Antoine Catala examines everyday communication tools and the ways in which humans use and consume media. He studies the evolution of tools, platforms and devices; the impact they have in changing human habits; and their utilisation in (mis)communication. Language and the banality of the everyday are the centre of Catala’s practice. He searches for the human inside the mess of new gizmos and their fast-changing tricks and wizardries. Inside all of them, he tries to find the underlying image of who we are as humans.
Don’t Worry (2017) and Everything is Okay (2017) are off-white rectangular slabs hung on a wall and connected via a transparent tube to a machine mimicking a ventilator. With the help of the machine, the flat slabs vacuum seal the sentences ‘Don’t worry’ and ‘Everything is okay’, which appear slowly and then disappear as the slabs return to a monochromic flat entity when the vacuum sealer is turned off and the air returns. These two works bring reassuring messages to spectators who perhaps feel themselves teetering on the brink of a major disaster.
Catala’s two other works in Art in the Age of Anxiety, (::( )::) (2014) and (:-( (2020), are sculptural pieces of creatures with crawling chariots that can be read as (::( )::) [bandaid] and (:-( [frown]. These creatures are part words, but not really, because emoticons do not really spell anything clear; part drawing, but not really, because they are created from punctuation marks; and objects, but not really, because they crawl on the floor. In these works, Catala examines the intersection of word, image and object, which is, at the same time, none of these.