Jean-Francois Prost

Jean-Francois Prost, Acronymia (Installation view), 2006

Jean-Francois Prost, Acronymia (Installation view), 2006

Jean-Francois Prost’s work – which combines architecture, performance and installations – focuses on questions of how we use and relate to public space

It can be no accident that so many consumer brands rely on acronyms. After all, one of the earliest acronyms still in use occurs in the context of a religious cult. Scholars have yet to agree on what precisely the letters IHS stand for, but no one doubts that they encapsulate in shorthand the entire Christian message. Precisely because it speaks only to the initiated, an acronym has the power to transform a collection of products or services into a way of life.

In his piece for International 06 entitled Acronymia, Prost saw to engage us in a debate about the use/under-use of public space. Appropriating the language of the vibrant consumer landscape, Prost’s ‘acronym laboratory’ disseminated a series of acronyms on surfaces across the city. Becoming progressively more visible over the course of several weeks, the acronyms initially appeared unexplained. Slowly the blanks were filled in, through products, discussion and documentation on a website.

The process of initiation on which Acronymia relied is as important as the issues it aimed to raise. In his attempt to stimulate discussion, Prost intended not just to prompt us to reflect on the nature and value of public space, but also to test the mechanisms for public debate.

Jean-Francois Prost at LiverpooL Biennial 2006

Acronymia, 2006
Acronym Factory
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial 2006

Supported by

Northwest Regional Development Agency 
The National Lottery through Arts Council England 
Canada House Arts Trust
Québec Government Office, London
Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec 
Albert Dock Company Ltd