Wednesday, December 7, 2011

THOMAS HIRSCHHORN. THE BODY OF RESISTANCE



The Map Of Friendship between Art and Philosophy. Hirschhorn and Steinweg

In 2007 Thomas Hirschhorn and Marcus Steinweg worked together designing The Map of friendship between art and philosophy.
Written words and images are linked together, developing a network of practical engagement with the outside world.
Hirschhorn’s love for philosophy is not new. The Swiss artist has always declared his passion for a subject that he doesn’t really see statically in its theoretical statements, but in its material evolving commitment with a society continuously open to changes.
This materialist approach brought the artist to use for his works mostly commodities. Each one reflects the object life’s time in the everyday world. We soon realize how the commodity is everything but timeless. Its value belongs to its usability, once the object loses its function it’s not useful anymore from a capitalistic logic point of view.
Obviously Hirschhorn acts in a provocative way, he loves to stimulate his viewer’s opinion and to give him the tools -firstly cognitive ones- to change the reality he lives in. Well, like Marx suggested, let’s stop wasting our time in trying to interpret the world, and start to change it.
His art is ob-scene, in the sense it shows everything.
Also what the bourgeois sense of shame has previously castrated, left out from the representation of the truth.
Hirschhorn is interested in what is kept outside the mise en scene and he hyperbolically demonstrates the catastrophic power of the ruins, the rest of what was an object valid exclusively for its use.
Towers of broken televisions scotched altogether, gossip magazines not interesting anymore because celebrities already run out of their 5 minutes of fame, heaps of mobile phones that probably people don’t fancy anymore due to their being outdated. These ruins create a melancholic scenario, but at the end their solitude is too loud for sadness to powerfully embrace all scene and it’s hard to avoid a sarcastic smile.
Cristal of resistence. T. Hirschhorn

The reflection on Hirschhorn’s art comes from this morning workshop at Edinburgh College of Art. My colleague Lewis den Hertog made me think about it.
If it’s true that art is always a political issue, the Swiss artist is the perfect exemplification of it.
Let’s go back to the Map.
I love the title, I love all Hirschhorn titles.
I do believe there must be a deep connection with the words of the title and the artwork’s body. They should interact in order to make more visible the materiality of the parole, the concreteness of a language too often taken for granted.
This title embodies the idea of friendship, meant as a relation that is obviously supported by a sort of magical empathy, but also derived from a conscious decision of mutual engagement.
All the words written down are easily mistaken at the first glimpse for abstract concepts.
However, they are not.
As well as we should remember every day how fallible is the idea of immaterial labour, we should keep in mind that some words are defined as abstract just as a matter of cataloguing. It’s the materiality of the empirical level that we need to manipulate in order to change the reality.
Hope is then the will of making dreams become true, Courage is the assumption of our own responsibility in everyday choices, Resistance is to sacrifice our self in the very etymologic term of the word. To sacrifice means to make something sacred, in my act of resisting I’m taking some actions not just for my self but also in a much wider prospective of interests.
Thomas Hirschhorn was the only artist representing Switzerland at this year Venice Biennale.
His familiarity with the mainstream art spontaneously raises questions on the factual sincerity of his assault toward capitalist economy.
Nevertheless the aesthetic and the concrete meaning of his art are great critical tools. His creative perspective of reality does help the viewer in not taking for granted what’s going on and in attempting to constantly manipulate the reality.
As the artist says, “This is something essential to art: reception is never its goal. What counts for me is that my work provides material to reflect upon. Reflection is an activity."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A CREATIVE SOLUTION OF CONTINUITY OR ANOTHER PASTICHE OF STYLES?


