Liceo Volta opened its doors to the ninth edition of the festival with an exhibition composed of installations, films and site specific interventions, conceived as a choreographic score that blends with the environment and the objects of the school. Video Sound Art invited the public to dwell on the remains, on the destiny we choose for wastes without place and category.
The questions revolve around the not yet, the future, what is left to imagine a space for revolutionary action and initiate a transformative act. The exhibition path ascends between corridors and stairs imbued with the presence of students. It is in the ascent that utopia turns into enquiry and the artists, surrounded by shiny tiles and mixing instruments, stake much of what is at stake on the reversal of point of view. “The stronger the content of the performance, the more the formal aspect needs to be developed. In chemistry labs, the works mix contradictory pairs – elegance and repulsive details – doubling visual perception. In the total scenic effervescence the unmasking takes place.
Laura Lamonea, curator of the project.
AUSATMEN, 2019 | Complex installation
Oli Bonzanigo focuses on the liquid meshwork of the circulatory system, with the breath of eleven physiologically nourishing aerosols, dissected between the repetitive washbasins of the chemistry classroom. Hand-engraved plates reconstruct the energy lines traced in an 18th-century Japanese medical book. Concentration increases with hyssop, a Mediterranean herb, and perhaps something else.
Hallenbad Project, 2003 – 2019 | Complex installation
Hallenbad Project is the testimony of a performance realised in three swimming pools – Milan, Pontresina and Sacca Fisola. The complex installation presents a meticulous reconstruction of the phases of the project: the preparatory drawings, the swimming costume, the white bandages, the video footage taken by the artist herself while she is swimming and by the crew that follows her as she walks with her equipment along the edges of the pool. In the photographic portraits she appears constrained but authoritative in her heavy armour. The sound installation – a reproduction of the pool in the school’s girls’ changing room – introduces us into a floating mental space within which we perceive the echo of the artist’s arm movements and breathing. Time is measured by the rhythm of breathing. The gesture combines spontaneity and precision, showing the inseparable relationship between body and mind. In her we find the essence of the dramatic fact: the existential dimension that Letizia Cariello presents to us crosses the centuries, has no temporal collocation, draws rhythm from the heartbeat and motivation from the inner impulse.
Medusa, 2019 | Complex installation
Algorithmic pitch stands between us and the city. On the large glass window of the chemistry classroom, a viscous black mass seems to expand without precise direction.
They cross the room suspended SCROLL, they are similar to DNA filaments, to the endless snake biting its own tail. The artist’s creative journey continues the direction taken in previous years, intent on giving form to abstract concepts through a process of perceptive and visual materialisation.
LIPS (Lost in Plain Sight), 2019 | Complex installation
Caterina Gobbi presents a complex installation composed of video and sculptural elements, using stucco and its speed of conching as a form of resistance to ideological oppression.
LIPS is Caterina Gobbi’s new production, designed during her residency period at the Palazzo Abatellis restoration workshop in Palermo and realised in the mountains of Courmayeur.
In the small room of the school’s female toilets, just as if it were an invitation to enter the installation, we meet Caterina’s body and voice. The video work, subdivided into five chapters, each of which takes its title from the phases of the metamorphosis of rocks, is a montage of films made since 2013.
Exotica, Erotica, Etc, 2015 | Video HD, 73′
Evangelia Kranioti, after spending months on a fleet of merchant ships, delivers to us, the viewers, the movement of the sea and that need to mythologise the other from oneself. Exotica, Erotica, Etc is a film about seafarers, shot between 2011 and 2014, a period in which she embarked on twenty merchant ships. Alone, without her crew, she filmed over 450 hours of footage that went into the making of the documentary, which premiered at the Forum at the 2015 Berlinale.
All the time I wasted with you ain’t ever been a wasted time, 2019 | Site specific intervention
Cecilia Mentasti insinuates herself into the interstices of the school walls, covering the cracks with layers of stucco, deconstructing in its essentiality the compact order of things assumed. The entire exhibition is silently complicit in the intervention of the artist, who seems to medicate the space in its cracks and wounds of time, now healed by shiny material such as marble. The technique is combined with the artist’s quest for delicacy, charm and discretion.
