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onMAPS a project by MAPS - Museum of Art in Public Space. concept: DZT design: uzinaliquida cover design: uzinaliquida All the texts and images are property of the authors and are used with their permission. No part of the material in this publication may be reproduced, without the permission of the authors. Please visit us at: www.the-maps.org Or follow us on Facebook / Twitter Contact: mail@the-maps.org Š DyZeroTre / MAPS - Museum of Art in Public Space, 2016


onMAPS is collaborative project developed as a digital magazine focused on public space realized through contributions of artists, architects, urban planners, writers, thinkers. The magazine is a collection of artworks, photographs, documentation of actions, projects, frames, drawings, illustrations and texts written in the language chosen by the author. A starting point to open a discussion on what it means in general, to work / act / react / in a common space, on how to redefine what we consider public, what public space offers the community and how community access it. About MAPS - Museum of Art in Public Space MAPS - Museum of Art in Public Space is a artist’s run platform founded in 2014 with the aim of promoting contemporary art research that has as its theater, public space in all its forms and derivations. A museum exploded in the city, which allows invited artists to compete each time with different zones, each representing historical and contemporary connotations of city’s iconography. MAPS is a museum that overwhelms / engages / transforms through the production of exhibitions / video screenings / conferences whose focus is always the discussion and dialogue with an area of the city and its social or territorial issues. Because the encounter with art can have the thrill of an uprising, or vice versa art is an uprising because it contains the emotion of people and places met.


The dispositif (apparatus) Michel Foucault “The Confession of the Flesh” (1977) interview. In Power/Knowledge Selected Interviews and Other Writings (ed Colin Gordon), 1980: pp. 194-228. This interview was conducted by a round-table of historians. “What I’m trying to pick out with this term is, firstly, a thoroughly heterogenous ensemble consisting of discourses, institutions, architectural forms, regulatory decisions, laws, administrative measures, scientific statements, philosophical, moral and philanthropic propositions–in short, the said as much as the unsaid. Such are the elements of the apparatus. The apparatus itself is the system of relations that can be established between these elements. Secondly, what I am trying to identify in this apparatus is precisely the nature of the connection that can exist between these heterogenous elements. Thus, a particular discourse can figure at one time as the programme of an institution, and at another it can function as a means of justifying or masking a practice which itself remains silent, or as a secondary re-interpretation of this practice, opening out for it a new field of rationality. In short, between these elements, whether discursive or non-discursive, there is a sort of interplay of shifts of position and modifications of function which can also vary very widely. Thirdly, I understand by the term “apparatus” a sort of–shall we say–formation which has as its major function at a given historical moment that of responding to an urgent need. The apparatus thus has a dominant strategic function. (…) About the apparatus, I am faced with a problem which I did not fully solved. I said that the apparatus has eminently a strategic nature, which implies that it is a certain manipulation of relations of forces, of a rational and concerted intervention in these relations of forces, is to develop them in such a certain direction,

for both block them, or to stabilize them, use them. The apparatus is so always part of a power game, but it’s always also linked to one or several limits of knowledge, born in it, but that at the same time, influence it. This is it, the apparatus: some strategies of balance of power that supports some kinds of knowledge and are supported by them.”


Ascolto Francesco Pedrini

Gli Ascoltatori del cielo Disegno a grafite su carta Kozo, 40x60cm ognuno, 2015 Ascolto#1 Stampa su pura cellulosa, 53 x 80cm, 2016 Ascolto#2 Stampa su pura cellulosa, 53 x 80cm, 2016 Ascolto#3 Stampa su pura cellulosa, 53 x 80cm, 2016 La serie Ascolto è frutto di un incontro con una fotografia d’archivio. Nel British Imperial Museum Archive ho trovato alcune fotografie che mostravano alcuni soldati italiani della Regia Marina Militare che costruivano strumenti per intercettare i primi attacchi aerei a Venezia nel 1914. Uno dei più arcaici oltre ad essere geniale è un quadro, una tela in cui il soldato inserisce la testa per dividere il cielo in due zone uditive “mono”. Quando il suono è percepito a destra ed a sinistra, quindi in “stereo”, la direzione in cui si trova il quadro è esattamente quella da cui arriva l’aereo. Ho ricostruito questo oggetto come fosse una tela per dipingere sagomata sul mio profilo, una protesi, un dispositivo per compiere rilevamenti poetici di comprensione del cielo.

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Sound & Space 18. Something is Always Missing - Sound Spatialization and the “Installed Cinema” by Maria Rosa Sossai and Damir Očko

I. A Method This essay is a project curated by an art critic and a visual artist through the recording of their conversations which occurred in the last two years since 2010 for the first Damir Očko’s solo exhibition in Italy The Age of Happiness (2010). The aim is to analyze the ongoing process of an artistic/curatorial practice that experiments a deep insight on the mutual exchange between sound spatialization and installed moving images; an exchange that is based on a concept of time as “a qualitative process, a flow in which past, present, and future permeate one another to form a genuine continuum” (Cox, 2010, 53). Cox refers to Bergson’s theory of time as duration, in contrast with the traditional notion of time that has dominated our thinking since, at least, the seventeeth century, in which moments, conceived like discrete and present entities, are laid out as a quantity, a ‘clock time’ which subordinates time to space. The hypothesis at the core of this essay then is the possibility to express a critical standpoint that, starting from the artist’s practice, redefines the relationship among different fields of knowledge - art criticism, literature, poetry, moving image, cinema, time, sound and music. The essay solicits also a new engagement against the use of sound and moving images contracting specific standards imposed by the art market. This conceptual shift intends to generate first of all a critical attitude towards the industry of entertainment and the new media displayed in public venues that, according to Constanze Ruhm, have changed people’s cultural sensibility towards sounds, images and the perception of the space: “Through the ubiquity of individual and everpresent sonic markers such as mobile phone jingles and sound installations in public spaces, everyday life has become the scene of a continuous sonic semiosis. Corporate sound design on the one hand and advertising/branding machinery geared towards “sound logos” on the other, have long been responding to these novel sign systems”. (Ruhm, 2010, 9). 22

In contrapposition to the standardization of acoustic and visual perceptions, the artists’ interest for video installations with a sound spatial dimension has grown. The artistic practice is so confronted with opening up and multiplying the innovative experiments in music and in moving images. The interest of the public for this specific type of setting is probably connected with a certain visual and aural saturation that has generated forms of collective resistance against the chaotic invasion of multimedia technological devices. II. The Universal Language of Music and Moving Images What has attracted visual artists since the period of the historical avant-garde towards both sound and music is their status of universal language, their possibility to expand themselves beyond the conventional paths, their being ‘non-representational signs’ which have no real referent, nor a connection to any determined contingent sight or object. If we turn to the exploration of similarities between these two creative disciplines – sounds/music and moving images - we find a first layer of correspondence on the evident phenomenon that they can be both experienced as time-based elements. The second layer concerns their relationship with the surrounding reality and the inclusion, in many experimental works, of sounds/music and moving images that were formerly considered as non-musical and non-artistic. An example of a radical practice in this direction are John Cage’s compositions based on the concept of indeterminacy that has changed the course of modern music together with a non standard use of musical instruments which has introduced a new conceptual horizon. These qualities of sonic/visual perception maintained in the pre-digital era, an indexical relationship with their sources. With the shift occurred with the digital manipulation and their respective industry standards, the interplay between arts of time and space has redefined not only the same expressive forms but also the venues where they are usually displayed, including “the space itself of the museum which is no longer provided as a rigid frame of reference but rather as the


centre of a network that develops according to a rhizomatic model”. (Sossai, 2000, 65). The experience of a radical change of both aural and visual expressive forms is at the core of Damir Očko’s video works, whose composition is based on a never finished and closed temporal process; in his organic and circular creation music and images become ‘real characters’, stemming from the independence of sound from the images. “One should not forget that a music is a character as well, an invisible one, but equally important as the image”. (Očko, 2010). With regard to the actors of his films, they are conversely “allegorical figures representatives of an utopia society, empty characters that can appropriate the features of the particular filmed architecture” […]. The allusion to an utopian idea of freedom for the whole mankind in Očko’s video pieces regards not only the characters of his films but all the elements of the composition, which are set outside a chronological development of the narrative. “The characters are not only referring to “what” (they perform) but also to “when” (they perform). The sense of suspended time and immobility comes from the treatment of motion. There is surely a distance between what is considered human and how the characters, music and images evolve in my films. So the intuitive resonance of all the elements rather than their function creates a specific feeling of suspension in my works”. […]. Examples of what mentioned above are the creatures in the videos The End of the World (2007) and The Boy with a Magic Horn (2007) who are customized living machines who have to adapt themselves to unusual conditions. These characters are bringing us information about another universe, as if the real world no longer reflects any image of us, a foreign land which is a metaphor for the fragile and deracinated culture of today. “Each work happens within a specific conceptual frame but the borders of these frames do cross the limitations of each specific piece. I work with a topic and what normally happens is that a chain reaction of unresolved situations partly condition the works to come” […].

