MARIA JULIANA BYCK 瑪麗亞‧朱莉安娜‧拜克
Intangible Commons is the portfolio site for Maria Juliana Byck, ethical fashion designer, poet, artist, experimental filmmaker, and social practitioner engaging through video, installation, performance and place-based collaborations.
Our culture is preserved, protected, alienated, commoditized, professionalized, and compartmentalized by “public” institutions and the private market. Power, established in the profit-driven economy, manipulates value and controls exchange. An art world bubble, of ownership and false scarcity surrounds us.
How can we begin to experiment with the boundaries created by this hermetically sealed, self-referential system? Can we push up against, gently prod, or kick through, to access the abundance that hovers just on the other side of intangible barriers?
Art is sold, owned, and safeguarded, as if it could be stolen and protected, rather than shared, changed and built upon.
Art, produced as playthings for the powerful, focuses on the desires and perceived needs of those separated out from the flux and flow of everyday life.
Art is passively consumed, humbly accepted, selected for us by those complicit with the system, and seemingly possible only through the generous benevolence of the prevailing dominant manipulators.
What would art be if there were no artists? What if all that we create was not sequestered, labeled, exploited or colonized? The wealth of all generations, in large overlapping systems of ideas and realizations, belong to us all.
Art and culture is always collaborative and collective.
The divisions between people and our ideas dismantle, depoliticize and co-opt our potential.
My recent projects focus on sustainable practices for creating the commons through love, creative reuse, cultural interchange, psycho-geography, and visual ethnography.
Art doesn’t require genius at all. It requires dedication, curiosity, and comfort in going against the grain of society. What is common is the ability to identify what we don’t understand and to respond by learning and by doing the work to uncover the unknown.
My practice has centered on using the camera as a tool for opening encounters through sharing and listening. Immersion into the rhythm of a place, allows the unique terrains that shape life to come to the forefront. Experimenting between borders and barriers, between public and private, between abandoned, claimed, and reclaimed experiences it is possible to uncover that which obscures paths of illumination. My investigations, praxis, and speculations are continually refined through engagement in research-based practice resulting in multi-disciplinary productions, installations and social space interventions deeply rooted in the characteristics of place, shaped by exchange. Combining elements of documentary film, visual ethnography, scholarship and performance, my aim is to trace a process whereby universal and particular are brought into relation. I hope to create a generative, socially-integrated practice to observe and respond to new geographies emerging from the technological backdrop of the global condition, in ways that are both playful and revealing. By excavating that which is collective, yet immaterial, such as knowledge, skills, ideas and customs, I investigate in order to reveal the Intangible Commons.
My walking and taking works combine elements of community engagement, fashion, movement of bodies in space, and experimental video. The content is explored through an interactive process in which initial participants are invited to partake in a simple project: to wander and converse. Encouraged through the presence and listening of the “other”, these urban dérives provide the means to excavate the knowledge, ideas, and emotions embedded in the surroundings. This process of discovery leads to the unintended unexpressed or assumed, often surprising even to the participants, once articulated. The revelations provide a way to break through often invisible barriers to seeing and thinking about place in a different way, making visible connections that are not readily apparent in the daily routine of life. Each time and space has the potential to rouse a connection to globalized trends through unrestricted and open dialogue within the local.
Through workshops and collaborations, I activate different social spheres to encourage cross-cultural and inter-generational exchanges. By mapping ways of navigating, understanding, and projecting aspirations onto the cityscape, I develop multi-disciplinary forms that best embody the distinctive characteristics of a place. The results are an unpredictable combination that brings about a new form expanding on the traditions of the installation, performance, and documentary formats.
Since 2005 I have experimented with video. I have produced community-led, investigative, documentary films and live television shows. The productions were broadcast regularly in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and nationally in the United States on Free Speech TV. I led video projects focused on social, environmental and economic issues in Vietnam, Greece, Italy, England, India, Nepal, Taiwan, and United States.
Recent work shown at Benaki Museum, Athens Greece, TAV and Cross Gallery in Taipei, Taiwan, Art Confluence in Kathmandu, Nepal and Side Gallery in Jaipur India, Skopelos Foundation for the Arts, Skopelos, Greece and Transmediale, Berlin, Germany. Past work has been presented in New York at MoMA, the Armory Show, Anthology Film Archives, and at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics and at Pacific Film Archives, Berkeley CA, Wexner Center, Columbus OH, REDCAT Theater, Los Angeles CA, the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, KW Contemporary Art Center, Berlin, at the Berlin Biennale, La générale en manufacture, Paris, Transmediale, Berlin, Mostra Internaxional Cinema Educatiu, Valencia, Spain and broadcast in New York and nationally on FreeSpeech TV and internationally on TeleSur.