Théophile Blandet


Department: Contextual Design

Fountains of Knowledge and Money

Internet café
Via Crespi, 16

Like every other place on the planet, Milan is increasingly shaped by unseen flows of information and data. How to make them visible? Théophile Blandet provides an answer with two thought-provoking installations in — where else? — Via Crespi’s busy cybercafé.
Fountain of Knowledge presents us with familiar and banal images of everyday digital life — selfies, Google searches, Facebook chats, YouTube videos. Only in this case, they are painted onscreen in painstaking detail. The effect is dramatic. The paintings serve to press pause on the digital flow, freezing it in time and transforming it from instant gratification into lasting artwork. “In showing something accessible, like paintings, which everyone can relate to, I hope there’s no need to explain more,” says Blandet.

Its companion piece, Fountain of Money, gives form to the abstract phenomenon of cryptocurrencies. “This was about the freedom of designing a shape as a sculpture,” Blandet says. While the sculpture is clearly carefully crafted, it depicts flows of bitcoins pouring endlessly out of the sculpted cylinder like “a personal home system for creating money,” as Blandet puts it. The contrast between analogue and digital production is marked, and rather unnerving. What is the true cost of all this digital bounty?

Copyright Design Academy Eindhoven

Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven
Photograph(s): Femke Rijerman
Venu Photograph(s): Nicole Marinati