In his film The Age of Happiness (2009) blind characters can experience reality only through the sense of hearing. But their blindness allows them to bear the extreme light of the sun and become superior beings. At the end of the video their moving to another world brings them nonetheless to their own destruction. The same strange condition is shared by the actors of the video The Boy with a Magic Horn who can be defined prototypes of a mobile architecture. They move in a foreign space with their heads covered with threedimensional geometric volumes that partially cancel their human features. The inspirational source for The Age of Happiness characters’ unique condition, is the unfinished visionary project of a multi-media Mysterium created between 1903 and 1915 by the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin which provides a radical change of the public’s perspective. In this context it is important to remember briefly Scriabin’s intentions about his project that would require active participants - artists or special people - ready to experiment a completely new culture. The cast included an orchestra, a large mixed choir, an instrument with visual effects, dancers, a procession, incense and rhythmic textural articulation. The Mysterium would take place in a cathedral whose architectural contours would be modified by the aid of mists and lights and that would continually change with the atmosphere and motion of the elements. The performance, lasting symbolically one week, like the 23


seven days necessary for the Creation (of the Universe by God), would include all art disciplines mentioned above and would happen in the Indian Himalayas. After this process of transformation human beings would evolve into higher “nobler” beings. “If we take a closer look at the project never fully realized, we notice that much happened in between. First of all a big gap. Historically there was a shift of perspective occurring around the First World War. Not only it was the end of Romanticism and of the image of romantic relation between man and nature but also the introduction of the new scenario of self-destruction. The idea that the destruction of the mankind could come from within the mankind was a completely new concept in the 20th century. And I am very interested to these models, though I have no ambitions to recreate them or continue where Scriabin left. My interest is only in the distance from these pioneering experiments” […. I imagine that what has inspired Očko about Scriabin’s Mysterium is the possibility to create something which “remains invisible and attainable only in imagination” (Joly, 2009, pag?). The architecture in which the film The Age of Happiness is projected is made in cardboard and preceded by a corridor forming different geometric and abstract shapes, recalling in some aspects the visionary and obscure nature of Scriabin’s unfinished Mysterium. This reference reveals also the symbolist sensibility of the Croatian artist, which is actually not distant from the modernist tradition of underground cinema, essay films, experimental language-based films and from the conceptual era. Očko’s audiovisual productions are conceived as neither documentaries nor fictional works or aesthetic mediations. They are rather pure experiments close to music conceived as narrative and a different organization of time one can experience while listening to music: “Music flows through time in the structure of the event. Film is no different from that, it is simply the attraction of working with the time as a perpetual motion that drives me. Narrative plays a significant role as well, since in music narratives are much more abstract than in any other form. I like this uncertainty in music” […]. His approach to the sublime in his re24

cent works and what the sublime rapresents, reveal his desire to let the meaning of his work remain partly unrevealed or the result of a continuous shift between what is normally conceived as visible versus invisible and between what is claimed to be audible versus inaudible, a challenge which takes place in imaginary territory beyond any codified convention. “I try to look for inaudible elements that want to become audible or invisible elements that want to become visible”. (Očko in conversation with Sigman, 2011). III. The Role of the Audience and the Act of Listening I’m sure that Damir Očko considers the impact of his video works in front of the audience in terms of a possible change of perspective, as suggested by Lawrence Wiener: “Every time you make a work and make it public, it’s supposed to change the world in such a way that your previous conception of the way the world is, isn’t the same” (Vidokle, 2011). The challenge that artists renovate is the possibility to shift public’s previous perspectives, beyond the already existing strategies of the art work with a potentially transformative experience for the viewer. IV. Music, Sounds and Voice The overlapping domains of music and sounds have sparked controversial discussions, but it is important to remember that the voice is to be considered the third acoustic element that has played an important role in the last century, a fertile field of experimentation in different crossing areas. Even when it is evoked through the radical negation of its sound, as in Očko’s video The Moon shall never take my Voice (2010) where the sound of the voice - but not the meaning of the words - is translated into silent actions, enhancing and transforming the same role of listening. In the video a solitary female deaf protagonist performs on an empty stage three songs through the physical gestures of the sign language, accompanied by electroacustic sound and lights. They are episodes taken from the lives of three for the artist important figures. Mahler’s obser-


vation of a funeral procession during his stay in New York in 1907 and his listening of the unsettling rhythm of the accompanying military drum. The second episode is related to John Cage’s famous visit to Harvard University’s anechoic chamber where the sound waves were completely absorbed. Since Cage could still hear the sound of his own body, he realized that the absolute silence doesn’t exist. And finally a mixture of fictional and existing interviews with the American astronaut Neil Armstrong describing the impossibility of producing sound on the moon where, in absence of atmosphere, no sound can be produced. Then the moon becomes a metaphor for an utopian territory. It is important here to underline the proximity of this time based art work to the performative act that emerges from the interaction among physical movements, the sound of the accelerated breath of the accordion played with an opened valve, exterior music/ sound and text. And at the same time the silence of the voices creates the conditions to let the audience hear the other sounds emitted by other sources comprising their bodies and minds. For Damir “The video The Moon shall never take my Voice is not about Mahler, Cage and Armstrong but about the different territories of silence that they all tried to reach. I usually think in terms of transposition, but the word “dislocation” seems to be more accurate. My intention was to transport the voice from its natural physical reality into another physical reality. The voice is transferred from the lungs, throat, and mouth to the shoulders, hands, and palms. Thus movements can be described as loud, quiet, silent, long, short, high, low, fast and slow. When this happens and movements become so obviously treated like sound spatial phenomena, the missing sound of the voice becomes a negative space worth exploring. The relationship between physical gestures and the sound materials employed is musical, so sonic elements rarely interact with specific lingual particles in the way they do in Ligeti’s Aventures (i.e., nonsense syllables paired with semantically charged vocal gestures, so that it is ultimately difficult to distinguish music from language). Instead interaction happens on the word or on the sentence level and it only occurs when

something is “sung” rather than “spoken” […].

In his video We Saw Nothing but the Uniform Blue of the Sky (2012) a male voiceover suffering from a severe stuttering reads a text, preceded by a certain number of exhausting rehearsals. Here the sound of the voice aims at getting back to a prelinguistic or a postlinguistic material, a sort of absolute presence which underlines also its absence during the pauses of silence, beyond linguistic meaning, as proclaimed by Hugo Ball’s Sound poem “We must return to the innermost alchemy of the word” (Ball, 19,71). The voiceover’s stammering and efforts to speak, set an unsteady rhythm, make their marks, augment and amplify the sphere of the visual imaginary of the video thus transforming the voice into a sound-object, a character on its own. Moreover the exploration of the voice, as the making of the vibrant sound, radically implicates not only an active listener as in the preceding works, but it also gives a preeminent role to the act of listening itself. Probably the tensions of a stammer’s voice lead to a deeper understanding of sound and produce a slowdown for the difficulty of communication. But it expresses also the wish for a more authentic representation of a deeper dimension of the human being. The stammering exposes the acoustic properties of the word more than a normal speech does. Damir’s reply: “It is very interesting what you affirm. It’s true that in normal speech all the control mechanisms use diaphragm and lungs for breathing and vocal cords for shaping the more delicate properties like pitch and timbre; they are more or less unconsciously controlled. With the stammering, 25


this control is disrupted so what you get is a loose and free acoustics of the word. The extraordinary effort to speak not only emphasizes the word and their meanings, but it pushes the listener to focus on the word, so the very act of listening becomes really challenging too. The lack of control in the mechanism of pronouncing, shapes the acoustics of the word and effects various rhythmic and textural structures of the spoken voice. The voice is always “sound object” and perhaps this is why it took me so long to actually start working with voice”. (Ocko in conversation with Sossai, 2012) V. “The Installed Cinema” In the last decades multi-screen installations namely inside a museum or an art gallery, have contributed to enlarge the possibility for a sound spatializations. This kind of immersive environment, that reminds the dark space of a movie theater, has transformed not only the relationship between acoustic and visual elements but it has also enlarged the traditional framework of the film form. The exhibition space has then become a third element which concurs to a new definition of this specific artists’ cinema. The terms that have been used by art critics to analyze works combining together cinematic and visual/sonic elements, share the word ‘cinema’, followed by a series of connotations which highlight cinematic potentialities in the art field: expanded cinema, installed cinema, augmented cinema, the other cinema, art cinema. Since its historical beginning the notion of cinema has been enlarged by artists and experimental film-makers beyond the traditional uses of celluloid film, the medium that had defined it for over six decades, to inhabit a wide range of other materials and forms. As originally described by the American art critic Gene Youngblood, the form of the expanded cinema “included video and television, light shows, computer art, multimedia installation and performance, kinetic sculpture and theater, and holography, to name a few forms”. (Walley, 2011, 23). So Youngblood’s radical discourse is not confined to the movie form but includes all the states of mind that are in front of people’s eyes: “When we 26