I’m wondering if Jacques Derrida had ever met The Devo.
Part of London exhibition Post Modernism Style and Subversion is dedicated to 80s music, a profoundly symbolical field for that age, where everything seemed to be dominated by an ironic melancholic and without direction pastiche of styles.
Devo is an American band from Ohio, they formed in 1973 and every now and then they still appear on shows or television.
Their genre has always been a mixed one, in between pop, punk and industrial sounds. Synthetic instrumentations are a constant feature of most of their famous songs (Mongoloid or Whip it for example). They do represent what a multi media artist should be, whose approach has to be skilful and always ready to adapt itself to new experiments.
The name Devo is the abbreviation for Devolution. At that time the term Post Modernism was nearly there to be coined by Lyotard, when in 1979 he published his famous prophetical book, which absolutely created a new perception of reality.
As soon as people started to talk about Post Modernism, all the past categories of knowledge through which man have always liked to describe their world, collapsed in melancholic and majestic ruins.
However, the past was still there, influencing the present in a drastic but ironic and sneaky way.
The idea of devolution comes out from questioning our selves about having ever been modern. It’s a playful position in which the progress is not seen anymore as an excellent quality we achieved, but quite the contrary, as a disgraceful veneration of false idols.
It’s better to stop this evolution toward something that it’s not even very clear in its essence. The tragic behaviour of believing in the rational linearity of our own thoughts is extremely laughable and very often music is a lucky mimesis of this.
The Devo have always performed a meaningful pastiche of paradoxes. Irony and desolation, brightness and dark sides voluntary shown off, industry and nature are just some of the dichotomous couples that keep the audience always receptive to their provocations.
Devolution brings us to Deconstruction. The terms do share a very similar attitude toward reality and its phenomena.
The latter refers to the famous and influencing school of thoughts, which has its roots in France during the late Sixes.
Jacques Derrida is doubtless one of its founders for the originality and depth of his thinking.

Derrida major and initial prospective was a linguistic one. He has been always and essentially interested in writing and reading, probably being conditioned by the linguistic turn that dominated philosophy since Wittgenstein became its conditio sine qua non.
Deconstruction doesn’t mean destroying everything mindless of any distinction.
The first punk wave was already gone and people turned themselves against the extreme negation of the future in favour of a mere prospective of pure chaos.
De-construction implies maintaining the past we are sited on, as a matter of fact we can deny it.
But our duty is to re-create it, to revisit its ruins and, why not, make jokes on them.
The essence of punk was a complete overcrossing of values, the first and original punk went beyond the good and bad, while, in the 80s people started to feel again the need of analysis and critic, although keeping a careful distance from the absolute theoretical approach of the late 60s early 70s.
Devo’s same paradoxical attitude characterizes also The Fall, an English band formed in Manchester in 1976, mainly gravitating on the singer leader’s figure Mark E. Smith.

Smith is an eccentric master of oxymoron. His drunk lyrics are the perfect expression for a mindful cynical social realism. Smith is a poet of our contemporary time, he knows very well how to pull society’s leg and he does this deftly using a subtle equilibrium between hysterical surrealism and very pragmatic sense of reality.
What Smith borrows from the past is a clear declaration of historical continuity. Ancient ruins are examples of our human intrinsic stupidity.
He takes the piss of government in order to make people aware of the constant risk of a ridicule and dangerous self-repetition.
The continuity between time and space is once again witnessed by the name of the band. The Fall was in fact Camus last book. In 1956 the French literate and thinker wrote a series of philosophical monologues. They are the description of the life of a French man who tells his story at the presence of a stranger. It’s impressive how the unknown, far away from being perturbing, has become a comforting place of familiarity.
I guess the exhibition on Post Modernism reminded me above all the subversive power of a laugh.
Probably it’s time for a new revolution but so far we haven’t taken enough distance from our past in order to give things a very different status.
This is Post Modernism. 
But I was told it’s already finished.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

WEAK MEMORIES AND MISUNDERSTANDINGS. I'VE NEVER ACTED WANTONLY, I PROMISE.


