Cover of art project Please don't forget to water the flowers by Hidéo SNES at Creative Cluster Vienna featuring an intriguing arrangement of expanded painting by an Artificial Intelligence.

Please, don’t forget to water the flowers. Xoxo!
2021, exhibition project at art space sssscccchhhhaaaauuuu, at Creative Cluster, Vienna (AT) and at Villa Vida Café as part of Rosa Lila Villa, Vienna (AT).
2021, fashion art project and collection with oversized unisex T-shirts

Please, don’t forget to water the flowers. Xoxo!

During the second Corona-lockdown, Hidéo SNES found the title of the exhibition as a post-it note on the fridge. This particular message may not have anything peculiar about it, yet it inspired Snes to create the exhibition “Please, don’t forget to water the flowers. Xoxo!”. Because it is an exploration of language. And with digital and analogue communication channels and their nature. Especially during the lockdown, language seemed to change. Slow and fragmentary at first, novel particles emerged more and more clearly until they became part of common speech and were suddenly ubiquitous. They were products born of perseverance, loneliness and insecurity.

The products of expanded painting through artificial intelligence populate the back wall with ambiguous subjects and flickering, painterly objects. Like a Rorschach test, they elude detection and classification by the human brain. Yet they represent a primordial soup of ideas, memories and thoughts. While in the foreground various vanitas motifs represent different, subjective processes that are oriented towards the formation of linguistic particles. These are experiences – proto language, so to speak – which are in the process of forming and establishing themselves as ideas. These formally refer to the medium of the showcase. They order and reorganise the showcase and create a visual rhythm that is much more perceptible than tangible.

Flowers and processes

There is also the question of the open-ended processes depicted, whose condition slowly changes over the duration of the exhibition. The seedlings in the face masks constantly need water. Therefore, they would dry out if SNES did not water them with a limited amount of water. Or the flower, which either fades or dries up – whichever comes first. Even the wooden bricks, which are a subtle data visualisation of SNES’ lockdown diary, change their position depending on how the showcases react to the vibration of the building and the environment.

The body, reality, and change.

Not unlike language, the body has also changed during the pandemic. This finds expression in a fashion art collection entitled “Please, don’t forget to water the plants. Xoxo!”. One might think that trousers were the first victims of the pandemic. It was in this context that SNES developed the concept of a plus-size T-shirt collection. As unisex garments, they offer men and women great comfort while not hindering the body and its changes. Because lockdowns in particular have helped many people to go into themselves and explore their own physicality. Suddenly there was no one to present oneself to. There was only the self, which surrendered to its own curves with an increasingly clear view. Suddenly, the social corrective that dictated what the ideal body should look like was missing. Only the screens of the various end devices were able to penetrate the bubble of one’s own four walls.

The photographs of the shirts work in pairs. One shows the models in a staged pose. While the other shows a side of the models that is much more intimate and personal. Firstly, the garments nestle against the models’ bodies and support them in the respective positions and situations. Secondly, the warmth of the chosen background creates a feeling of security and exuberance, which stands in marked contrast to the subjective experience of the lockdowns. “Please, don’t forget to water the flowers! Xoxo.” thus also plays with the question of who or what the flowers actually are.

Flowers need a pot

During the pandemic, the relationship between body and space changed. Therefore, the perception of public spaces was also affected. Crowds of people seem surreal and formerly everyday conversations turn strange and awkward. In other words, the normative regimes that defined body perception have shifted. And this shift is now becoming apparent. For example, the everyday visit to a café took on entirely new features. First, the deprivation of social contact became more than apparent. Second, after the Damocles sword of the pandemic hovered over people’s heads like a disembodied monster, the experience of social contact in (semi-) public places was not without its challenges.

This ambiguity finds expression in the permanent installation of “Please, don’t forget to water the flowers. Xoxo!” finds expression. The colourful subjects of Expanded Painting by Artificial Intelligence make excellent inviting decorative objects, while the nature of the AI-created proto-objects allow for classification only after a closer examination of the images. In summary, the installation in the Villa Vida Café represents the provisional but not final conclusion of the series “PDFTWTFxoxo” and is marked with the AI-ID suffix: xoxo.