say expanded cinema we actually mean expanded consciousness. Expanded cinema isn’t a movie at all: like life it’a a process of becoming, man’s ongoing historical drive to manifest his consciousness outside of his mind, in front of his eyes”. (Youngblood, 1970, 41). The debate about a different idea of cinema developed later by other critical contributions touched upon a wide range of parallel topics, in particular the introduction of cinematic form to new spaces and to the language of the new media. With the revival of the old dream of synesthesia, the cross-fertilization, the cinema and the visual arts have reconsidered their aims, becoming both more sculptural and performative. The time lapse of viewing, the number of projection screens, the flux of images create a sort of narrative in relation with the viewer and the space. But still a movie theater is not an exhibition space, since in a video installation the position of the viewer is not fixed on a seat, like in a movie theater. The public walking in the concrete space of the installation – standing in front of the projection or blocking the light of the projection – affects what he/ she experiences and interferes with the perception of the piece. Moreover in a multiple screen installation the viewer has to choose what images to see, in what order and from what screen; this continuous choice makes him/her constantly be inside the process of a new and subjective editing. How to name then this bunch of divergences from the familiar experience of mainstream feature cinema, in terms of semantic information and sensory elements? Barbara Flückiger states that our perception is naturally fragmented and that by dividing representation into visual and acoustic aspects, the cinematic apparatus only mimics this fragmentation. While in a video work the automated processes of perception are interrupted and “the sound objects loose their once-subordinate status, becoming an independent means of expression instead of simply emanating from the images on the screen”. (Flückiger, 2010, 177). A significant example of how visual artists have combined practices belonging to the different areas of cinema and visual arts, are Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s multiple screen installations that received much acclaim on the


international art scene during the 1990s. Her working process and various forms of editing have been influential in the development of new approaches to narrative, memory and time process in both films and video installations. “It is interesting to look at what happens with the space in the film when three different images are shown and how a specific space, like the apartment of the woman in The Wind can be presented […] Then there is the question of perception; how does someone read the space, how does one process the information?” (Malm, 2001, 68). In Ahtila’s installations the story is spread into the space and the viewer’s experience is deeply explored: “What I try to do in my films is to break up the space, to create a space that doesn’t exist at a conscious level, becoming something that the viewer can experience” (Malm, 69). In many of her works the voices of women who have gone through psychosis, (The Wind, The House) abandon the usual order of things: logic, causality, time and the way time passes. The spatial installation with multiple sound sources reflects the psychotic mind in a way that would not be possible with one screen or monitor; the use of many screens creates simultaneity and gets closer to the experience of mind – one can think, register, see, and hear multiple tracks at the same time. In a way Ahtila wishes to create a sort of psychological intimacy with the viewer and setting at the same time the necessary distance between the public and the images to allow the viewer to reflect on its own process of perception. Similar to the idea of Ahtila’s ‘installed cinema’, which embodies the concept of a total environment, Damir Očko’s films, installed inside architectural volumes, namely in the exhibition The Age of Happiness at Lothringer/13 Kunsthalle in Munich in 2009, enhance the spatial and sensorial experience, considered as an expanded concept of sculpture. As regard to the identity of the viewer, in his opinion, “he’s one who moves in time while sculptures appearing in my films are never exhibited. I consider this twist crucial for the sake of their presence in the films. Instead, I take the opportunity to sculpt connections, missing or unclear situations in the narratives. When I say directing, I think

of continuous movement through the exhibition, a certain rhythm one feels moving among the films, the sculptures, the drawings and the space itself. Building forms is one way to constitute a continuity, similar to a stage design in theater” (Očko, 2010). VI. Drawing the Sound In Očko’s artistic practice, the drawings have an important role, in particular the Partiture drawings, with many references to the historical avant-gardes and the Study works that express how literature is a poignant reference for him: “I use drawing as a tool to clarify noise in production process which takes place usually in a very long period, sometimes more than a year. So I find that drawing is a necessary segment in this process. It is important to be able to think with hands as well. Beside imaginary I try to visualize the soundscape as well. These are the scores I make either for myself or for the musicians I work with. It is a visual information indicating the flow or texture of what I wish to hear and to precise this, I use the graphic notation systems where you are free to work with any kind of visual articulation like signs, colors, forms and orders if you establish a systemized relationship among them”. (Očko, 2010)

The first part of the essay title ‘Something is Always Missing’ refers to the ontological condition which characterizes every art work, but in particular a video piece whose meaning can never be fully seized, since 27


it is often intentionally conceived as unfinished and open to the audience’s various interpretations. But the idea that something is always missing came to my mind when I read the conversation between Damir and the composer Alexander Sigman: “The elimination of the ego seems to extend to the way you treat human subjects in your video works—they are typically “missing” something—either being deprived of a voice (The Moon shall not take my Voice) or vision (The Age of Happiness), or concealed by your sculptural constructions (The Boy with a Magic Horn). Is this somehow connected to your transcendent aims imposing constraint systems as a means of alienating the actions of the human subject from their usual habitus? Očko’s answer: “I would not say that protagonists in my films are missing something, but rather that they inhabit carefully limited areas, and have precisely limited modes of acting. In The Moon shall never take my Voice, there is a limited area for a voice that, due to its “missing” sonority, appears in another reality of gesticulations. Limits are part of the same process of the selective exposure. Much like in sculpture”. (Očko, with Sigman, 2011) The first part of this essay has intended to pursue and develop two parallel researches: on one side an art criticism which reinvents itself through a constant confrontation with the artistic work and on the other side the affirmation of an art practice in which sound and vision are conceived as real characters, able to open up a world of synesthetic experiences. I would like to finish my section asking Damir Očko two questions, his answers will lead the reader to the second part of the essay written by him. VII. Two Questions Your theoretical standpoint seems to refer almost exclusively to music rather than sound. In what sense the sound has lost the confrontation with music? If you think about the way John Cage has been interpreting sounds as a sort of ready-made, self sustaining and in no-need for “beautiful constellations”, music 28

seems a logical terminology, even if the composers usually verbalize their actions with the word “sound”. This concept of sounds is in relation to the methods that emerged in Europe in 50s and 60s and were associated with the “new music” practices of Stockhausen and his followers that often took place in electronic studios. When you listen to a sound, even in its purest form or unintentional appearance, it becomes music. It really doesn’t need more than that. To a certain extent one can think that sounds are music whenever there is a score in question. For example, on many occasions John Cage scores the situation in which sounds appear by pure chance, uncontaminated by the pressure of preconceptions and determinations. That degree of freedom that is given to sounds destabilizes their classical position in the score. However, precise and intentional scoring of the situation provides the theoretical frame to speak in terms of music-making rather than sound-making. Even when sound is emphasized to the extreme limit, as it happens in compositions by Helmut Lachenmann, the composer for whom everything about sounds counts and every single detail is prescribed. Lachenmann writes sounds that are amplified by acoustic or even by their semantic qualities, composing almost super-sounds that are in fact musical beings. So regardless of the extended use of the word sound, the implementations, the executions and the perceptions of sounds comply the idea of music, which is exploring, measuring and relating to the behaviors of sounds. In my opinion we can go as far as to consider music even the most random sounds, such as traffic noise. Just think of cars as instruments, drivers as players, signalization devices as rhythmical structures, streets as bar lines, street lights as conductors. Even further, think of the reasons why people drive cars or in which direction they go: perhaps predictable patterns will appear. This is the score where every random sounding, ringing, buzzing, sneezing or roaring has gained the properties of music, just because its behavior could be “related”. What do you mean exactly when you affirm that in your


video works music and images become real characters? What makes music and image alive is that they have been so amplified that they cannot be situated in the background any more. Issues related to the foreground or background of the film / video are somehow crucial for the way I position certain segments, notably sound/music. Music, depicted as “background radiation”, usually extends outwards the established pattern when there is a dramatic need for it, or a gap; a logical thread is to question the relations of power positions between sound and image. One of the methods I often rely is to turn the music into a protagonist acting in the foreground. The method is based on the analytical approach of the positions in question: foreground and background territories of the film / video media, and spatial variables I usually encounter as an artist working with gallery and museum spaces. Damir Očko (The Artist’s Point of View) VIII. Spatial approach If the space of the film itself or its projection in the physical space is in question – the artistic treatment of the sound / music categories within video, film, sound installations is crucial. Negotiations between the physical space on one side and the role of an active audience on the other side are also important. In a time of overall liberation of artistic practices from cultural dogmas, sound / music categories must also confirm the new state of thinking and acting in the foreground of the perception. In fact the background has become a comforting zone of no-opinion-mediocre-manipulative strategy where there is a little room for provocations, questionings and confrontations urged by the important position of the contemporary media in the today society. Foreground / background and sound / music therefore have become relevant political categories, that have overgrown their formal appearance and comfortable position, becoming a relevant container for a variety of new creative strategies. It is important to remember how in the 20th century

artists have been trying to rebel against the artistic consumerism and mainstream cultural-production industries. A key role in this rebellion is to be assigned to composers and film-makers who consciously decided to stand against the mainstream culture. Italian composer Luigi Nono declared a war against the visual, identifying the seductive visual strategies of opera, film and other hybrid media as art conceived like another form of entertainment. This war culminated with his “opera” Il Prometeo (1985), from which everything visual was banned. Nono attempted to stage his “vision” so that the scene would only be populated by sounds, while the elaborate system of speakers would be positioned around the audience, creating a spatialaural adventure for the listener; hence his “tragedy of listening” could be heard in its totality, uncontaminated by the act of looking at “things”. According to Nono, music is not to be subordinated to the visual ever again. A statement of this altitude welcomes a newly emerged space where music can be a strong protagonist, a commentator and an activist - the voice of the society rather than just a formal structure incapable of sustaining political messages in precarious times -. Therefore the fight against formal cultural languages has become a fight against the control structures embedded in those languages. IX. Exorcising the Background After mentioning the strategy that enables music to overcome a certain apolitical and neutral mode of being played, it is interesting now to look at how the standardized deployment of sound / music in films presents problematic aspects that prevent any musical being to become an active protagonist of the film itself. Such are the problems of cinema language: synchronization and established forms of narrating that prefer a text instead of a score; all its forms are more or less determinated by their ”right” and “wrong” positions in the cinema industry established structures. “Wild sound” is a term coined by the mainstream production industries to describe the system of recording sounds separately, with the intention to sync them 29


