Universes in Universe

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Nicolas Grenier
* 1982 Montreal, Canada. Lives there and in Los Angeles, USA.

Vertically Integrated Socialism
Location: Grootseminarie
[Major Seminary]
Potterierei 72
20 May - 18 October 2015

The Canadian artist Nicolas Grenier discovered architecture while painting. As well as the social structures it represents. He was struck, especially in the US, by the extent to whlch cities embody social contradictions.

Thus he designed his own Vertically Integrated Socialism. A physical, literally layered, representation of a social structure. In paintings, architectural installations, drawings, digital images and psychedelic renderings, diagrams and colour fields.

For the triennial he applies this concept to a large work in the stunning, unused church of the Grootseminarie (Major Seminary), in an experimental housing concept that integrates the social pyramid in a single building.

Grenier installs a life-size studio, a model of the entire construction, inside the church building. A video introduces the visitor to the way the social integration model works. A kind of micro-city?

Yes, but predominantly a socio-financial system too because at the bottom you find residential units for people on income support. Their rent is paid by the wages of the working class that live above them in modest apartments. The middle class that lives higher still pays for their working neighbours on the level below them. And so on. Each neighbour on the level above contributes to their neighbours living on the level below them. The upper middle class for the middle class and lastly a single, extremely rich individual at the top pays for the resident just below him.

A video illustrates how the free market steers the social processes in this micro-society. And so this Vertically Integrated Socialism demonstrates how the contemporary metropolis focuses and organises economic, political and social inequality and poses the question of how residents do or do not participate and can therefore opt for stability or revolution.

(© Text: Walking Guide, Bruges Triennial 2015)


Projects by 14 participants, mainly in the public space at the city center of Bruges. Part of the Triennale Brugge 2015, 20 May - 18 October 2015.

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