June 2001.
Yes, I’m sure it was June, it was the end of the school’s year and we were all panicking, since in less than one month we will have had to face the final high school exam. Nervous adolescent voices were echoing in the classroom, all of us were there, it was the last art history’s test and not even the most tragic excuse in the world would have been enough not to attend it.
The teacher was smiling at us, she perfectly knew we were anxious and she was devilishly walking from one side of the room to the another, keeping in her hands the papers containing our test, as they were unique example of precious declarations.
A stunning view of my high school
She was very proud of her self, announcing she have personalized each painting’s analysis (this was what the exam was about) referring to her knowledge of us. It had been five years we knew each other and she was sure to have grasped our interests and passions, digging in the very deep of us. We were supposed to describe and critique one piece of art we had discussed in class during the year. She looked very satisfied about her job and she started to distribute the papers.
Just to let you know, the professor was a good one, very prepared and demanding, but at the same time always there for a laud laugh.
With my maximum astonishment, the equivalent of my self in the art world was, from my teacher’s point of view, the Death of Sardanapalus.
Well guys, I don’t know if you have in mind the painting.
It’s an orgy, of violence more than anything else, but still. (with all respect for Delacroix’s genius).
We had just half an hour to analyze the piece of art and I remember that I fought against my self very hardly in order not to explode in a big laugh that would have probably lasted the exam long.
Maybe for this eccentric situation, but The Death of Sardanapalus will always be among my favourite paintings of all times.
Death of Sardanapalus. Delacroix

Delacroix exposed it in 1827 in Paris, where is still at Louvre Museum. (how admirable is France’s skill of keeping its art’s piece in their locus of origin and how miserable is the Italian one of loosing pieces of art and history on the way, letting somebody else collecting them all around the world. Anyway…).
The French artist was inspired by Byron’s play Sardanapalus. Considering the derivation too, it’s easy to note the extreme romanticism of the canvas.
The colours are dense and full-bodied, gold and Bordeaux match perfectly with the jewellery and swordsman. While purple and the warm pink of naked bodies express an excess of richness that will be soon eliminated by a general massacre.
The story is about the last Assyrian king who, realizing his end would have been very close since rebellions were all around his reign, decided to die with all his goods. Taking in consideration the lexicon of that time, he intended to kill all his wife and servants, who were his goods, his possessions.
Delacroix created a masterpiece of turbulence and astonishing chaos. The canvas is an orgy of bodies, most all the time contracted in extreme tension.
For this marvellous composition the painter chose to use a particular technique, known nowadays as vignette. It consists in softening shapes and colours at the edges of the drawing, in order to make the viewer more concentrated on what is going on in the very middle.
Here the vignette was used for the top and for the left side, that’s to accentuate the two scenes both of the centre and the right part.
It’s so easy for the viewer to feel the impotence of the woman who is caught by the men’s violence and not capable of free her self. And as well, the eyes of the beholder can’t help but going to Sardanapalus’s extremely romantic calmness, the stereotypic one of the tantalized man who wisely decided to put an end to his miserable life.
I’m wondering about the stoical attitude shown by a king who is about to give all his possessions and life up.
I remember when I was a teenager I used to be amazed by the romantic myth of sufferance and existential destruction.
It doesn’t have a huge power on my self anymore. Right now I prefer to look at the world through categories such as action and engaged dynamism. Nevertheless, I bet each of us has passed through the glamorous beauty of solitude, where decisions were possible only because taken in our lonely teenager days.
I love this painting, it tells me about how all the luxury can suddenly vanish into nothingness. It describes how the world equilibrium is extremely precarious. One day you are a king, the next one you have nothing.
Delacroix’s choice does belong to the trend of that moment, for which artists were showing their knowledge in term of exoticism. It would have been too daring to choose a national reference but still, the “other” exotic very far was a significant symbolic representation for the national (not too long to come) next chaos. Just a matter of time and  another revolution will have been there. These rebel actions, which were trying to break the power, could be seen as an anticipation of the future that will have changed the world’s stability.
I never thought about analyzing the painting in this way, maybe my art teacher did and I couldn’t see her point. I was trying to find a plausible explanation for her seeing me involved in an orgy…..
I have never acted wantonly....well, from what I remember.





Friday, November 18, 2011

ROBERSPIERRE






I thought it deserved a translation.
Here’s my attempt.
Roberspierre by the Italian band Offlaga Disco Pax.