later to the images in post-production. Wild sounds are rebels on their own, fugitives escaping from the timeline of the flow of images. They do not belong to an image, nor obviously the image belongs to them. It is important here to distinguish among belonging and originating: belonging would refer to the sounds sharing the same timeline as the image, while originating points to the potential liberation of sound from image. An example is the film “Stockhausen’s Originale: Doubletakes ” (1964-1965) by the American photojournalist Peter Moore (1932-1993) who documented the performance of the Stockhausen’s Originale. The performance took place in 1964 during the 2nd Annual New York Avant-Garde Festival. Directed by Allan Kaprow, the 94-minute performance was compressed into 32-minute film, providing us with a valuable historical document containing Stockhausen’s music as a soundtrack that functions here as a “wild sound”. Although the performers appearing in the image usually produce sounds, they do not share the same timeline as the action of “producing sound”. Since sounds originate rather than belong to the visual, or associate rather than illustrate. But exactly how far can this acoustic rebellion go before completely breaking all the sounds away from the cinema screen and transforming them into a “pure” sound installation or into a musical performance? After all, the questions at stake regard the positions of sounds / music in the film and video. Apparently not too far, but just around the corner where the eye doesn’t meet the image any longer and the interaction at distance between sound and images becomes less convincing for our mind. That said, it is assumable that as sounds finally break free from images, they simultaneously lose their symbiotic aspect and their relation to the perpetually moving images of the film, conceived in its totality. Therefore the sounds are not the abstract super-creatures detained by the prison of the visual. They are rather symbiotic creatures and protagonists in equal. It is interesting to mention some kinds of sounds that are part of mainstream cinema experience. Most likely there is someone talking, i.e. a human voice. These “talking sounds” can appear either with or with30

out the image of a person talking. However they can appear out of synch with that image, then we can label those sounds as “wild sounds”. This multiple choice leads to even more complicated possibilities for the spoken word to become a musical object, as it is important to take into account that all spoken words do not always imply language, because the word itself is a quite tricky business in this matter, as some examples I will show later demonstrate. On the other hand, the deliberate act of confusing language with word-like sound objects has been among the most interesting explorations that occurred in the development of the 20th century music. In her notorious composition “Stripsody” (1966), American soprano singer and composer Cathy Berberian (1925-1983), sings the sonic material derived from comic-strips that seems to be a scrupulous semiotic investigation of the fictional language. A roar after roar, zip zing ding, whoop, splash, boom, one after the other they appear as a lingual succession, a new sort of language and a very unusual one. The words have no objective meaning, but they do sound like words. They sound like sounds too. However, perhaps it is best to label them, neither as words, or sounds but as “soundobjects” and as different sub-categories such as wordsound, word-voice-sound, word-voice-sound-language and word-voice-sound-language-music object. Exploring, inventing and thinking of words as sound objects has been a very popular quest among contemporary artists and film-makers. They rushed to replace talking sounds with their “own” word-voice-sound objects, hoping to find that necessary twist. The act of dealing with the word-language objects implies the potential to explore both formal and political depths of categories such as music or human voice, as shown by Maria Rosa when she quotes Hugo Ball’s sentence about the inner alchemy of the voice. In music this deep exploration of potentiality of the voice has been a well-explored terrain. Aventures (1963), Nouvelles Aventures (1962-1965) and Mysteries of the Macabre (1974-1977) by avant-garde composer Gyorgy Ligeti (1923-2006) are probably the best known examples of how interesting and powerful the word-voice-sound


object actually can be. Ligeti shows how expanding word-sound objects in music overcome the need for language as being the only means of communication. He also shows how the different aspects of spoken words usually less associated with communication, are easily assigned to reshape, misconceive, deconstruct or construct musical language – just because at the core of every spoken word there is a “musicality”. Therefore the word-voice-sound object has become the word-voice-sound-music-language object, transcoding music to language in a linguistic sense too, opening the possibility for communicating by the “sounding” of the words purged to the linguistic properties of the pure sounds. Then there are all those environmental noises of rather discreet nature that complete the sense of the presence of the space the moving images are describing. If it’s raining on the screen, we hear the rain too. The sound of the rain or the sound of a train - it is always the same way in which these sounds are projected together with the image -. These environmental sounds are mostly perceived unconsciously as they appear to us in a similar manner as it happens in reality. And if the audience is not intentionally focused to hear specific sounds - unless something is radically different, dissonant or abruptly expressed - automated process of perception will allow everything to pass unnoticeable and as smooth as possible. Therefore the proper positioning of the “environmental sounds” plays a key role in the automated reception, since it establishes also the perception of the space on a subconscious level. So the idea of constructing the space by projecting images is rather an incomplete process until all the elements including environmental noises would merge together. What happens if the control mechanisms finally break and the dissonant tuning between the projected images and the reality they are referring to, explode into a spectrum of new sensations? Similar phenomena have already happened in music. The first dissonance that emitted its bitter resonances in a “salon piece of music“ knocked down the wall of rigor control with such an impact that nothing was ever to be the same as be-

fore. From then on, the dissonances spread like a virus; they became the unstoppable force ready to fight for their own survival, and more likely, for the survival of our senses. Furthermore, all sorts of background noises had found their place in musical development of the 20th century. Accidental slams, squeaking chairs, noisy audiences are among many that found their ways into scores. Nothing was left to chance, even if the chance was all the composer intended to write. All this just to prove the point that if the sound is conceived as a “full scale” protagonist and if the power positions are disrupted, it can provide the audience with an extraordinary, sensory and intellectual experience. Finally on the list examined above there is music all dressed up but nowhere to go; glued to the image as if it had no life on its own; stuck in the eternal role of obedient formal servant. Cornered in the background and endlessly bullied by the image, music has such a little room for itself that it is not even called music, but film music. This is the music owned by the film where behind the curtains, a magician - skilful in manipulation and deception - throws the glittering sand in the eyes of the audience, whispers the seductive tunes in its ears and never expands the limits of what is expected. Many examples could be listed here, considering that the simplistic canons of film-making have been embraced by the unfair modes of “sounding” of the industry standards. Necessary distinction comes to my mind – that one between “entertainment” and “adventure”. Even if the entertaining strategies of the film industry would make an interesting side walk in this essay, it is much more important to focus on the “adventurous” strategies within artistic practices of film and video productions. Adventure asks for an adventurer, let’s say, an active audience keen on actively looking at and listening to what is in front of them. Moving their works from the cinema space to other venues, like museums, galleries, foundations, artists have set on fire the established and entertaining position of the cinema - with its core problem, that is a passive and immobilized audience. In the cinema the audience is condemned to one position, sitting before the screen while the film 31


gets poured to their senses, using a variety of manipulative methods. But by recreating their projections in spaces such as galleries and museums, artists could still encounter similar problems. The audience’s passive position does not completely desappear in galleries and museums - the dark realm of cinema, rows of chairs and straight-forward projections on the canvas have been constructed in museums and galleries on numerous occasions by artists keen to recreate the cinematic experience -. What is different is the sense of freedom that is given to the audience: to sit and watch or decide not to sit and watch, standing or walking. There is a sense of liberation from the cinematic language too which has been removed from the known space of the movie theatre and recreated in another cinema-like space that is able to support the two seemingly contradictory aspects: filmic experience and discursive deconstruction of manipulative power of the mainstream cinema, sort of remote control that has been given to the audience. This shift of power is just the beginning for the re-construction of a new artist’s cinema language. A change of perspective has been soon followed by so many different variations of projecting, installing, sculpting the images in the space, that it is possible to conclude that with the empowerement of the audience and the destabilization of manipulative strategies of the cinema, a new fertile era has begun. References Cox, Christopher. 2010. On Synchronism. In D. Diederichsen and C. Ruhm, Utopia of Sound, Schlebugge Editor, Vienna, 2010 Ruhm, Constanze. 2010. Immediacy and Non-Simultaneity: Utopia of Sound, In Utopia of Sound, Schlebugge Editor, Vienna, 2010 A. Vidokle, New York Conversations, Lucas & Steenberg, 2011, New York, English, DVD, 64:40 min., Picture: PAL, 4:3, b/w, Sound:Stereo. October, 137, 2011 Sossai, Maria Rosa. 2000. Sound+images. In Paola To32

gnon, musicaxocchi augenmusik eyemusic, 2000, catalogue of the exhibition, Silvana Editoriale, Milano. J. Robinson, John Cage. In October Files, 2011 M. Sperlinger and I. White, Kinomuseum, Towards an Artists’ Cinema, Walter Konig, Cologne, 2007 AAA editors, Black Box Illuminated, IASPIS, 2004 Walley, Jonathan. 2011. Identity Crisis: Experimental Film and Artistic Expansion, In “October”, 137. Endnotes The solo exhibition by Damir Ocko The Age of Happiness took place at the art gallery Tiziana Di Caro in 2010 in Salerno; it was accompanied by a conversation between Maria Rosa Sossai and the artist. All the quotations by Damir Ocko reported in the first section are taken exclusively from various conversations he had with Maria Rosa Sossai, the art critic Jean Baptiste Joly (2009) and with the composer Alexander Sigman (2011). www.damirocko.com


