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Virginie Sommet
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Bedford-Stuyvesant



ARTIST STATEMENT: My concern – the unifying theme of my installations – is with objects that represent ‘urban minorities’ and the "urban majority" in Paris and in New York. An urban minority is a group of persons, living in the city, who share the same minority lifestyle. These people are different from "travelers", who prefer to live outside the society of consumption and go where desire lends them. The urban majority, as I use the term, is the largest group of persons living in the city, who share the same majority life style. They are different from the social elite because they do not have privileges and financial power. My 'chameleon' lifestyle allows me to jump from one 'ghetto' (subculture) to another, or from a minority to the majority, and to discover unusual objects: ones from a minority that are unknown to the majority, and ones from the majority that are unknown to the minorities. When I discover these objects, I buy them in large quantities (by the hundred) to make sculptures or installations with them. Two reasons motivate my concern with urban minority and majority objects: - First, my aim is to provide information about 'urban minorities' and 'urban majorities' through my works, and not to justify the practices associated with these objects. Information produces knowledge, which leads to awareness, whereas ignorance brings fear, which provokes intolerance. My installations are an attempt to create tolerance for minorities, as well as for the majority by increasing the knowledge of minority and majority objects. - Second, I wish to conserve (or curate) the symbolic (emblematic) object. This, simply because I am persuaded that every sort of object is going to disappear from our society. Why are all the objects going to disappear? The 18 th Century was the century of philosophy, the 19 th Century was the century of industry, the 20 th Century was the century of consumption – but the 21 th Century will be the century of Spiritual Direction. When this happens, the 'travelers' will form entire tribes, each having its own spiritual direction (see Manifesto). For the time being, in 2003, I am working principally on urban minorities and on the urban majority: the 'traveler' phenomenon is an embryonic stage and 'traveler tribes' have not yet arisen. My installations are the existential memory, present and future, of urban minorities and the urban majority, travelers, and traveler tribes. My present work concern urban minorities and the urban majority in Paris and New York. My next project will concern emblematic traveler objects. Finally, I intend to create a series of traveler tribe sculptures, made from virtual thoughts. The raw material will consist not of objects anymore, but of thoughts produced with virtual technology (refraction of light and scales of smells). We are living the last moments of the object. That is why I am saving objects in the form of emblematic installations
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