I have taken my second year school’s exam in 1975.
Socialism was like the universe, in expansion.
The teacher asked me about Maximilian Roberspierre.
I answered that Jacobins were right and, Terror or not, French revolution had been something good.
The teacher didn’t find necessary to ask me any other question.
But we have a lot of memories also of that little antique world Fogazzaro: Space Invaders three hundred point’s spaceship- Enrico Berlinguer on the telly- Alberto Juantorena Olympic victories in the name of Cuban Revolution- Sandinists on power in Nicaragua- the catechist who used to vote for Pannella-pitch’s friends who directly passed from Marlboro to heroin, cheers to soft drugs!- the porno vampire Zora’s comics and the Prinz without return- the referendum on divorce and we weren’t understanding why, if No had won the divorce would have happened, while if Yes had triumphed the divorce wouldn’t have been accepted.
Anna Oxa at Sanremo dressed up as a London punk- the Van Halen-the first wank-the lady next door, a transgender known to most people as Lola, that my mum used to call Antonio, with our maximum astonishment- Jarmila Kratochivilova. The Toblerone, does anybody know why?- something written by Reggiana’s hooligans after the areal American raid on Tripoli in the eighties. It said: “thank you Regan, bomb Parma for us- and then our wonderful toponymy
Karl Marx street, Ho Chi Minh, Che Guevara and Dolores Ibarruri street, Stalingrado, marshal Tito street and Lenin square in Cavriago.
And the big bank, not local anymore, based in October Revolution street
And then my neighbourhood, where the Communist party used to take the 74% and the Christian Democracy- the Catholic Party- the 6%.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I SEND YOU A POSTCARD FROM THE WEB AND YOU CAN KEEP IT IN YOUR DRAWER


A chest is a familiar object, it talks about your house.
A chest is your chest. Its drawers can be messy with a lot of things scattered in them or they can be extremely organized. A drawer is in fact the order and structure of somebody’s personality or reflects the extreme chaos of it.
A chest is just a piece of furniture. It can be found on the street, thrown away by its previous possessor. 
A chest is replaceable, you will always find a new one.
A chest is a sentimental object, it symbolizes your family’s history or your relationship with someone.
A chest is just another thing you are scared to get rid of.
A chest is fashion and design, you can contemplate it in order to find an aesthetic pleasure.
A chest is just a chest when it fits horribly with the rest of the room.
But can actually a chest contain the virtual world?
Yes, it can when it comes to Patricia Martín-Sánchez work.  
She participated to the “Siesta Pinwheel” project that took place last Wednesday at CO2 (Edinburgh College of Art). Like the other artists, she had a drawer’s space where to locate her work.
She chose for a "postcard" from the web and decided to title it About 6,700 results for "Siesta pinwheel", 4/11/11, Edinburgh UK.


The print is the Google research's aftermath. She went on internet, typed “Siesta pinwheel” and obtained 983 images out of 6700 results.
They were downloaded, organized in a grid, printed on a A0 size paper and located in one of the chest’s drawer.
The title is the perfect explanation of how she decided to act. It’s very precise in expressing the exact time and location of the performance. In so doing, we know the contingent moment in which she was on line and did her research.
This project would have turned out different if done on another time, probably the pictures wouldn’t have been the same. The here and now makes it possible, tomorrow it might not be like this.
One of the images shows us a woman taking a nap, another one the costellation Pinwheel. They are linked to each other apparentely just by the title of the Google searching.
Analyzing them from a rational prospective, the viewer has got the feeling to have missed something. The association between the pictures can be even perturbing, in terms of unfamiliarity.
As Patricia states “metaphorically, the piece can be thought of as a jungian drawer for Siesta Pinwheel's collective on-line-unconscious”.
In Jungian words, a collective unconscious is not a personal acquisition but it deals with something we inherited from our history and it’s essentially related to the concept of archetypes. Faithful with their etymology, they stand for pre-definite forms present in our psyche since the beginning. They are obviously not neutral because the do affect our decisions and behaviour, in a not always visible way though.
It’s very clear to me how the artist is playing with what Bruno Latour (and more in general people with a psychoanalytical background) defines as repressed. Unfortunately the point is not so linear and what is repressed “returns and with a vengeange”. For this installation, Patricia has worked with an oxymoron, something very strong and fragile at the same time, like the collective unconscious could be. She digs deep into our psyche to find out what was lost and she kind of suggests us to keep together things and images (of mind as well) that apparently don’t have a linear and superficial common sense. The artist does this through the simple gesture of sticking pictures all together in a grid.
The grid is often a representative symbol for something that has to be compact due to its erratic and unpredictable nature. I think about Rosalind Krauss book for example (The originality of the avant garde) where the author uses a grid in order to describe something changeable and in progress like the avant garde.
Patricia installation implies a very unusual process of familiarization with images and things and I believe it is perfectly linked with the overall project of Siesta Pinwheel.
Here the chest becomes an objet trouvé, de-contextualized from its usual position and offered to the viewer with a new functionality.
I like to think about Patricia's installation as a postcard which reflects the idea of a journey you have done and you like to remember, collecting pieces of it that otherwise could get lost somewhere in your mind.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