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The last Red Shirts Wu Yuren

Operation, 2010 2010 年春天,我刚从我组织领导的一场北京长安街 游行示威中平静下来,得知泰国曼谷正发生一场红 衫军运动,其主体是底层的泰国民众,与之对立的 是以权 力拥有者和当地富裕华人的黄衫军,在中国 的大陆网络上的民众与官媒出奇的一致地支持黄衫 军,坐看红衫军的败退。而我对于普遍性有种天然 的不信任,所以我把 注意力从北京的艺术工作中暂 时性抽离出来,决定介入到远在几千公里之外的泰 国火热现场运动。 到了曼谷的当天(5月22日),我才得知红 衫军已经败退,被政府军赶出了曼谷。街面上除了 一些各种路障与硝烟加上一队队执枪巡逻的士兵已 找不到一个穿着红 衫军服饰的人。我通过一朋友帮 助我找到一位曾参加红衫军的曼谷男人,买下他的 衣物,兴高采烈地穿上了。从他惊慌的眼神中似乎 预示了下来的不祥。 我穿行于一高档商楼间,朋友提醒我这些 地方都黄衫军聚集地,我匆匆来到大街上,发现人 们纷纷避去,唯有一骑摩托车小伙停下告诉我他支 持红衫军。这时一队巡逻的军警发现了我,向我冲 来,我急急坐上他的摩托车急驰逃离。 这是一趟冒险之旅,而更大的一场风暴正在 中国等着我……

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Vegla Bën Ustain lo strumento fa il maestro Fabrizio Bellomo

Intervento, Tirana, 2015 appunti su un progetto realizzato e altre riflessioni “Ero a Tirana per girare un film su una leggenda metropolitana relativa ad Anna Oxa; appena arrivato in città, vedo questa grande rotonda: decine di lavoratori seduti ai bordi della strada, in vendita, come delle prostitute. Ogni lavoratore è accanto al proprio strumento di lavoro, gli avventori che passano in macchina dalla rotonda capiscono quale lavoratore assoldare per la giornata in relazione alla propria necessità e di conseguenza in relazione allo strumento che servirà a supplire tale necessità.” “Durante le riprese del film, un giorno verso la fine delle riprese, passammo dalla rotonda con tutta la troupe. Mi ero convinto di un forte parallelismo fra i nostri operatori (camera-men, operatore audio ecc) e questi operai che si vendono per strada col proprio strumento al fianco. In entrambi i casi, sia che si trattasse degli operatori della nostra troupe, sia che si trattasse degli operai, ambedue le categorie erano ai miei occhi principalmente caratterizzate dal proprio strumento di lavoro, dalla macchina con la quale lavoravano e dal rapporto simbiotico che avevano con questa... in particolar modo volevo vedere l’operatore audio – con la sua imbracatura tecnologica e con l’asta col microfono in mano – in mezzo agli operai della rotonda. Non riuscii a convincere alcuni degli operai della ro42

tonda a posare accanto al proprio mezzo di lavoro, riuscii però a indurre alcuni non possessori di strumenti a posare accanto ad alcuni strumenti di proprietà altrui che erano già posizionati sul ciglio della strada, beh... i proprietari degli strumenti rapidamente – mentre stavo scattando la fotografia – tolsero un paio dei propri strumenti dalla scena, non consentendomi così di realizzare l’immagine che avevo in mente, che venne in un secondo momento realizzata attraverso l’ausilio di photoshop. Quest’accadimento - in qualche modo - mi confermò l’estensione simbiotica che gli operai avevano con il proprio strumento di lavoro.” “Vegla Bën Ustain é un detto albanese che significa lo strumento fa il maestro, lo stesso detto è In realtà presente in moltissime lingue – essendo la nostra una società tecnica-tecnologica – ad esempio nel dialetto della mia città d’origine, Bari, si dice l’ firr fascen u’mastr, a significare i ferri fanno il maestro.” “Ho assoldato Luly, uno di questi operai (ma senza mezzo), per scrivere con un martello pneumatico su di un muro adiacente alla rotonda e alle loro postazioni di vendita, il detto Vegla Bën Ustain, per la prestazione l’ho pagato 50 euro; ho dovuto anche pagare – la stessa cifra – altre 50 euro al proprietario del martello pneumatico che avrebbe affittato il suo strumento ma che non voleva comparire in video.” “Le tecniche e le tecnologie hanno sempre modificato profondamente la nostra vita – lavorativa e non –, un esempio recente che mi sono ritrovato spesso a fare è quello dell’avvento delle odierne macchine fotografiche reflex digitali che hanno consentito a chiunque avesse famigliarità con una macchina fotografica, di girare video di qualità cinematografica: bene, prima di questo che è stato col senno di poi un vero e proprio avvento, il mestiere del fotografo era una cosa e quello del video-maker era un’altra cosa, con questa nuova tecnologia invece tutti i fotografi sono diventati anche video-maker”.


“Lo smartphone, il super super mezzo che racchiude in un oggetto così piccolo, scoperte tecniche e tecnologiche di millenni; potenzialmente con questi oggetti si potrebbero realizzare (e ormai si realizzano) tantissimi prodotti dell’industria culturale, scattare delle fotografie per realizzarne delle gigantografie come dimostrato dall’ultima campagna Billboard di Apple, realizzare un film, come ad esempio il caso di Tangerine di Sean Baker girato interamente con degli I-phone e passato in concorso al Sundance Film Festival, scrivere un testo più o meno intellettuale come sto facendo ad esempio io in questo momento, mixare musica, oltre a condividere tutto questo materiale con chiunque attraverso la rete... Un super super medium che sta trasformando l’industria culturale in un calderone in cui moda, grafica, arte, fotografia, cinema, musica e chi più ne ha più ne metta, si stanno mischiando sempre più, in un tutti fanno tutto probabilmente legato al multitasking dei nostri smart-phone.”

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Ministry of Spain Dosjotas

Action - signal, 2012 Maybe the clearest example of the philosophy of Michel Foucault is George Orwell’s book “1984”, intervention is based on this book. The topic covers the concept of Newspeak regards the handling process, simplification, reduction and alteration of language, by the government, to thought control and define citizenship based on their interests politicians. The action is based on the four ministries of the book: The Ministry of Love, who deal with torture and punishment. The Ministry of Peace, who deal with war. The Ministry of Plenty, who deal with rationing, starvation and economy. The Ministry of Truth, who deal with propaganda. www.dosjotas.org

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茶馆 Teahouse 天汲 Tianji Zhao

Redline 器空间 重庆 2014 交通茶馆的入口隐藏在一家临街的相框店里。这座 60年代建筑起初是重庆黄桷坪运输公司的员工食 堂,1987年改为茶馆,至今保留着原来的样子。 我以七天时间在茶馆偷录了30人的对话,用重庆方 言记录下来,编辑成册,放回茶馆让顾客阅读。文 本参照老舍的剧本《茶馆》,以对话形式排列。话 题包括:下棋、车祸、艺术、离婚、吃胎盘、财产 纠纷、读书、算命、命案、代沟、拆迁、钓鱼等。 这是一个老百姓的娱乐场所,会友、打牌、发 呆——两块钱一杯茶能打发一个下午。茶馆文化几 乎完全被高档次、高消费的咖啡馆和酒吧替代,浓 郁的方言也逐渐被港台味的普通话冲淡。几句闲聊 凝结成文字,作为这些人、这些天的见证。 交通茶馆将于2016年拆除。 “Redline” Organhaus Chongqing 2014 The entrance of Transportation Teahouse is hidden inside a frame shop. Originally Huang Jue Ping Transportation Company’s staff canteen, the 60s building was made into a teahouse in 1987, and has remained the same ever since. For the span of a week, I secretly recorded conversations in the teahouse and compiled the recordings into a publication in Chongqing dialect, then placed them back at the teahouse for customers to read. In refer68

ence to the classic play Teahouse by Laoshe, the text is arranged in the form of dialogues. Topics include: chess, car accident, art, divorce, eating placenta, property dispute, school, fortune telling, murder, generation gap, demolition, fishing, etc. This is a place of leisure for locals, where one can meet friends, play cards, or doze off. 2 RMB for a cup of tea and you can pass a whole afternoon here. The teahouse culture has almost completely been replaced by expensive high-end cafes and bars, while strong dialects are being diluted by mandarin Chinese with Cantonese and Taiwanese accents. Few words of chitchat are condensed into text, to bare witness of these people in these days. Transportation Teahouse will be demolished in 2016. download Tianji Zhao’s Teahouse booklet


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Ricevere, soprattutto ricevere? by Alessandra Pioselli