Los durmientes, 2014 | Film 4K, 16′.01”
The installation Los durmientes exhibited for the first time at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris deals with an episode from the Chilean dictatorship: the victims, some of whom are still alive, were thrown into the sea from helicopters tied to railway sleepers. The title in Spanish means both asleep and railway sleepers.
Punto de fuga al profundo horizonte, 2019 | Video HD , 4’31”
Punto de fuga al profundo horizonte is a repetition but also an act of resistance. It symbolises the resilience of the world. This video does not only represent the sea in its literal sense, but you, me, the other, the friend, the stranger, the ‘other’ world that the media is abandoning for lack of interest, it is the immigrant, the person without a place to return to, the sunken ship, the silent lament of the earth when it meets the sea.
Mi vedi?, 2019 from the film Non è amore questo | Video HD, 33’30”
Mi vedi? is the title of Teresa Sala’s work fragmented into a multi-screen installation; the film tells the sexual and sentimental story of Barbara, a woman with disabilities.
The complex installation Mi vedi? comes from the film Non è amore questo, an intimate narration of Barbara’s life. We enter her everyday life through her memories and desires, without censorship.
Atlas of the wounded buildings, 2016 | Sculptures and video HD, 12’56”
The artist walks through a city. It matters little where it is, in Europe, in one of the many streets where not even a century ago the buildings were destroyed by bombing and scarred by war. He is looking for these very traces, trying to read the buildings as if they were a book, to watch them as if they were a documentary. The testimonies, however, are disappearing, not only because those who lived through those moments are no longer there, but also because the signs, sometimes thought to be indelible, are being removed or neglected. Buildings have been rebuilt, renovated, plastered, whitewashed. Bullet holes can barely be seen. Yet they tell of a past that is not remote, on the contrary, and should draw attention to what might happen again, to the ebbs and flows of history. They suggest narratives, they are a time machine.
Land Shape #1, 2019 | Video HD, 4’50”
We look through the eyes of a machine: lines, rectangles, squares. A view of wheat fields that reveals geometric shapes and describes a landscape that has been removed from ‘nature’. We also see: beauty, precision, destruction. Through a bird’s-eye view, Thadeusz Tischbein examines what this visual information can tell us about the relationship between the landscape and its use, about a machine-made world, about the impulse to put it in order.
Who was the last to have seen the Horizon, 2018 | Video HD, 6’15”
Driant Zeneli’s work starts by redefining the concepts of failure, utopia and dreams. With biting irony, his videos tell stories set in infinite spaces with no boundaries, just as the aspirations and dreams that inhabit them do not. The gaze of Driant Zeneli’s characters, and with them that of the viewer, is always turned upwards, striving for the elsewhere and exploring the unknown.
Those who tried to put the rainbow back in the sky, 2012 | Video HD, 7’50”
In Those who tried to put the rainbow back in the sky a rainbow falls from the sky onto the boat on which the three characters in the video are standing. The rainbow is a symbol of the utopia of building a society, and a metaphor for democracy and shared values. In fact, what Zeneli is interested in is the human aspect of the events. His research, full of imaginative power, dialogues with historical and political events and current events.
Too late, 2008 | Video, 01′
In Too Late the shadow cast on the ground represents the irrational human attempt to measure, control and force it. For Driant Zeneli, the impossible and paradoxical endeavours, doomed to all but ineffective failure, are occasions for rebellion against the logic of functionality.
After Unknown Journeys, 2019 | Installation
Fascinated by the tales of Drexciya and other legendary civilisations, Davide Zulli conducts his artistic practice like an archaeologist operating between reality and fiction. After Unknown Journeys presents a layering and mingling of contrasting elements, on the one hand the canvases whose writings represent a gesture of aggression, the will to rebel against an oppressive system that is reduced to a destructive action and manifestation of the ego; on the other hand the materiality of the casts and their being connected to the artist’s meticulous search for a point of balance. The casts made from artificial and natural objects, real and from the future, create a mixture of different temporalities, of nature and technology, allowing one to imagine something that may go beyond the future dictated by the current state of things.
Ghost track, Lino Palena
The day I took lithium and shaved my head, 2019 | Film