States of Independence
Dazed's ultimate guide to US creativity

Aliens, poetry and cat holograms with Antoine Catala

Lisa Cooley's NY gallery selects the text artist approaching technology with a lo-fi lean

Antoine Catala 1
From "Heavy Words" at Peephole gallery Antoine Catala

As part of our new summer US project States of Independence we've invited our favourite 30 American curators, magazines, creatives and institutions to takeover Dazed for a day. 

Today, for new artist day, we've turned the site over to our favourite independent galleries to tell us their favourite, freshest American visual artists. From Antoine Catala's ET portraits to Devin Kkenny's rap happenings, dig in and take note. 

"I dealt with television, then the internet." Digital yet analogue, and funny yet affecting, Antoine Catala's art faces up to the screens that rule our environments. Primarily a text artist who uses images, he explores the changes in our society with a playful eye that creates surprises out of everyday familiarity. As Lower East Side gallery Lisa Cooley selects the artist for our New Artist Day, we spoke to Catala about working with hologram cats, pictograms and the college radio show that made him the artist he is today.

When did you decide to become an artist?

Antoine Catala: When I was young.

What is inspiring you right now?

Antoine Catala: Collaborations with PR companies, scientists, psychologists, thinkers, cooks, game makers, artists, children, people.

Is there an individual who has helped you get to where you are as an artist today?

Antoine Catala: Maybe more a weekly college radio show called Gambers Stéréphonique that I was part of for 3 years. It was all improvised. Me and my friends (Olivier and Zoltan) would do musicals, rave parties, have people call for free frozen pizza delivery, choose your own adventure, concrete poetry, sometimes all of it combined. Often times improvised.

Can you tell us a bit about your practice? 

Antoine Catala: I make art that deals with changes in society. I dealt with television, then the internet (or rather how digitization of objects and images, with the help of the internet via screens, has irreversibly affected words and language). We humans create environments (cars, buildings, noise, processed food, pollution, etc ) that in turn transform us. While the transformation is rather clear when dealing with airplanes, for instance, they become less so when talking about smartphones with cameras, tablets and net 2.0. I believe the more virtual environments that pertain to communication have a massive impact on us, their creators. Owning a smartphone is like having a third eye. For a long time it felt like the future had been co-opted by politicians and the silicon valley mafia. The more I do art, the more I want it to have social implications. It’s time for a renew sense of freedom and utopia to come out of art.

What's the work that you're proudest of? 

Antoine Catala: The next one to come. In recent years, maybe my show I See Catastrophes Ahead… which was a walk-in rebus (pictogram). A show where all the sculptures in the show spelt out the title of the show. For instance there was a cat (a hologram cat actually), an ass (with a computer inside it that controlled the whole exhibition) and trophies. Cat-ass-trophies. The whole show was like this.

What's your favourite colour?

Antoine Catala: Colours are important. It just depends on the use.

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