Electric Red’s user-generated flag for the Venice Biennale challenges collective representation
Challenging the notion of communal and individual representation, New York-based studio Electric Red have developed an interactive flag for, and representative of, the 2021 Venice Biennale, titled CTATYC – from the Russian for ‘status.’ Simultaneously questioning our connections with one another in the digital space, an accompanying website gives everyone the opportunity to influence the final form of the flag by adding – or voting – a coloured block of your choice – with a new line of colour added for each day of its digital existence.
Printed initially after the first two days of voting and again at the end of the Biennale, the flag’s physical form was displayed inside the Russian pavilion, in doing so investigating not only the collaborative and performative nature of our digital interactions but also the constitution and finalisation of objects. “The flag exists in two states,” Electric Red’s co-founder Svyat Vishnyakov tells us, “the first, digital, was easy to produce,” he adds, calling on their friend and colleague Sergey Zakharov to develop the website, “the second state is printed on fabric.”
The website itself calls on the pragmatic and conceptually appropriate Gramatika as the typeface of choice, a modern interpretation of Helvetica from Russian type designer Roman Gornitsky. “It seemed right to us to use the work of a Russian designer in the Russian pavilion,” Vishnyakov explains, utilising the typeface’s dense structure and architectural strength. “The peculiarity of this font is not so much in the form of signs, but in the distances that the author laid between them and the resulting interaction,” he adds.
Crafted in response to the Biennale’s theme that asked ‘How will we live together?’ Vishnyakov tells us they “wanted to make a flag that will change, evolve, unite people and provide anyone with an opportunity to influence the final look of the flag,” concluding, “we love this mechanic of co-creation and mutual influence.”