Vorrei provare a ribaltare una domanda. Spesso ci s’interroga sul ruolo della pratica artistica nello spazio pubblico urbano o in rapporto ad ambiti del sociale, cercando di leggere i modi operativi di tale interazione, i nessi e le ricadute, le ragioni per cui queste dimensioni dovrebbero averne bisogno o riceverne qualche forma di beneficio. Do per scontata l’incertezza della condizione e della concettualizzazione attuale dei termini “spazio pubblico” e “sociale”, per evitare di smascherare ancora una volta la poliedrica e mutante complessità che li qualifica. Il rovesciamento della domanda porta a chiedere perché l’artista dovrebbe averne bisogno, anelare alla costruzione di “spazio pubblico” o alla partecipazione di altre soggettività in un ambiente allargato di relazioni che spesso fuoriescono in spazi plurimi oltre la struttura istituzionale del sistema dell’arte. In questo testo, l’interrogativo non ritorna sull’intenzione di ricercare nelle pieghe laterali dei territori e scarta di lato gli interessi sociologici, antropologici o politici degli artisti, l’accoglienza di committenze ma anche le eventuali risposte sulla convenienza, sull’inseguimento di format, su mal celate strategie di marketing o di posizionamento. L’interrogativo non rimanda neppure alla riflessione sull’eventuale ruolo sociale della pratica artistica che, tuttavia, rimane un motore importante. La domanda compete la soggettività e concerne il bisogno, come stato di necessità intima, esistenziale: quali sono le motivazioni vitali che precedono quelle professionali? È un nodo destinato a rimanere sospeso. Non può sciogliersi in risposte generalizzabili. La questione richiede di scavare nel fondo del desiderio del singolo, che dovrebbe spingersi oltre la necessità critica di ripensare il proprio ruolo come autore. La presento non per dare risposte ma per le conseguenze critiche del porla. Questa incognita sul desiderio emotivo e non solo razionalizzato in un interesse politico-sociale spinge a misurare quale sia l’eredità del processo sull’artista come persona, sulla sua soggettività prima ancora che su quella degli altri, sulla collettività o sul territorio. Scegliendo di lavorare nel quartiere Traiano di Napoli con i bambini e le bambine del sottoproletariato urbano, tra il 1971 e il 1974, Riccardo Dalisi ha l’accortezza di sottolineare che in 84

quel contesto è andato “per ricevere, soprattutto per ricevere”1. È un’affermazione che rivela molto, nella sua semplicità. Se l’architetto ottiene dal duro confronto con la realtà del Traiano delle indicazioni progettuali, che non esita a decodificare, d’altra parte, riconosce l’impatto sulla sua formazione umana, che indirizza le sue scelte future, professionali e di vita. La dichiarazione, inoltre, svela la consapevolezza del rifiuto di ergersi a colonizzatore dell’altrui disagio. È un rischio che sussiste, se non si ammette, in virtù di un’ambigua correttezza politica, di cercare e di averne un “ricavo”. Dalisi insiste sulla reciprocità dell’azione formativa, ed è questa corrispondenza un punto importante. La illumina una nozione del “dono” – riscontrabile nelle conseguenze della reciprocità - come atto che “implica una forte dose di libertà”2. “Il valore del dono”, difatti” “sta nell’assenza di garanzie da parte del donatore. Un’assenza che presuppone una grande fiducia negli altri”3. Nelle discussioni che scomodano la dimensione pubblica e sociale dell’arte, un aspetto rimane spesso in sordina: il “pubblico” e il “sociale” non sono altro da sé, separati dalla propria persona. Queste dimensioni non sono cornici date a priori che racchiudono il fantomatico “altro” verso cui procedere o cui aspirare. Il sociale siamo noi, lo costruiamo ogni giorno e attraverso ogni atto. Per questo, si può capovolgere la questione e chiedere agli artisti perché ne hanno bisogno e cosa ne ricevono: se si cerca di comprendere come la pratica artistica possa incidere o no in un territorio e avere un lascito, altrettanto è importante interrogarsi su come questa relazione modella l’esperienza personale. Se l’artista partecipa a costruire “soggettività”, quale soggetto che compete la sua persona sta costruendo? Non tenendo in considerazione il rovesciamento del discorso in un modo probabilmente anche introspettivo, la nozione di sociale, di pubblico, come di “luogo”, può slittare sul piano astratto, letti come il “fuori” verso cui 1. Riccardo Dalisi, Architettura d’animazione, Carucci, Roma 1974, p. 34. 2. Marco Aime, Introduzione, in Marcel Mauss, Saggio sul dono, Einaudi, Torino 2002, p. XIII. 3. Ivi.


dirigersi e salvare dall’assoggettamento, da una presunta non consapevolezza, dalla perdita o dall’esproprio. Essi rimangono un orizzonte sistemato in un altrove che si pensa di capire o di mutare senza chiarire che può modificare, in primo luogo, la propria storia. È da ritenere fondamentale che via sia un impegno con se stessi nel valutare se e come un processo dal dentro di realtà complesse, al cospetto di qualsiasi realtà, ci plasmi. Il discorso è inerente a un’etica del fare. Si può convocare nuovamente l’idea del dono come espressione della “volontà degli uomini di creare rapporti sociali” e il “valore di legame” che produce, per cui “il legame diventa più importante del bene stesso”4. Se pensiamo la pratica artistica come atto “gratuito”, perché non rigidamente finalizzata al raggiungimento di obiettivi quantitativamente controllabili, si può investigare quali legami crea non solo sociali ma intersoggettivi. Provando a riedificare i rapporti di forza interni a un dato sistema, bisogna dare per certo che l’artista non è mai agente neutro ma una delle voci del campo, componente attiva di qualsiasi “dispositivo”. Il problema non è tanto smantellare o no l’autorialità del singolo artista ma rendersi conto come agisce la sua parola nel contesto specifico. Anche se affida ad altri i processi di auto definizione delle soggettività attraverso un determinato percorso, egli rimane comunque all’interno del gioco, come tutti. Come agisco nel gioco? Parlo nell’interesse di chi? Quando Pasquale Campanella dichiara di avere impiegato almeno dieci anni per riconoscersi artista tra artisti all’interno di Wurmkos, il laboratorio nato nel 1987 con persone affette da disagio psichico, dice una cosa importante sul lavoro fatto su se stesso e sul timore di imporre una visione autoriale. Afferma: “A un certo punto mi sono sentito libero di esprimere la mia soggettività e non solo metterla al servizio degli altri”5. Evitare lo spazio della propria espressività equivale implicitamente a non ammettere di essere un “soggetto” davvero al pari degli altri, e che la relazione 4. Ivi 5. Testimonianza rilasciata a chi scrive, Sesto San Giovanni, novembre 2013, in Alessandra Pioselli, L’arte nello spazio urbano. L’esperienza italiana dal 1968 a oggi, Johan&Levi, Monza 2015, p. 113.

con l’altro modifica anche il proprio stare al mondo. La paura di radicare un’autorialità potrebbe trasformarsi nella difesa a oltranza di una posizione neutra, del sentirsi un puro “facilitatore” dell’empowerment degli “altri”, quando la neutralità è impossibile. È evidente che la “soggettività” e l’“autorialità” non sono sovrapponibili, non sono la medesima cosa, ma si può pensare all’autorialità come la forma singolare della capacità immaginativa del soggetto in un linguaggio peculiare, senza concepirla per forza come prevaricatrice, rappresentativa di una codifica istituzionale e socioculturale. È un’autorialità dialogante, aperta, relazionale, riscritta in un altro codice. Il rovesciamento della domanda posta all’inizio del testo è una denotazione operativa che individua la necessità critica di focalizzarsi sull’analisi del ruolo dell’artista nella decostruzione e nella eventuale creazione di “dispositivi”: anche se bottom-up, qualsiasi processo definisce regole, comportamenti, norme non scritte, interdipendenza tra forze e interessi, discorsi e apparati. Il problema, però, compete anche la soggettività non solo come costrutto storico e sociale ma nelle sfumature psicologiche ed esistenziali. Ciò potrebbe cautamente suggerire un altro pensiero: se l’arte cambia il mondo, lo può fare nel momento in cui incide nell’esperienza soggettiva della singola persona, e il desiderio può scombinare piccole tessere di un puzzle anche senza incrinarne del tutto la struttura dominante?

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Untitled#1 Untitled#2 Silva Agostini

Untitled#1, fotografi, 2016 Untitled#2, fotografi, 2016

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A Monument to Failure Pleurad Xhafa