DAVID GOLDBLATT. JOHANNESBURG AS A WINDOW ON THE REST OF THE WORLD




I do see a connection with the idea of humanity I was talking about in the other post and the artwork of David Goldblatt, a photographer from South Africa who has exhibited at the Biennale this year. His works are located at the Illumination Pavillon, a sort of para-pavillon, the only one at the Giardini where the artists are not selected by their nationalities. Goldblatt was born in 1930 in Johannesburg and since the beginning of his activity he has been focused on how the man kind is connected with its territory. He is interested in how people are related to the environment they live in. Especially he worked on the themes of apartheid and AIDS which affects people in their everyday life.
For this Biennale’s edition he has exposed a series of photos located in two rooms in front of each other, both parts of a successful star-shape architecture. They are portraits of people who committed a crime, from a kind of “harmless” rubbery to an extremely violent murder. Each photo is linked to a text where the artist explains who is the man or woman in the picture and what he or she did in the past. For example, one of them is a woman who strangled her son after years of being robbed by him, probably due to his drug’s addiction. (The presence of both, the photo and the text, brings up once again the question of the status of photography: why do we need words to better explain what a photo is trying to say?)


The majority of the images talks about man who killed somebody or, at its “best”case, robbed a place to find the money necessary to buy some drugs.
What I find very interesting is the fact that David Goldblatt was a victim of crime himself.  Through this artwork he exposes himself as well as his viewer not only to the risk of remembering something unpleasant, but also to a situation of shared connection where the murder and the victim stand next to each other. It’s like he gives people who were “wrong” in the past a new chance and through this he doesn’t seem scared of being at their same level but actually pleased to cohabit the same piece of world.
His artwork stimulates a new prospective, while the one that sees the distinction between “the good” and “the bad” represents an obsolete idea.
The photos show a documentary’s style but at the same time they express a peculiar lyric character: all in black and white, as Goldblatt says because they represent a reality too difficult to be shown by colours, a reality where details are so countless that it’s better to decide for a two colours choice, instead of helplessly looking for the perfect mimesis.
In the photos these ex-convicted people stand where they committed the crime: they are all back where they acted “against somebody”, in different times and after a particular existential path.
I have heard a work of art can be called in this way if it works for the viewer, I guess this means that it works when it does make sense to you and help your mind in focusing on something, although it could be unclear and uncertain.
David Goldblatt photos work very well: his people’s eyes look at you so deeply that a strong link is immediately formed between you and the object of the image. The latter become the subject of your thoughts and create a bond made by similarities and differences.
His work makes me think more in general to the terrible situation in Italian prisons and how superficially the majority of people doesn’t believe in the power of a real rehabilitation. But this is something else.


