ÅYR (FKA. Airbnb Pavilion) presents ‘Comfort Zone’
Keywords: airbnb, Alessandro Bava, AYE, frieze projects, jeppe ugelvig, London, pavillion
For this year’s Frieze London, the art collective ÅYR (Fabrizio Ballabio, Allesandro Bava, Luis Ortega Govela and Octave Perrault, FKA. AIRBNB Pavilion) physically manifest the neoliberal utopia of the technologically-enhanced ’Smart Home’. In their special commission Comfort Zone, public, corporate and institutional spheres merge with the construction of a six bedroom suite: installed linearly, the rooms effectively produce a real-life mis-en-abyme of eternal pictorial perspective into the abyss of corporatized domesticity.
In Comfort Zone, ÅYR (formerly Airbnb until the company threatened with legal charges) targets the last site of resistance against the advancements of technology under capitalism: the bedroom. Here, data is already being produced and is flowing at accelerated speed via sleep monitoring Apps, Snapchat and other life-enhancing technology – while simultaneously relying on analogue tropes of ‘pleasure’ like scented candles, fluffy duvets and soothing interiors. Comfort Zone counters the idea of the site of the ‘bed’ as a space for heteronormative intimacy – instead, ‘the domestic’ emerges as an illusion within the public and the non-domestic, as a space of public activity and socialization.
Beyond a precise pinning of the rhetoric of commodified domestic bliss, ÅYR negotiate the visible and invisible flows of labor on which the corporate institution Frieze is built. The six suites are available for sublet during the fair, functioning as temporary office spaces for a multitude of entrepreneurial activities. From live broadcasting, spa and Reiki treatments and even a Selena Gomez album listening party (hosted by artist Emily Jones), ÅYR provides micro-spaces for social recreation and commercial ventures in an always already-financially speculated environment. Collectors and art professionals can recollect themselves in much-needed color-coded environments supposed to stimulate optimal relaxation. Of course, the bedrooms also welcome the ultimate form negation of work that is sleep – although such a Utopian conception of labor-autonomy within the corporatized domestic sphere is highly questioned. As it was the creative industries that originally taught the blurring of work and play to the tech companies, it feels fitting that this accelerated equalization of labor comes full circle within the architecture of the Frieze universe.