Robin Meiers Installation "Synchronicity" under the new Audemars Piguet Art Commission at Art Basel 2015. Photos © Robin Meier
Robin Meier developed the project that culminated in this environment (which was presented for the first time in June of this year during Art Basel) as part of the new Audemars Piguet Art Commission and in cooperation with renowned curator Marc-Olivier Wahler. This type of funding for art projects is new in the sense that the Swiss watchmaker is not simply financing the production of artworks, but actually supporting and supervising the complex process from which the final work emerges. A key focus here, as in the development of high-quality watches, is on forging links with scientists and experts in various disciplines, and making these productive for the relevant project. “By fostering cooperation with a broad variety of different international experts and scientists,” Meier explains, “the Commission is offering my artistic approach a platform and promoting dialogue between the different disciplines. Our shared aim is to explain the foundations of spontaneous organization and collective intelligence in nature.” Presented annually, the “Art Commission” will in future be on display to visitors at the various international locations of Art Basel: in 2016 in Hong Kong, in 2017 in Miami Beach and in 2018 back in Basel.
In the case of Meier’s “Synchronicity”, it was the Swiss Papilioram Foundation, which seeks to protect the rainforests and biodiversity, that took charge of the Art Commission together with Meier. Also involved in the project were artist Andre Gwerder, zoologist Manfred Hartbauer, who studies Malaysian bush crickets at the University of Graz, and other highly specialized experts in the fields of genetic engineering, computer science, bioacoustics and the cognitive sciences. The Audemars Piguet Art Commission, Meier says, has enabled him to approach the phenomenon of synchronicity from two intellectual viewpoints: “the explicit, or measurable, and the implicit, or subjective.”
In all his aural pieces and installations, Robin Meier focuses primarily on forms of self-organization and a collective intelligence developing from natural or artistic sources. In doing so he examines how order emerges from chaos. Marc-Olivier Wahler, who proposed Meier for the project, was also inspired by this approach to the issue of time: “Time”, he explains in an interview, “could be considered the fundamental material of any artist”. Meier’s artwork embodies “complexity, time and creative virtuosity”. Synchronicity, as anyone entering this microcosm of existence will notice quickly, must be understood quite literally as a state or condition in which living beings harmonize with one another in whatever they are doing. Acting in unison rather than against each other – nature shows us how it’s done. Human beings still need a little practice.