Artist in Residence: Florian Rivière

Florian Rivière is always on the move: playing, discovering, inventing, turning the world — and the things that fill it — upside down (often literally). In Big Car’s 72 days with him as a TEDxIndianapolis artist in residence, Florian helped shape our perspective, helped further our vision for an art that is for the people and by the people, an art that is outside of the shackles of commodity and the traps of marketing. By spending time with Florian, by talking with him about his philosophy and practicing it with him, we were able to join the hundreds of people he encountered on the streets of Indianapolis and the stage of Hilbert Circle Theatre in discovering just how much is possible if you pay attention.

Florian and Big Car began corresponding in May of 2012 after Executive Director Jim Walker saw an online article on Florian’s mini parking lot tennis and soccer courts. We thought he’d be a great fit for our work in the sprawling Lafayette Square area. In the meantime, the 2103 TEDxIndianapolis conference theme happened to be Mix it Up – so naturally we invited him as a speaker. He said sure, but why not make it a three-month visit? Thanks to the vision of Jeremy Efroymson and the support of the Efroymson Family Fund, a fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation, we were able to bring him here for an extended stay. This was Florian’s first time working in the United States. So that was part of the draw of coming here. And, as a member of an artist collective in the past, he saw Big Car’s approach of taking art to people with the goal of improving communities as a great fit for him.

What How and Where

As part of his residency, Big Car and Florian collaborated to create a game called What How and Where, which exists as a website and also physically as a deck of cards, which were handed out to all attendees of TEDxIndianapolis 2013. Three cards, drawn at random from three separate stacks, are then considered together to form an instruction:


Drift Dice

Florian and Big Car also collaborated to produce a random activity generation game, in the form of a pair of 6-sided dice. Under his guidance, we produced a series of stamps with instructions like “DANCE” and “LISTEN,” and also stamps with compass arrows and an anchor. People were encouraged to make their own: stamping one wooden cube with compass directions, and one with text commands. The instructions were simple: roll the compass dice and follow the arrow; then roll the commands dice and follow the prompt.

More on Florian Rivière

  • Here is a photobook we produced about Florian’s residency
  • Here is Florian Rivière and Jim walker on The Art Assignment:

  • Here is Florian Rivière’s TEDxIndianapolis talk:

In his own words: Florian Rivière is a French urban hacker. Since 2007, he has explored urban experimentations through different initiatives in cities around the world. By his experiences, he opens perceptions and connects spaces, objects, and actions to create new interactions with his urban living environment. His many impromptu interventions have the particularity to be spontaneous, fun, resilient, reversible and raw —exclusively made by accessible resources that surround him. As a lifestyle philosophy, he uses his 3D motto Drift, Divert, DIY that allows him to meet the unexpected, see the invisible, and achieve autonomy. Much like a child free of “one way” conditioning vision, he looks at the world as modeling clay we can transform by our hands and our intuition without any specialized tools, concepts or other intermediaries. Play, furnishings, maps, instructions, poetry … all of these tactics can reconnect us to the free and infinite possibilities of our immediate reality.