Interview with Hans Dorsinville, the visionary behind S-12 and Chief Creative Officer, North America of Select World.
all images courtesy of S-12
Between installations at S-12, we had a moment to speak about one of New York’s most interesting spaces with the creative force behind it.
What is the name of your space?
S 12 Studios. I wanted to keep it very simple and very direct. S is for Select, this creative agency. 12 is because we are on the 12thfloor. I always come to the conclusion that I am a very straight forward person, so I needed a straight forward name. For the logo, I needed just the S, the 12 and a space in between to connote the idea of a space. Then there is a square that contains the typography to create a complete logo. It’s a blank space to be filled.
What is your role at S-12?
I’d say that I am the protector of the vision behind the space. A space that is a catalyst of culture now. We constantly evolve to bring in who feels right at a certain moment.
The original intent was for S 12 to simply be a gallery space. This made sense to me because art is something that I love, live with, am inspired by and enjoy sharing. Then I needed more versatility and then what felt right was art, installations, experiences and the idea of a space for talks and conversations. It was always intended to inspire people. Now the concept will evolve even more with the idea of pop up spaces where we will collaborate with brands to add yet another dimension.
I am personally interested in sound and movement when it relates to art. If this space was a mixtape, what song would have to be on it?
It would be everything. There would be something classical, like Beethoven, disco, some kind of soul music for sure. I am actually thinking of the soundtracks that have been there. At one time, we had a Haitian artist, Jean Ulrlick Desert, and we played Haitian music.
For the last artist, Christiane Spangsberg, we had a classical violinist playing.
I can also see Brazilian music. For the spirit.
Now that I think of it, I would not exclude any type of music. It’s about a soul that inhibits a space. The space transforms through light and sound and the atmosphere these create is the experience you remember.
Does scent play a role?
Funny enough we have not explored that yet, but it will come. One of the original ideas was to do a story of the history of scent in America. The scent of this country has changed, and I’m not talking about the evolution of the fragrance world.
Exactly. At one time 10thavenue would smell like horse manure.
Yes, we wanted to explore the olfactive history. That’s yet to come.
Do you have curatorial role with S-12 Gallery?
Yes. There are three different ways that we work. There is Amanda L. Uribe and Natalie Kates, of Latchkey Gallery, who present a roster of artists and we choose who is right for the moment. This has to do with what is happening culturally, and where that artist is in their particular journey. There is a programming aspect that Latchkey brings to the table like the talk on the black experience during the Damien Davis show.
Sometimes I bring in an artist through my own discovery and Latchkey helps organize that.
Lastly, we also bring in products for a curated launch like we did for Violette Serrat’s Estee Lauder Poppy savage line of makeup.
As Select is an agency about beauty and how beauty can change the world, we are always in search of bringing all forms of beauty to people in different ways. My job is to give a variety of expressions to beauty.
Do you have role in shaping the work?
Sometimes I work with the artists to see what makes the most sense for the space.
Other times, I can suggest parts of the space to be used in different ways. I had Christiane doing a single line drawing on each pane of glass in a specific area of the space that we call the glass box. The audience was outside watching in. Very similar to those films of Pollock and Picasso.
I want people to have the experience of performance.
Do you do studio visits?
Yes. I like studio visits. There is a great open studio tour in Gowanus in Brooklyn. Connecting the dots between the art and person. I collect art and go to art fairs. When this opportunity came up I loved the idea of getting to know the motivation of artists. It’s not just reactive it can be collaborative.
For example, there are moments when I am inspired by artists because creating art is about having a unique and strong point of view. Art can also overlap with advertising because that unique point of view can help communicate a message.
At times, I feel like my inner artist could emerge when I am rubbing shoulders with them.
Now you are in an interesting stage. You are transforming from the fan and consumer of the art to being a part of the process. This is an interesting evolution.
It’s a part of my journey without having setting out to do this. I was compelled to fill an empty space with soul.
Well, why not just make more office space? More cubicles.
I needed ½ of my space to be creative. I need art to surround me. I even brought in my own art in the office. One is Isaac Laymen “The Dryer”. It’s an ordinary made beautiful. That’s what we are about here at Select. Seeing the beauty in everything.
Do you see that this is what you are doing as well? You are creating the ordinary into something beautiful.
You could say that but I can’t take full credit. Herwig, The CEO of Select world always believed that beauty could change the world. He supports bringing more beauty into the world. Nathalie and Amanda have they same philosophy.
We wanted to make our approach to art into something that can be reactive. A space that can trigger conversation, outreach, altruism, a sense of community – beauty.