A mentor at Istituto Marangoni Firenze and a conceptual artist familiar with the new frontiers of art blossoming in the metaverse(s), Andy Picci has given life to a 00s-inspired website where he displays his work in a very interactive way. This article will uncover the site’s structure, the most recent projects, and the mentorship programme held at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.
By Giulia Piceni. Images courtesy of the artist. Cover image: Andy Picci, I want to be loved (Confessions), 2021. Courtesy of artist
An online space as the digital materialisation of one’s artistic sensibility: with its strikingly pure design, Andy Picci’s new website showcases the conceptual artist’s portfolio, projects, exhibitions and much more. Build and design in collaboration with Studio Temp, organised as a folder and accessible to everyone, it allows all visitors who write down their own confessions to download artwork from the series of the same name: a romantic exchange of secrets accompanied by cloudy skies and chromed melancholic statements that seem to melt in the air.
THE SITE’S MAIN PAGE: A TRIBUTE TO WEB 2.0
White, sans serif1 and emojis. No special effects, transitions and even images. At first glance, this web page may appear nonsensical for a visual artist.
On the upper left section, next to the creative’s name, is a smaller caption in which he defines himself as a conceptual artist and the two main themes he deals with: “self-identity and its construction through the virtualisation of our society”.
As we read this, the entire look of the page gets more and more coherent. Mainly dealing with digital media, Andy Picci is a conceptual artist who saw the rise of web 2.0 and grew with it, eventually becoming one of the first to experiment with Instagram and its filters.
From this perspective, his site looks like an attempt to celebrate his origins in the era when his artistic interest in virtual reality sparked: it’s a way to close the circle, an act made even more significant since the website came out on his birthday.
SELF-DISCOVERY THROUGH THE DIGITAL WORLD
Discussing personal identity, users can click on the upper right locker emoji on the main page and subscribe to the site. Once logged in, they must answer a series of security questions, part of the Proust questionnaire and more personal questions related to ideals and beliefs: an escalation of intimacy that gradually makes the user feel more involved in the artist’s vision.
The questions include a trigger: “Who are you?” All the answers given are considered incorrect, with a thin red font reading “error; this doesn’t define who you are”: a reminder that whatever we do in real life or online is not a valid definition of oneself but just a part of it.
But the Paris-based artist left nothing to chance: these questions are just a conceptual ploy to uncover new areas on the website.
Andy Picci has masterfully planned to create a domino effect on the page: being some folders blocked by a little locker emoji, the only way for the user to unlock them is to download or even just access a specific section.
After dealing all his career with the average media user, the artist knows that their way of interacting with online platforms involves a low attention span and the incredible ability to scroll from one post to another without fully understanding what they have just seen.
Using this “locker strategy” of requiring a specific passage to access another section, the artist guides the user into a controlled experience of his online space that forces them to come across his work and have a more personal experience of it. In a world made of fast, this site invites users to pause and think. The hope is that the user would stop, read and take a step closer to the artist’s work while also discovering something more about oneself, which is, as the main page states, the ultimate goal of the conceptual artist.
It’s essential to note that after logging in and answering the related questions, folders that were previously marked as not accessible are immediately unlocked. In this way, users can access the artist’s material and work, but they can also download written files and admire Picci’s artworks full screen.
Among these, the iconic series Confessions he created during the pandemic is undoubtedly a must-see, even more so since it was featured in Numéro Berlin magazine Issue 12. Furthermore, the artist has recently collaborated with the Bologna design brand Paradisoterrestre in the creation of a limited edition of 10 transparent acrylic frames that enclose a 10 seconds loop of the sky isn’t the limit (2022) from Confessions.
DIGITAL SELF IDENTITY
As also shown by this website, discovering personal identity through the digital world is key to Andy Picci’s artistic research.
After last year’s project Re:mixing the city (might delete later) with students from the Art Department of Istituto Marangoni Firenze, for the second consecutive year, the Paris-based artist has confirmed a mentorship programme tailored specifically for Multimedia Arts and Arts Curating students from Istituto Marangoni Firenze.
This year’s project is based on creating a place according to one’s aesthetic on the metaverse or an “extra room for our physical world”, as he said in a previous interview for I’M Firenze Digest. Access to this impalpable reality was made possible by Spatial, a platform allowing young digital creators to give life to their own metaverse, an environment consistent with their persona and aesthetic vision.
The outcome of Andy Picci’s mentorship will consist of an online exhibition available on Spatial starring the Multimedia Arts artworks curated by Arts Curating students.
This impalpable reality, where creative freedom can be unleashed at best, is yet to be defined. With Andy Picci’s valuable support, the students from Istituto Marangoni Firenze will try to provide their original contribution.
Giulia Piceni is an Arts Curating Undergraduate student at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.
1. The font type is ABC Diatype (by Dinamo).