Aksion, Tiranë, 2016 Artisti Pleurad Xhafa në bashkëpunimin e tij të parë me MAPS - Museum of Art in Public Space, i dhuron qytetit të Tiranës një monument kushtuar një nga ngjarjeve më të debatuara të historisë bashkëkohore Shqiptare. Çështja “Gërdeci”. Qeveria Shqiptare në bashkëpunim me Shtetet e Bashkuara të Amerikës dhe nënkontraktorëve privat prej disa kohësh kryenin çmontimin e municioneve rusokineze të mbetura nga periudha komuniste brenda fabrikës së demontimit të armëve të fshatit Gërdec të komunës Vorë, Shqipëri. Në shkelje të kontratave dhe nëpërmjet dokumenteve të rreme nga palët kontraktuese, në fabrikë, municionet çmontoheshin me mjete rrethanore në kushte të mjerueshme nga persona të pakualifikuar, si gra dhe fëmijë të cilët banonin pranë fabrikës. Për pasojë në mesditën e orës lokale, të së shtunës date 15 mars 2008, 14 kilometër nga qëndra e Tiranës, një shpërthim i madh morri jetën e 26 personave dhe plagosi 300 të tjerë. Thuajse 5 vjet më vonë, Gjykata e lartë e Shqipërisë e klasifikoi ngjarjen e shpërthimit në fabrikën e Gërdecit një “Aksident teknologjik”. A ishte vërtet një aksident teknologjik duke marrë parasysh kushtet në të cilat kryheshin demontimet e municioneve? Apo mos ndoshta kjo çështje tejkalon autoritetin e një gjykate të brishtë?! Duke ndjekur gjurmët e kësaj ngjarjeje vepra “Monument për Dështimin”, mishërohet tek një pemë e prerë, tashmë një objekt i vdekur me rrënje të gjatë e të fshehur nën asfaltin e Bulevardit Dëshmorët e Kom92

bit, 15 km nga krateri i Gërdecit. Pleurad Xhafa e çon vëmendjen sërisht tek ky bulevard ku qëndrojnë institucionet më të rëndësishme të vendit dhe janë konsumuar ngjarje nga më emblematiket e historisë Shqiptare. I ngritur fare pak centimetra nga trotuari përballë godinës së Presidencës, ky trung, dikur një dëshmitar i së shkuarës me vendosjen e pllakadës së bronxit shëndrrohet në nje monument, simbol i dështimit. Përballë këtij monumenti shikuesi gjendet i papërgatitur ashtu si të papërgatitur u gjendën familjarët e viktimave të Gërdecit, në goditjen përfundimtare të çekiçit të drejtësisë. Monumenti pati shumë vizibilitet nga momenti që u instalua, disa televizione dhe të përditshme kombëtare realizuan kronika e artikuj mbi të, duke intervistuar edhe artistin dhe kuratorët e MAPS mbi eventin dhe domethënien e tij; në dukje ishte bërë pjesë e strukturës urbane me kontrastin që mbarte midis “peshës së lehtë” fizike dhe “rëndesës” teorike. Kryetari i bashkisë së Tiranës, në vitin e tij të parë të punës, ka deklaruar gjithmonë në të gjitha rastet që forca e Shqipërisë duhet të jetë kultura, dhe është angazhuar të promovojë artin në hapësirën publike si bazë për transformimin kulturor dhe politik të Tiranës. Kjo vetëm me fjalë, sepse me fakte nuk ka takuar kurrë aktorët lokal të pavaruar, që janë pjesë e rëndësishme e jetës kulturore; nuk ka tentuar kurrë gjatë kësaj kohe të kuptojë cilat lloj ndërhyrjesh publike do të ishin të nevojshme për zhvillimin kulturor të qytetit; ka mbushur Tiranën (pothuajse vetëm përgjatë Bulevardit Dëshmorët e Kombit) me ndërhyrje që janë vetëm dekorative. Një ditë të bukur në kulmin e fushatës së tij për pastrimin e imazhit të Tiranës, shkuli vet ai nga rrënjët trungun e pemës ku ishte instaluar pllaka, duke zhdukur kështu monumentin që përkujtonte një fakt shumë të sikletshëm për politikën, boshllëkun e të cilit ende askush nuk do ta mbush, as edhe me kujtime.


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Drugstore Drugstore 2 Su Tomesen

Drugstore, photo, Port-au-Prince, Haïti, 2009 Drugstore 2, photo, Port-au-Prince, Haïti, 2009 In 2009 Dutch visual artist Su Tomesen traveled to Haïti to curate and realize videos for the video project ‘City One Minutes’ in Port-au-Prince*. During her visit she was on the streets a lot since the video project took place in the public domain. She realized she had never seen as many street vendors before as in Port-auPrince. The average Haitian is too poor to rent a place to make a business. A few sellers were carrying self-built towers of plastic containers with colourful pill strips attached to it by rubber bands. Let’s say mini-pharmacies. Most pills were expired. It appeared to her as installations in public space. Two pictures are published in this issue of onMAPS: ‘Drugstore’ and ‘Drugstore 2’. Early 2016 Su Tomesen has had the solo exhibition ‘Jejak’ (Traces, hidden creativity in public space) in Erasmus Huis in Jakarta, Indonesia. Dutch art critic Sandra Smets wrote in the catalogue accompanying the show: “The sidewalks and streets appear to be the destinations of entrepreneurs such as this vendor, laying claim to curbs and parks. That’s where they park their pushcart stalls or install their wares on the pavement - snacks, cosmetics, gasoline, or discarded tires being polished on the spot by self-proclaimed craftsmen deepening the grooves with their knives. All that merchandise is offered by inventive organizing of materi98

als and space.” and: “This ingenuity, unseen in over-regulated Europe, is the setting for all Tomesens films and photographs. Chairs, the mainstay of many Western product designers, are viewed differently by the denizens of this place. Her photo series on seating showcases duct tape as a means to provide second, third or fourth lives to discarded plastic chairs. Sloping streets are no problem, one can balance benches by cutting of parts of legs. If tables are needed, a piece of plastic on a tree stump will do just fine. (…) By framing these details Tomesen shows those tableaux vivants as related to art performances and installations.” and: “Tomesen points her camera deliberately not at the haves but at the have-nots, who cannot afford readymade solutions but have to rely on their own resourcefulness. (…) Therefore Tomesen’s work is a visual plea for a world where organic life evolves freely and where waste hardly exists. Do not establish coffee shops or luxury homes but make room for those who already live in urban territories and try to survive. If you grant space to individuals instead of internationals, their capital can flourish and they themselves can be developers. That way poorer countries can bloom without investors but by using the informal economy as an engine.” Su Tomesen lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Jogjakarta, Indonesia. * ‘City One Minutes’ are video portraits of cities around the world in 24 minutes. Each minute represents an hour of the day, and the 24 minutes are made by different local artists and filmmakers, on different locations, in different ways. ‘City One Minutes’ had its premiere at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Su Tomesen realized ‘City One Minutes’ in Amman, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, Medellín, Port-au-Prince and Rio de Janeiro.


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Secondary Architecture Branislav Nikolić

Multimedia installation, 2013/14 found wood, metal, 360 x 305 x 230 cm architect: Boban Mladenović video: Nebojša Vasić, Vesna Grba production: Urban Inkubator, Treći Beograd, Proart Org, Goethe Institut (Belgrade) and Memorijal Nadežda Petrović (Čačak) First SECONDARY ARCHITECTURE project was produced in the framework of Urban Incubator - a large scale art/architectural event of Goethe Institute that took place from March till November 2013 in Belgrade. Instead of making a sculpture of secondary raw material in the shape of a house, Nikolić joined forces with self-taught Roma ‘architect’ Boban Mladenović in order to build an ordinary slam house and place it at the gallery Magacin in Belgrade. A real slam house dislocated from its natural environment and placed in the gallery invited gallery visitors to think not only about the work of art, but about the social context as well. Second SECONDARY ARCHITECTURE project was produced in the framework of 27th Nadežda Petrović Memorial in Čačak in September 2014. Concept was the same but the result is always different due to the different material found. Boban Mladenović is living, with his family, in one such house in one of the many non-hygienic, slam settlements on the outskirts of Belgrade. He is well known in his community as the best builder, building houses and shacks for all his relatives and neighbors with secondary raw materials which he collects on the streets. 104

Several videos made by Nebojša Vasić and Vesna Grba were part of the work exhibited at both galleries. Two different time-lapse movies about the process of building a house were played to the audience inside the houses, on an old (second-hand) TVs. Short documentary video was played outside the houses, explaining the context of the project. At the moment, a long documentary movie about the ‘secondary architecture’ (architecture from found/used materials) is in postproduction. During the exhibition at the gallery Magacin, a panel discussion about slam architecture was organized. The panelists included the most important Serbian architects, urbanists and artists dealing with the subject, as well as members of Roma community in Belgrade.


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They all look up to eden and never look below Daniele Maffeis

collage of text and images from naturist magazines, scientific papers, renderings, 2016.

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There is something about nudity that in the right

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context can stir up the most fundamental questions—of identity, home, naturalness and even humanness itself (Barcan 2004a:25)

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udist camps

ave visited n

those who h ed to a much

s are controll

xual interest

agree that se greater exten t

than they are on the outsid e.


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Strict rules of behavior were enforced in the camps. ◊ Two grounds for expulsion are staring too hard and getting an erection. ◊ Dancing, drinking, touching, and unauthorized photographing were also grounds for expulsion, as was membership in the Communist Party, ◊ Body contact is taboo. Although the degree to which this rule is enforced varies among camps. Nudists mention that one is particularly careful not to brush against anyone or have any body contact, because of the way it might be interpreted

My wife and I were dancing clothed, because naturist dances are generally clothed. I took my glasses off so that we could get our cheeks close and we got reprimanded by the Trustees for that. This was 1994! James, 60s ◊ Discussion of sex, politics and religion are always off-limits. ◊ Moreover, since nudism could bring together people of different social classes, it is in bad taste to ask anyone’s profession. ◊ It is ill advised to ask anyone’s last name as well.

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The Nudist, and later Sunshine and Health, airbrushed the genitalia of men and women from many of its pictures to ensure the magazine would be sold on newsstands and delivered through the United States postal system.

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There were ideas about nudism that could be articulated publicily and those that could not, at least until the 1970s. Whether or not the anciens of the FFN [Fédération Française de Naturisme] ever wanted to admit in the 1970s and after, sexuality had always been the elephant in the room.

