Adrián Cuervo explores with 'Dédalo España' the labyrinths created by big corporations

The exhibition of the winning project of the LABjoven_Experimenta Award opens this coming Friday 8th April

Published: Mar 31, 2011
Adrián Cuervo explores with 'Dédalo España' the labyrinths created by big corporations

Adrián Cuervo. Under Creative Commons Licence

Starting from Friday 8th April, LABoral will show the work by Asturian artist Adrián Cuervo, Dédalo España, winner of the fourth edition of the LABjoven_Experimenta Award. His work is an exhibition project physically and conceptually exploring the labyrinths created by corporations and multinationals to deal with their clients, or in this case, the public. The exhibition can be seen until 27th June in Gallery Platform 1 of the Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial in Gijón.

Dédalo España is a corporation created expressly for this purpose, using the communication strategies of real companies, yet concentrated and amplified. "Visit our new headquarters - it’s an unforgettable experience”. For this project the artist uses ephemeral architecture, corporate identity graphics, promotional videos and advertising contracts, printed material, web pages (www.dedaloespana.com) and customer service telephone numbers along a short, predefined route into which the spectators enter only to find themselves in a labyrinth with no obvious exit.

On a daily basis, we are constantly accepting hundreds of agreements and conditions of use without even being aware of it. In doing so, we unwittingly enter into a direct legal relationship with the corporations. When we buy a ticket for a concert or open a web page, we accept dozens of clauses exempting the organisation from all sorts of imaginable liabilities while burdening us with things we never even knew existed. So overwhelming is the number of these “ghost contracts” that we do not have enough real time on our hands to find out and read –let alone understand- what it is we are actually accepting. And even less time to go through those contracts that remain valid throughout our lives, given that the “terms may change without prior notice”.

These strategies are well defined by company policy which is very knowledgeable about “victim culture”. If one subsection in a contract saves one compensation claim, one hundred subsections will save one hundred compensation claims. If you also include cross-references that obscure full understanding of it all, you will then have a “terms and conditions” contract.

The other line of communication for businesses is the customer telephone service. The organisations design complex systems involving multiple departments that hold up the clients in their search for a solution to a simple problem. The formula is basically to add on more problems to the point that something so simple is turned into a huge difficulty which we either can’t or don’t know how to handle.

Did you stop to read the safety regulations of the manufacturer before switching on the computer?  “By pressing the on-switch states that you have done so”.

LABjoven_Experimenta is a competition carried out by the Regional Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Principality of Asturias through the Instituto Asturiano de la Juventud (IAJ) [Asturian Youth Institute] and LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial in Gijón. This award, with a prize of 18.000 euros for the production of the selected work, has been granted for the fourth year in a row and it is presented to young Asturians or residents in the Principality of Asturias, of no more than 35 years of age. Its goal is to foster the realisation of experimental artistic projects (installations, multimedia installations, actions, interventions and any other creative processes), conceived specifically for exhibition in the Gallery Platform 1 at LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial.

The jury that bestowed the award to the work by Adrián Cuervo was presided by the Director of Instituto Asturiano de la Juventud, Guillermo Martínez Suárez. Other jury members included Steven Bode, Director de Film & Umbrella, London; Luis Feás, art critic and exhibition curator, Oviedo; Rosina Gómez-Baeza, Director of LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Gijón; Benjamin Weil, LABoral´s Chief Curator; and Ana Botella Díez del Corral, Head of Exhibitions at LABoral.

Adrián Cuervo (Gijón, 1981) graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Granada and he has also studied at UPV in Bilbao [University of the Basque Country] and at Université Paris 8, Vincennes-Saint-Dennis [University of Vincennes in Saint-Denis (University of Paris VIII); also specialised in audiovisuals and new technologies. He is a member of LitiumLab, Laboratorio de Arte Interactivo [Interactive Art Laboratory] at the University of Granada and co-founder of Mademotion in Madrid. His work focuses on new media, audiovisual and sound art. He creates objects and audiovisual works that provoke reflection on capitalist consumer society, perceptions of reality and philosophy from the aesthetics of plastic poetry.  

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