IT'S EASY TO GET DISTRACTED IN VENICE


Campo Manin or San Luca. It’s hard to remember all the names of places when you are a tourist and you are in Venice. Anyway, I’m sure it was somewhere in between Campo Santo Stefano and Rialto, cos that was the way I used to walk everyday during my three days in this melancholic mysterious and wonderful city that is Venice.
I stopped in the middle of the campo talking on the phone with a friend and, as I always do when I’m using the mobile, I looked all around trying to make the point of what surrounded me. The place was full of kids all dressed up for Halloween, running everywhere followed by their parents, in some ways even more excited than the children at the idea of the party.
Suddenly my attention was all for a girl in her 40ies talking loudly to some friends standing a bit far from her. She was at the ATM machine waiting for some cash (unstable euros?!). Long blonde hair left all down her back, a shining tanned face-probably a fake one since it’s fall right now-a Louis Vitton bag, a Moncler coat, a pair of jeans, I didn’t see the brand but I’m sure they would have been a famous one and, last but not least, these terrible shoes, called Hoogan, very expensive and so well-known among Italians that we can be recognized all around the world for possessing at least one pair of them. As I said, this girl was talking to some friends who looked pretty much similar to her. They obviously must have the same tastes for fashion. Their conversation was possibly listened by all the people in the Campo. That’s very Italian, we like everybody to participate to our discussions.
I stopped what I was doing to look at her and I couldn’t help to ask my self some questions: what does this girl think about the world wide economical crisis? Does she care about the gap created by capitalism between poor people and rich ones? Does she actually know that there is a huge crisis going on and involving everybody’s life?
I would like to point out that what impressed me the most in a negative way was not the girl’s way of dressing up-everybody has got the right to prefer some clothes in comparison to others. What I disliked was their noisy attitude as only they “possess” the place. This behaviour implies a completely disrespect for a public space that should be everybody’s place. Everything looked clear: it’s like she was saying “look at me, I’m all well dressed, I have friends like me that prove my successful social status and I have a presumably big sum of money in my back account”.
Sometimes I think there are people who are not touched at all by what surrounds us, but at the same time, I realize this is a very naïve thought and I try to go on further, believing there must be a deeper level through which to considerate the situation. Maybe they just don’t care, maybe they have reached a sort of stoic “atarassia”, a place where they are not anymore affected by anything and live happy in their non-awareness. Or even better, they own the only weapon left to all of us, a solid irony which helps in taking everything with a clever smile.
Who knows?
I like to believe in some kind of equality principle for which what affects me, affects you as well, in other ways though.
It’s obvious that after the ideology collapsed all has become more relativistic and extremely based on individual desires. To trust an idea of social equality set up by us in a collective way could seem a mere chimera. Nevertheless thinking in these terms is the only possible escape from a society that is dramatically closed to any new-proposing theory.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Sunday morning


This morning I went to the Scottish National Gallery for the first time.
I need time to incorporate scenes, colours, forms and topics together. The gallery is not immense but I always prefer not to see a great numbers of art works all at once; I reckon I will go back there, it’s free and sometimes this is a good point on which organize your priority.
I knew I didn’t have to go downstairs where the shop is, I didn’t actually need to spend money. But sometimes you can’t be bothered to follow your moral principles and you just take the moment as it comes!
I bought a Henry Cartier Bresson poster, one of his shots in China during the communist revolution. Honestly this is a Cartier Bresson I didn’t know before, my familiarity with him belongs to his Parisian portraits, for example Sartre’s image. The poster I bought depicts a group of Chinese people crammed in a very small space. They are looking at the camera, some of them seem terrorised by what is likely to happen next, but a few are kind of smiling and I don’t know if the reason for that is their awareness of being captured by somebody else’s eyes and work.

