Shawn Maximo (1975, Canada) produces theatrical sets, sculpture, wallpaper, furniture, interactive exhibition design, architectural renderings and stock imagery, which all pose 'what if' scenarios of familiar yet incongruous scenes.

In his series 'Neighboring Interests' he often combines two different normative spatial ideas to create new lifestyle scenarios. Far from only trying to disturb, Maximo’s unexpected juxtapositions attempt to reveal our underlying behavioral assumptions by breaking them down. In works like 'Creeper Comforts' and 'Going Green', the artist composes highly detailed and well-thought-out designs of environments which question our interaction and coexistence with robots. They show futuristic living spaces where physical or algorithmic robots, both visible and invisible, are everywhere. Humans seem to have deserted these places, but signs of their presence can be found very prominently, such as in objects intended for rest and recreation. However, these are not drafts of a dystopian science-fiction future, where robots have taken over the jobs or even existence of humans. Rather, by transporting the viewer into possible scenarios the artist invites us to think about the future in new terms and actively shape it.

Shawn Maximo is also concerned with human environments in general, as can be seen in his work '#3' for the Berlin Biennale 9, 2016. This accessible installation consists of a room with a unisex floor toilet, a shower and a kitchen, while also functioning as an information center for visitors for the 9th Berlin Biennale. In this way the artist creates a comfort station that not only takes care of bodily needs, but of social aspects as well – conflating spaces of private relief and public distribution and participation.

His designed living spaces always have to be considered as a layout for an actual installation such as #3, and therefore are valid suggestions for a future that might not lie all that far ahead.

photo by Isabel Asha Penzlien
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