Hidden within Berlin’s dark eccentric bowels is a culture of surprising artistic revelation. Surprises that could change the future of visual arts as we know it, the way they are imagined, perceived and consumed.
Indieberlin met with the groundbreaking visual artist Yaron Maïm, the creator of ENBYX: an augmented book they imagined, transformed through, digested, and survived for.
ENBYX is a game changing interactive multimedia project that plays with binaries, capitalism, and gender identity. Yaron Maïm created a piece that wants to challenge us; it’s an oath to being true to oneself, the artistic strength you acquire from listening to your inner truth and spreading awareness through your work.
Yaron Maïm is a visual artist transforming the usual order of things, that goes beyond the binary of analog/digital, male/female and failure/success. Their practice invites us to view the body through a new lense, with a strong focus on image production and personal narrative. They completed an MA with a distinction in Solo/Dance/Authorship (Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz, Universität der Künste Berlin, 2018) and an MA in Visual Arts/ Critical curatorial Cybermedia (University of Art & Design, Geneva, 2012).
In their own words, the artist shares with indieberlin their path to realizing ENBYX, its creative process, and shares more impressive details on the work itself. Read about how Yaron’s personal journey influenced the powerful energy shining through their craft.
Becoming Yaron Maïm
Based in Berlin for the past four years, I lived the first part of my life in France and Switzerland with a different name and gender. I wanted to escape the French-speaking context of my native language, which excludes me on an everyday-basis. I had no fuel left to function. I now use “they”; the English language is easier to bend. It doesn’t change the world — institutions need to be dismantled — but it gives me more virtual space to breathe. In 2018, I officially took a new name to affirm and make public a radical change in my personal trajectory and as a non-binary person.
While I focus on the processes of marginalization, I experiment with moving away from representation because I want to bend the restrictions of an identity-driven practice. I use multiple techniques such as layering, editing, trans-lating and self-publishing to create a multimedia experience including but not limited to: Augmented Reality, video, drawing, book making, performance. I use these visual techniques and my own body to question if art can exist autonomously from the market by not reproducing or being enmeshed in the very structures it critiques.
The origin of ENBYX and its unique depth
ENBYX – TOTAL WASTE (Berlin, 2019) is an augmented reality publication exploring DoIt-Yourself identity and a new pop-culture free of gender restrictions. ENBYX refers to “enby”, which stands for “NB”, short for Non-Binary. ENBYX playfully addresses the paradox of being a gender non-conforming artist in a capitalist society: a simultaneous invisibility or non-existence, and a hypervisibility that is too much for this world. The multilayered work is enhanced by short videos that the user can view with a smartphone. It combines themes to trigger imagination and queer narratives. The speculative fiction presents DIY fashion items, drawings, personal photos, performance documents and a poetic text about sewing as a practice of resistance.
ENBYX is a failure. It is an experiment about (self-)sustainability. During the art making process, I decided to create and sell “sexy” ecological products. I failed. First, I couldn’t cover my costs. Second, tracking the origins of the material and sticking to an ethical approach burned all my personal resources. I engaged into a multi-level analysis: I shifted from art to fashion, I learned about the notion of cultural appropriation by refusing to keep on designing a “kimono”, I sold in local art markets while wearing drag make-up and explicitly talking about political issues, I negotiated the production costs with independent printers and augmented reality developers, I wrote a blockchain blog to participate in a decentralized cooperative art market place, I thought day and night about how to “UndoIt-With-Others”, I carried in my chariot heavy boxes full of books, prints and t-shirts. A total waste!
Living and working as a gender non-conforming artist in a capitalist society is impossible. Failing is the only way if I want to become autonomous. While I am dazzled by the ones who succeed, my production, and myself as an author, are tokenized. The celebration of few successful artists perpetuates the myth of the genius, i.e an individual with competitive advantage. The desire of success and social recognition drove me to compete with highly creative strategies. I put all of my efforts in creating strong images that attracted the audience. ENBYX is a TOTAL WASTE.
ENBYX – TOTAL WASTE, Yaron Maïm, Berlin, 2019. Presented in Miss Read Berlin, Stademonia Tattoo Stockholm, Queer Xmas Market, Butch Cut, Studio 183, amongst others. Limited edition of 55 copies, 200x265mm, 32 pages, risograph printed on 100% recycled paper, 4 colors cover (aqua, fluo yellow, raspberry, black) on 290g paper, 2 colors body (raspberry, black) on 115g paper, numbered & stamped. Concept, performance & fashion: Yaron Maïm / Video: Ayshe Kizilçay, Elene Naveriani, Yaron Maïm / Photo: Neige Sanchez / Sound: Fu, Clovis, kAZ / Editor: Aren Oakland / Risograph Printing: Drucken3000 / Augmented Reality: Artivive
ENBYX, unpublished drawings (work-in-progress), 60x85cm, colored pencils & transfer technique, Yaron Maïm, Berlin, 2020.