Well, not even a fragment of second and my mind was immediately transferred to BIUTIFUL, an authentic masterpiece of this year that is about to finish.
A bunch of Chinese people are found dead all in the same room where they used to sleep together at the limit of what can be called a human experience. Later their bodies will be hidden in the sea but with no success since they will be carried back to the shore.
This is Barcelona, not the shining fun fair well known by European people with no better desire in their life than the one to represent the standard prototype for tourists. Inarritu’s choice talks about the city’s suburbs, far away from the artistic centre and they are the location for a perfect tragedy. And when I say tragedy I’m referring to the Greek kind of tragedy, sometimes too intense judged from a contemporary point of view.
We do know what a drama is but our mainstream cinema leads us to believe and hope in a happy ending anyway, no matter the gravity of the topic.
Inarritu’s movie is the story of Uxbal, an immense Bardem who is dealing with his life coming to an end. He is a family man but the family seems to have fallen apart: his wife is in fact too unstable to carry on the duties and responsibilities out for bringing up her children.
The movie is completely lyrical, I know it could sound paradoxical, but there is something in all the poverty and darkness shown which makes the viewer think about purity and catharsis. I do believe it deals with the power of bond that links Uxbar to his kids. Something in these blood ties which goes beyond the inescapable desperation of an all too-human reality.
Every time Bardem has to face the most brutal times of his sickness, he is by him self in the toilet. The place is extremely small as if it could suffocate him, exactly the same place where Sean Pean coughed to death while he was smoking his addiction to cigarette. Too many references to be described just as randomness. There is obviously a connection between the two movies. In some way they both could describe a significant situation in Inarritu’s personal life (the film director dedicated Biutiful to the memory of his father) and the bathroom could possibly represent a meaningful locus.
Well, that’s what the poster I bought made me think about.
At the end I guess it was worthwhile.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

CASCADE FALLS AT CO2


I would have liked to have seen something such as David Lynch’s scenario. The colour blue was a sort of leit motiv for the exhibition. It replicated itself a few times in the art works and especially the nuance of the curtain took me straight away to a scene of either Blue velvet or Twin Peaks.
I would have expected a dwarf to open the door for me. He would have looked perfectly at ease playing with the water around. And he would have been a great Cicero indicating the show’s features. I actually can see him going around creating an itinerarium between Yao-Lung Cheng and Lindsay Boyd’s works.
CO2 space has become very theatrical yesterday: the artists and the curator Yen- Yi Lee put an electric blue curtain on the gallery’s big window: it divided the space from the rest of the surroundings, as it wants to represent a microcosmos apart, in which unusual and spectacular things can happen.
This blue, like the other colours chosen for gadgets such as the little umbrellas for the drinks, made a visible and shining contrast with the supreme whiteness that characterizes the gallery’s space. A whiteness towards which my reaction is still so undefined: I don’t know if it makes me comfortable or if I actually can’t physically stand it. It’s everywhere and this chromatic supremacy does affect you in some ways. But this Friday my attention was captured by something else for the first time since I’ve been to CO2.

One of Lindsay’s works is located on too high a level for me to be able to see it.
I’m aware of the potential silliness of it but I loved it. Not because I’m glad I couldn’t pose my eyes on something very horrible and so I saved my self from a tremendous sight. But because I’ve found it highly symbolic.
The location of the picture could indicate the difficult comprehension of some contemporary art works: willy-nilly the beholder doesn’t understand very often what seems to appear in front of him and when he does, it’s more likely to arrive to a different conclusion from the one of the artist.
Yao-Lung work is a journey along his everyday life, it tells us which objects are precious for him, without explaining the reason why. And that’s probably because a meaning is not always necessary.
For me, here there is a proper bulimia of things, their quantity reminds us of our tendency of keeping everything. The art works tell us about our fear of getting rid of even the smallest simulacrum we keep within our domestic walls.
The spectacle I was waiting for just looking at the curtain’s electricity did happen because a mini fountain has been situated in the middle of the room. The water’s noise kept me always somewhere else with the aftermath of an unstable position in between the ordinary and what I can’t reach as the picture on the wall.

Just another playlist




The Who-Teenage Wasteland. I spent my childhood imitating my sister imitating Roger Daltrey.

The DirtBombs- Chains of Love. Friend’s suggestions are always precious.

PVC- Wall City Rock. I have got a thing for Germans.

Radio Birdman- Love kills. Reminds me never-ending afternoons in Melbourne.

The Jam- Down in a tube station at midnight. From here I started to invent my own English. Ages to understand a word form Paul Weller.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- The Ship song- A life-long friendship.

Rocket from the Tombs- Ain’t it fun. The most beautiful and saddest song ever.

Pavement- Gold soundz. “You are the kind of girl I like, because you are empty and I’m empty”.

Gun Club- Carry home. Jeffrey Lee Peirce’s desperation makes me feel at “home”.

