Small Impossible Objects
by Maria Cristina Didero, 2018
The most radical gestures are born from a consonance of intents, paired with a strong, shared vision. Reciprocity - of relations, of attitudes, of action among people, among things, among letters and numbers - requires empathy and an extraordinary ability to think in unison, which is never easy to reach. Zaven are able to successfully land this somersault. The dialogue which lies at the foundation of this project titled P.O.P. Piccoli Oggetti Possibili (Small Possible Objects), shows and tells the story of how clearly design exists beyond the object, how strongly it belongs to our day to day lives and how much it can surprise us even when it is just hinted, whispered. The fact that design is a state of mind, or a privileged way to read the world, is synthesized in the five (apparently) simple elements that make up this creative challenge, where functionality exists but needs to be discovered; or even better, it becomes open to a sort of personal codification, it is open to chance, or to the necessity arising from a given moment. Here the logic unravels along several coordinates: how much influence do objects have on our bodies’ movements, and how much does the body influence the objects - their making, their use, their aesthetics and so on - or how much the body and the objects together can influence space, interact within given boundaries but above all relate to our actions, our habits, even the most common ones, such as drinking a glass of wine or leaning against a wall. The notion derived from this analysis is that objects can promote behaviors that are determined or not, they stimulate precise expressions or not, they are the more or less silent makers of attitudes that guide us through a specific path, or they don’t. Some objects allow us to identify hidden or unknown aspects of our habits, which can be relative to a specific situation or extemporaneous and - thanks to this visual, physical, sensorial contact, thanks to this short circuit, to this alternation - can offer us a deeper reading of ourselves; they light up the fuse of a system of actions, uneven and coordinated, that can be the expression either of a precise intention, singular and coherent, or the result of a surprise, of the unexpected, of the unforeseen.
P.O.P. Piccoli Oggetti Possibili by Enrica Cavarzan and Marco Zavagno (a partnership that goes beyond the office - and this is no small detail if I think of the first paragraph of this text) are actually absolutely impossible small objects, because they are impossible to decode, to define, to circumscribe at first sight because they can be modified, personalized, transformed by habit, by associations of ideas by all of us, and as such they are mutable, fluid, unpredictable and above all infinite. They are open objects. They belong to the realm of behavioral design, traceable and recognizable through small and hard-to-detect gestures in this or that context, such as a business meeting or a family reunion - two completely opposite situations.
The POP collection can be considered a stimulating premise to the creation of an original behavioral line of thought, lead by design, which is able to give life to unforeseen occasions for exchange and dialogue between body and object, between different universes and speakers, that naturally stimulate a meditation on ourselves. This substantial a-functionality, which is apparent at first sight, beyond the extreme intellectualization of the concept that characterizes this series, itself physiologically prone to several declinations, also narrates once again the story of how design belongs primarily to the people and only secondarily to what people create. P.O.P. finds its roots in the provocations of Munari during the 50’s, in the artistic research of the Brazilian painter Lygia Clark, or in the performances of Vito Acconci all the way to the recent fashion shows of Craig Green.
A while ago the Zaven called me and said in a rush: “we have created a collection in which the action of the body through space gives life to a series of forms that remain drawn in space like the memory of the movement itself”. Well, interesting, I thought. “And what would become of all of this, then?” - my first comment on the spot, generated by my proverbial pragmatism. This series is actually made up of suggested, hinted situations, which are able to modify our conduct; these are then objects which, although apparently void of purpose, are in reality able to perform several functions, like propping up the body, providing rest to an arm or support to an elbow during a conversation by inducing an appropriate posture, or they can serve even as lumbar support, or can offer rest to a foot and make us feel more secure if we are standing in the middle of a room. So is it really true that they are impossible?
I was especially captured by the intrinsic narration that P.O.P.’s carry within. Just as the risky use of color, the sculptural form, willingly disconnected from any precise factual context, satisfies the more aesthetic part of the project without damaging the anthropological enquiry that supports it. Which is also what fascinates us above all else.
Small Impossible Objects