Maxime Guyon
Technological Exaptation, showroom engine

Maxime Guyon (1990, France) graduated with honors from ECAL in 2015. His work oscillates between the research on the constant evolution of technological functions in our current society, and on the role of a photographer in a post-internet era. He has been part of several group shows since 2012 in Lausanne, Paris, Austin, Milano, Shanghai, Milwaukee, London, Brooklyn, New York, Los Angeles and Cincinnati.

His project “Technological Exaptation” is about technical evolution in its broad sense. By adopting aesthetic codes representing the era of hyper-commercialism, this series analyses a number of standardized commodities as well as high-technology. His project also addresses the role of the photographer today concerning the dematerialization of the practice. Maxime’s reasearch in this sense is connected to the notion of utopia, which pushes him to deeply investigate about the photographic medium and stretching its horizons. 

How relevant is the notion of UTOPIA within your practice, approaches and strategies?

Maxime Guyon
Technological Exaptation, toothbrush

The notion of Utopia within my practice would be close to the constant question I’m asking since I’ve started my project called “Technological Exaptation”. This question is: what is the role of a photographer nowadays in the art field? The utopia here is the undetectable answer that motivates me to keep working on my deep researches based on the evolution of the photography medium.

Therefore, I would say that this notion of Utopia is somehow relevant in my practice. In my opinion, the word Utopia is also relating to a certain Hyperreal aesthetic that I’m working through my projects. My intention in this aesthetic is to refer to the hyper-commercialism codes that surround our visual society through advertising but also internet aesthetics that subtly directs our desires and dreams. To conclude this question, working on the term “evolution” and “exaptation” is finally a speculative research on a contingent utopia.

Utopia is defined as the imagination of an ideal system or pattern of a civil organisation. How do you see the role of creative practice within this concept? Or otherwise, can design change society – referring to a common utopian aspiration to create a new society through design?

Firstly, I reckon that design is unfortunately mainly defined by the market. Thus, if in your question you mention “society” as the “market”, I can affirm that design can’t change the market nowadays. However, my role as an artist is not to find an ideal system of a civil organization but rather to find questions and new axes of thinking concerning contemporary subjects.

Maxime Guyon
Technological Exaptation, welding robot

I observe the role of creative practice in the notion of utopia in it’s activism, direct or subtle, I find the creative approach of a photographer very relevant in the questions that she/he is able to bring to our society.
Concerning my own practice, I trust in the idea of accelerationism. Which means that my work has to visually hasten in a frenetic way the evolution of techno-economical system in order to evoke its self-destructive tendencies.

Are there any other manifestos, publications or thinkers that have influenced your work or mindset?

I’ve been influenced by a lot of essayist and writers in this project, but to name a few I would say that my references tends structurally toward Susan Blackmore and her research on “Memetics” and “Temes”; Lev Manovich with his new interpretation on softwares related to the photography medium and ultimately Koert van Mensvoort and his studies on standardized techno-commodities.

Maxime’s series are currently on show at the Festival Circulation(s) in Paris until 7 August 2016.

More about Maxime Guyon here.