Kylie Minogue- All the lovers. Still haven’t understood why I didn’t participate to the video clip.


Just another playlist with eleven songs.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quoting Sean Cubitt:
"We can no longer take the face-to-face as the normative mode of human interaction. Our increasingly interlaced and planet-spanning networks of interdependence and communication are enacted most pervasively through money, but also through the cycles of picturing, recording, reproduction and distribution that link us multilaterally across continents. My inevitably consumer choices articulate with coffee farmers I will never meet; my charity is articulated with pictures of famine-stricken regions I will never visit; my voting behavior is imbricated in refugee camps I pray never to inhabit. Actions in which I recognize what I take to be my very self, my most precious identity, are couched in the music, the movies, the brands and the news I opt to allow into my life, the products and services I pay for with my money or my attention. This much also we all know."

from TV news titles Picturing the planet

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Smoking Guns


Let’s be honest about this, if it wasn’t for the master’s project, I would have never thought about creating a blog. I’m not that kind of person, I don’t feel very at ease with this sort of communication. It’s not a matter of judgment, I do believe in the commodity and usefulness of something like a blog. It could be a great way to express yourself, even powerful, cos it obviously represents a wide platform through which people share opinions and develop a totally democratic critique. But I have always thought it wasn’t for me: I’m still basically a luddite and an anachronistic person for some ways: yes, I do use e mails everyday and I have a facebook page, but that’s pretty much in order to keep in contact with my friends overseas. 


I don’t actually know the very reason for my adversity: it was the same when mobile phones came along, I didn’t want one, but not because I was strongly persuaded by a pure and anti technological way of life, mostly I was just scared I might not be able to use it. I still remember the day I bought my first one- the first of a long list, since I usually lose them very often- I did it just in order to please my sweet Italian mum, always concerned about my health. It was a winter afternoon at my friend’s place and she was so surprised by the event that she saved my number under “Elena New Age”.

The same with the bank card: don’t you think it’s very weird and nearly unrealistic that a super flat and little object like this can contain all your money?? Once you lose it, you are “out of order” for days and days waiting for somebody else adjusting your life.


I’m very much like my beautiful niece when she looks at the computer screen and she sees my face while I’m having skype with my sister. She is very unsure and confused about what’s going on. Her eyes tell her I’m there but she can’t touch me…..I do agree with her….how strange and sometimes even uncomfortable it is, but this is another story.

Nevertheless things–fortunately- change (just a few days ago I was told by a guy I was chatting with there’s something that people call space tourism, well...anyway!) so here I am, trying to write something interesting, I hope not just from my point of view. I will try, promise, and if I fail, please don’t blame me!!


I think it could be a nice idea to start from the name I decided to give to this web page: SMOKING GUNS. The first time I saw the expression written in a book I wasn’t very sure about the meaning of it: well, I did know the significance of each term but put together it didn’t make any sense really: so I thought it was probably one of the various examples of idiomatic terms which the English language is so fond of. And I was right, because it doesn’t deal with either any particular kind of cigarette or anyone with a worrying passion for weapons.
Smoking guns is a nice metaphor for EVIDENCE: imagine I have just shot somebody and you arrive at the crime scene a few second later, my gun would probably still be ejecting some smoke.

This is evidence- not many ways of ESCAPE for me, the criminal (nearly) without doubt. 
But this is a situation that happens very seldom in people’s life. In our everyday experience, the real one, not even the one mediated by any sort of critique, not a lot of space is left for stable principles and sureness. Also the idea of an absolute rightness is contaminated by endless nuances of relativism.
That’s great, it gives the benefit of a re-valuation for situations we previously dictated as completely negative or wrong. For sure, to believe in some kind of evidence gives you a path you can walk down without worrying too much about the unknown, but it has to be temporary, cos we must keep ourselves open to changes.
Yesterday I went to see an art exhibition with a friend: we were looking at some collages on a gallery’s wall: “I can’t see any meaning in these pieces of paper” she came out. “I actually find them too meaningful” I replied.

Staring at the same thing, people can have very diverse reactions. That means diversity helps us in sharing opinions and recreating things and value of events.