Ever since 2000, French artist Raphaële Bidault-Waddington has been developing a complex and diversified process that spans immaterial formats of conceptual art to manual and sensual works. The artist emphatically endorses this diversity which she stages using a pseudonymous strategy. Rather than adopting conventional aliases, Bidault-Waddington describes her pseudonyms as art-based research laboratory stemming from acronyms and logos which she draws from corporate aesthetics and language.
Hence LIID ® (Laboratoire d’Ingénierie d’Idées – www.liid.fr) is the laboratory for engineering ideas wherein Bidault-Waddington develops her conceptual research projects – creating diagrams, exploring the notion of aesthetic intelligence as well as pursuing both conceptual and collaborative research on the aesthetic dimensions found in organizations. PIIMS ® (la Petite Industrie de l'Image Sensorielle) meaning the Small Industry of Sensory Image, is the vehicle she uses to focus on urban design as well as information architecture through photographic sampling and composition whereas her laboratory for creating or experimenting with textiles is known as la Raffinerie Poétique ®, meaning the Poetic Refinery.
Parallels can be drawn between the structure of these art laboratories and corporate R&D departments or branches of academic institutions involved in research and innovation. The laboratories revolve around the figure of the artist herself, multifaceted and empowered by the freedom to activate any or all of them depending on her needs, projects or desires. Far from adopting the form of insular entities, interaction between the three laboratories along with various external organizations (cities, universities, companies, etc.) leads them to influence and inspire each other. Bidault-Waddington has thus created an original artistic ecology and economy that reflects her interest in system analysis, cartography, model-making, fictionalization and future planning - be it on a local, urban or global scale.
Semiospace, a neologism that can be freely defined as the combination of mental and material space, is a fitting term to evoke Bidault-Waddington's expanded and multidimensional work in a cross-sectional manner. The artist often operates as a quasi-scientist by delineating an area of research and extracting data, signs and information. Artistic activity therefore functions as would a refinery - to coin the artist's own term – that transforms the various elements into imaginary landscapes. Thought is converted from a solid to a gaseous state, giving it free rein to form associations and amalgams at will, combining accuracy as well as mental plasticity while delighting in abstraction and speculation.
Led by author and curator Sylvain Menétrey, the Corner College conference serves to apply this sublimation process to exploring Bidault-Waddington's various semiospace prototypes while simultaneously experimenting with collective (audience participation inclusive) design and performance enacting this essential concept.