Beto Shwafaty, view of Foundations of the Design Substance: Cultural Metaphors to Design a New Future, 2010-2014, City Musuem of São Paulo / Oca Ibirapuera, 2014. Photo: Edouard Fraipont.
Departing from Olivetti’s progressive activities after WWII—which were materialized through the design of products, architecture, urban planning and sociocultural services—this project investigates a modern and industrial endeavor through the production of a new installation work that is put at service of a reflection on the company's interdisciplinary philosophies. Informed by both Olivetti's exhibition displays and research on archival material, the installation work will present an investigation of a historical process of multilayered interactions between the fields of art, design, architecture, and technology, as related to corporative social developments. The project aims to speculate productively on the possibilities of engagements between aesthetics, design, economy, and technology with sociocultural practices in the turning of a mechanical era towards a new techno-industrial period. Here, products and architecture were developed not only from an economical perspective but as carriers of scientific, technical, and social progress towards the promotion of a cultural and political agenda of development.
Beto Shwafaty is an artist and researcher based in Brazil. He obtained a master's degree in visual arts and curatorial studies from Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti–NABA (Milano, 2010), and attended Simon Starling's classes at the Staedelschule (Frankfurt am Main, 2011). Shwafaty has been involved with collective, research-based curatorial and spatial practices since early 2000s, and as a result, his own practice explores the converging spheres of critical design, spatial politics, knowledge economy, and visual culture in ways that assume art is a productive system able to stimulate changes and reflections on social behavior and cognition when related to historical, interdisciplinary, and public issues. Shwafaty's work has been exhibited at Eternal Tour (São Paulo, 2012); Mythologies, Cité des Arts (Paris, 2011); the 4th IABR: Urbaninform Section (Rotterdam, 2009); and the 3rd Utrecht Manifest (Utrecht, 2009). He has collaborated with Francesco Jodice in the production of São Paulo City Tellers, a docu-fiction film for the 27th São Paulo Biennial (2006). Recently, Shwafaty published The Life of The Centers (2013), a docu-fictional photo-book that approaches some historical flows of urban development in three regions of São Paulo.