SOME STREET STORYBOARDS
Francesc Ruiz’s third solo exhibition at the Florence Loewy gallery presents a new body of work focused on his interest in distribution, corporate design and visual narratives, centered this time on the Amazon company’s history and its current developments.
Amazon recently released, on its corporate website, a video explaining the history of Jeff Bezos’ door-desk, the company’s first furniture element, created in the cheapest and simplest way, using a door, four wood sticks and some brackets. The door-desk is now a symbol of the company’s ideology, something intelligent and sturdy, expressing frugality and sincerity. Using the idea of this piece of furniture as an open source, Francesc Ruiz has created an installation “AMAZON IS NOT THE EARTH’S BIGGEST BOOKSTORE" by building three similar door-desks accompanied by a video and three redesigned Amazon cardboard boxes that reveal a less friendly side of the company.
The video accompanying the installation reproduces Amazon first logo floating in a swimming pool, subtitled following Ray Johnson1’s text “Mail Art is not square, a rectangle, or a photo, or a book, or a slide, it is a river” introducing other elements related to worldwide distribution and the supply chain. When Jeff Bezos started his company, he called it The Earth’s Biggest Bookstore, but his real ambition was to control the international distribution market, changing the way we buy and our relationship with commodities. The three cardboard boxes are linked to the history and future of the company. One of the boxes is printed with the original logo of the company, another has references to AWS Amazon Web Services, a parallel company providing IT tools to corporations and governments to analyze their customers and citizens in order to track their movements and behaviors. Finally the third box makes reference to the Amazon Military recruitment branch, a division specialize d in offering jobs inside the company to former military personnel.
The series “IT’S A RIVER” is comprised of printing on cardboard mimicking the surface of Amazon’s ubiquitous boxes but modified to show Francesc Ruiz’s interest in situationist practices connecting movement with distribution. The images echo Guy Debord’s “The Naked City” map of Paris and other the idea of distribution in general.
The “SNAKED” installation is composed of two videos. It is a collage of found footage collected by the artist during the last two years through his Instagram account under the hashtag #disturbingdistribution. It shows a choreography of actions in which automation clashes with nature. In the video, snakes appear as a symbol of all our fears and contradictory feelings about a future controlled by machines and artificial intelligence, alternating with some narratives on self-defense technologies represented by opacity systems or portable airbag devices to prevent being injured in a world where sidewalks have been replaced by conveyors belts, and where our bodies navigate between virtual and real worlds.
Finally on the floor, strewn like trash, we find “SNAKE STORYBOARD,” a series of photocopies, the remains of a storyboard showing us what seems to be a nonlinear narrative on streets that looks like snakes, an allegory of the new urban landscape shaped by messengers and last-mile delivery services.