André Sier – finalist of the Sonae Media Art award

“I hope that the works I create are able to foster freedom of thought, imagination and spatial occupation in people”

Biochemistry, music, painting, philosophy. André Sier‘s path covers several different areas, which then run through a path that goes from arts to technology, and lead him to the place where he currently is: an artistic engineer who creates livable worlds made of non-existent spaces in reality. The goal? “Get inside the piece with the entire body.”

André Sier, one of the five finalists of the Sonae Media Art award, exhibits and performs his works worldwide, already with more than 25 individual exhibitions and 80 participations in collective ones, however he started his exhibition curriculum in the 90s, using pubs located in Bairro Alto for that, at a time when he worked with certain mechanics which he only grasped afterwards. Back then, training in computational fields was non-existent, so the artist had to master certain techniques, something that revealed to have a critical importance. “The arts, which work as a beacon, the sciences and philosophy, which allow the design of new languages, more apt to translate these experiences.”

That drive of André Sier, which motivates him to offer experiences, is something that ends up being reflected in his own works, in which the interaction established between them and the audience is something critical, just like it happens with the piece 747.3, where “the opening of arms in the emptiness, contrasting with the piece’s projection, simulates the act of flying. It’s almost as if it was real, it becomes operative, it draws a smile on those who use it. Fortunately, the body doesn’t limit itself to its organs and to the space that it occupies, and I hope that the works I create are able to foster freedom of thought, imagination and spatial occupation in people”, he explains.

The creation of these fantasy and uninhabitable worlds is something that can be found throughout the whole artist’s path, verified by the piantadelmondo series, “a cartography made of imaginary and habitable spaces”, which draws inspiration from mythological cities and literature.” In Arcadia, one of these spaces, Sier builds a city “where there is no such thing as a floor, nor a ceiling. There are areas with different spatial occupations of matter, where one navigates using movements made in the air, recognized by cameras, as if we were crossing an endless region at the speed of light”.

At the MNAC (Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea do Chiado) exhibition, which will be launched by the end of the year – and one that will be assessed by a jury in order to decide the winner of the Sonae Media Art prize –, we can also expect one of these fantasy worlds. André Sier will go deeper with one of his interactive and virtual environments, an ongoing work since 2011, and he expects to see the audience losing itself when exploring the game. We are talking about Wolfanddotcom, a series whose focus is placed on games, cybernetics and animality. “Games in the sense that they provide experiences with logics that have to be filled in order to further entangle ourselves in the environments. Cybernetics because, sometimes, we let our physical bodies go to become capable of fusing ourselves within the networks. Animality because that’s the human being’s archeology, and maybe the one of art as well, without rules, without systems, without policies that implode the planet that we all share.” This last point, regarding animality, is something crucial in Sier’s point of view, who puts the necessary effort in his work to convey the need to rethink humanity while we still have the planet. “Art has a crucial role in that, and I hope these cathartic pieces are capable of fostering vivid and intense experiences of alterity, which perhaps may create room for reality-shaking thoughts, starting with the human being.”

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