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NO STARING This rule functions to prevent any overt signs of “overinvolvement.” In nudist clubs, eyes were not to linger on others’ bodies. Le flirt was not accettable, as it undermined the very notion that nudism was less, not more, erotic. Photos are out of question. with my d even done away “I tried not to, an joking, lf ha someone said, sunglasses after e. Toar st sunglasses to that I hide behind weard pe op the summer I st wards the end of was a it t, ha nd you know w ing sunglasses. A this”. child who told me

EXPOSE FLACCID GENITALS This proves you are not a gawkers. Wear a t-shirt to protect from sunburn but nothing else.

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Rather than reading the beach as a simple power hierarchy where heterosexual males control this highly contested space, I read it as a zone of rearticulation, where bodies and pleasures are inscribed and transformed. In the complex flow of sexuality discourse on the beach, women and gay men disidentify with “proper” sexed and gendered norms and rearticulate the grounds on which their bodies come to matter. The naturism discourse describes public nudity as “health, beauty, and purity though nudity and light” (Merrill, 1931:10) whereas the discourse on sexuality describes public nudity as part of a move to sexual liberation and freedom from repression (Douglas, 1975: 29). Sexuality is therefore a contentious topic for nudists because of the negative connotations and implications of overtly sexual behaviors, e.g., arrests and the closure of what are commonly referred to as “nudist colonies”. ~~ [The] separation of heterosexual and homosexual space is integral to the understanding of “proper” forms of public nudity and the construction of proper “nudists”. Swingers and gay men are therefore not considered “proper” naturists because of their “overtly sexual” behaviors. Men at the Mill [gay nudists] are characterized by the straight beachers as having some kind of uncontrollable sexuality while their own, in contrast, is controlled by naturist discourse and the unwillingness and/or unavailability of many women. ~~ 132

While reifying dominant conceptions of normal and natural sexuality by relying on naturist discourse to mask sexual intent, the men also succeed in positioning women in a very traditional female sexual role--one that is passive and subject to male control and the male gaze. This speaks to part of the sexual discourse built up around women’s sexuality, e.g., if a woman is with a man then she is not sexually viable and therefore not approachable at a nude beach. Like the facade of naturist discourse, the men’s actions speak louder than words; by not engaging with “attached” women on the beach they are respecting another man’s ownership by keeping a distance. ~~ Therefore, in order to complicate the prevailing notion of the male gaze offered by feminists, who understand it as a kind of surveillance and control over the female body that acts to construct the female body as passive, I want to demonstrate how the act of gazing on the beach involves a complex and shifting set of power relations. What links gay men and women at Willow Beach is not only their seemingly marginal status in the sexuality discourses of the heterosexual men, but also their ability to rearticulate and redraw the boundaries of sexual subjectivity. While a hegemonic heteronormative construction of sexuality plays itself out in the small space at Willow Lake, this construction is continually contested by a variety of marginal discourses that have yet to be fully explored and illuminated.


looking mainly at the sky

looking manly down earth 133


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Increasingly Liberal Discourses* Found In Naturism To Manage Sexuality: 136

1.) a conservative discourse that discourages any link with sexuality based on normative and often n heterosexual values; 2.) a moderating discourse that encourages control and management of sexual feelings and behaviour;

B By re was s mastu exhib

3.) a sexological discourse that emphasises the educative effect on relationships with the opposite sex of seeing naked bodies in naturist environments; 4.) a pro-sexual discourse that acknowledges and celebrates social nudity as an aspect of sexual al experience and exploration.

IIn c com env inte exp


vealing body in everyday activities in a natural setting, naturism supposed to diminished “sexual perversion� (which had often meant urbation and homosexuality as well, as sex with multiple partners, bitionism, and voyeurism)) The current culture of social nudity (naturism) would appear from this evidence to discourage sexual feelings or physical arousal and label sexual exploration as sexual deviancy, thereby reinforcing a perception of sexual exchange as primarily penetrative as Bell and Holliday (2000) suggested.

contemporary society the only alternatives to private nudity are the virtual realities of mmercial pornography with its emphasis on nudity as always sexual, commercial sexual vironments such as swinging clubs which are often based on a prior knowledge of sexual erest and experience, or lap dancing clubs which play on the objectification and sexual ploitation of women and sustain sexism m Naturist environments potentially offer a unique space in which N people can explore the breadth of their sexual feelings in ways that are frank but non-exploitative.

* The modern literature on naturism has identified that the relationship between nudity and sexuality is controlled by particular sexual discourses which are dependent on the social, spatial and cultural context. 137


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Installing 1984 by Cruz Garcia & Nathalie Frankowski / WAI Architecture Think Tank

For an architect, in the instant that he has undivided attention of a patron with the power to realize his designs, literally nothing else matters; not a fire alarm, not even an earthquake; there is nothing else to talk about but architecture. -Dejan Sudjic, The Edifice Complex

sole object of attention. They are by lengths the most important buildings in the city. The towers deliver an explicit message of datum and order. Visible from any point in the city, the towers exploit the potential of architecture as iconography. They are archetypes of power.

The fully developed ability to say No is also the only valid background for Yes, and only through both does real freedom [begin] to take form. -Peter Sloterdijk, Critique of Cynical Reason

These concrete monoliths, three with facades perforated by square windows, the other one solid like a hermetic bastion, soar until reaching six hundred meters of height. Each of the towers represents one of the four governmental ministries: love, truth, peace, and plenty.

Minitrue 1984 “The Ministry of Truth –Minitrue, in Newspeak—was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, 300 meters into the air. From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party: WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY IGNORANCE IS STRENGHT. -George Orwell, 1984

City Four towers rise above the city like muscular trunks in a grass field. Their scale obliterates any possible question about the intentionality of their disproportionate size. The exaggerated disparity between them and the urban fabric could not have been accidental. The towers were unquestionably built to be the main focus, the 140

Competition The towers were not always there. For them to be completed an architect had to be chosen. The ministries of the newly established government have agreed on the importance of the architecture of the capital city. Having thought about the ideological infrastructure, the new buildings would be the physical incarnation of the governing body. After several months of coordination between the heads of government, the ministries joined to hold an invited competition for one architect to design their four headquarters. The contest called for a “series of monumental structures that through their form, and their use of image, outstandingly portray the values of society. Buildings capable of communicating the permanence and importance of the institutions they host.”


A group of famous architects —the best in the world— was invited to submit a project. An international competition, the architectural context attracted some of the most important designers ever to compete. All proceeding from the most exclusive architecture schools, having won the most prestigious awards, having served clients of serious gravitas.

physical models. Newspapers, magazines, TV shows, and radio programs flooded the public with newsflashes and continuous updates about the projects and the architects who designed them.

Without hesitation (how to resist such an important competition?) each one of the designers proposed a series of buildings of outstanding aesthetic quality. Although varying in form, the proposals recurred to a similar strategy: they were all architectural icons. Some of the projects were typical signature trademarks, buildings that responded more to a consistent development of the architect’s formal language than to the specificity of the competition’s program. Other proposals took a more generic approach presenting buildings with predictable aesthetics, market oriented architecture. One of the submissions stood out because of its obvious simplicity. Of all the projects it was the only one with four identical towers, consolidating with a single form the competition subtext to make the ministries appear like omnipresent manifestations of power.

Following the submission deadline, all the projects were displayed through a series of exquisitely arranged public exhibitions containing conceptual plans, detailed specifications, explanatory diagrams and all the

Celebration Bursting the bubble of suspense after some weeks the winner was announced. Following the award ceremony the Almanac of Contemporary Architecture, the most prestigious architectural publication, devoted twenty pages to the master architect under the title “Project 1984” featuring his watercolors, ink drawings, pencil sketches and some verses of poetry written in his sketchbook. 141


One of the pictures of the Almanac displayed a group of figures, between them members of the respective ministries, representatives of sponsor corporations, the architect, and some expert advisors looming perversely over an architectural model. The scaled construction of the master plan included a reduced version of the city and from four different points of the almost homogeneous composition of the low rise buildings on the surface, stood four behemoth towers of slender pyramidal shape and truncated tops. Strategically collocated at legible height, each one of the towers was engraved in the faรงade with the slogan of the ministries in bold, capital letters: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGHT.

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Il sole sorge ad Occidente Leone Contini

Disegni dell’artista e dei suoi interlocutori conosciuti in Albania, 2013. Nel tardo periodo comunista in Albania si costruivano antenne televisive artigianali - e al tempo illegali - per captare il segnale televisivo italiano. L’antenna era un “dispositivo relazionale”, creato per avvicinare l’“altro”, ma allo stesso tempo generava desideri allucinati e impossibili da soddisfare: attraverso la televisione italiana gli Albanesi idealizzavano i simulacri della società capitalista, in una tensione spasmodica verso una falsa promessa. Oggi, nell’era della comunicazione globale, questi dispositivi auto-costruiti sono diventati inutili (quasi tutti sono stati distrutti per recuperarne i metalli), e l’Italia non monopolizza più il desiderio collettivo dei propri vicini. Ma le antenne sopravvivono nella memoria di chi ha vissuto la transizione, e il fossile del segnale elettromagnetico italiano continua a fluire nel cielo tra i due Paesi.

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onMAPS#2  

onMAPS is collaborative project developed as a digital magazine focused on public space realized through contributions of artists, architect...

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