interested in app-based food delivery industry and gig economy.