WRITTEN BY GIOVANNA PISACANE & MICAELA FLENDA

1. Adulthood often is associated with the end of amusement and the beginning of a social life that limits people’s genuine childish and carefree side. Can escapism be considered a way to nurture that side of life? A door to the real person, freed from any social norm?

I often interrogate myself about the notion of astonishment in relation to my own work and I think the most important thing for me is to keep an ongoing exercise aiming to regenerate that moment in which something is discovered, when something unexpected appears, revealing itself in some sort of oracular way. Amusement, in its common sense, belongs to the adult life more than to the child one, it is a quite rational concept after all. What often mutates over the years is the possibility of the surprise, of the excitement for what we don’t know, and how this sentiment is potentially embedded in the artifacts, events and contexts we relate with. In ancient greek there was a word to define a specific state of mind: thaumàzein; It somehow includes both the joy for a new discovery and the anguish for the unknown.  This tension between desire and fear is often suffocated during adulthood in favour of some sort of illusionary control over things.
I think most recent web based forms of escapism, like Second Life, pornography, gaming etc, give the possibility of emphasizing hierarchical structures and systems of power typical of our daily lives that in these cases can be inverted, subverted and easily modified. The web though gives the possibility of inhabiting multiple eras and contexts in an ongoing interchange between online and offline behaviour and this somehow opens up to emotional experiences possibly similar to the ones experienced by a kid.

 

2. Children can be evil. Entertainment can hide a dark side. How do you explore that part of humanity in your works?

I think we live in an era in which the relationship between evil and good is going back to some sort of grotesque/fairy dualism and at the same time it is merging into a condition that somehow excludes total absolutes. The political collapse that we are witnessing in most western countries and its social consequences are dramatic but they also contain a certain level of humour, triggering active reactions and beautiful memes. I am quite fascinated by this horizontal interchange between high and popular culture and I often put side by side elements apparently distant, like industrial production’s waste pieces, asian demon-inspired masks and natural fragments. Most of my work has to do with empathy existing between non-living things and with how material production relates to the transmission and interpretation of information. This approach inevitably contemplates the appearance and disappearance of dark corners, epiphanies and momentary settlements.

3. John Dewey, talking about Art, once said «Art is not the possession of the few who are recognized writers, painters, musicians; it is the authentic expression of any and all individuality. Those who have the gift of creative expression in unusually large measure disclose the meaning of the individuality of others to those others. In participating in the work of art, they become artists in their activity». In your opinion how does art challenge the concept of identity? And in what way is your artistic practice expression of your persona

I think the concept of Identity is becoming now more and more fluid. Everyone is paradoxically trying to emerge with a specific character but, at the same time, identity can not escape a multiplicity based on the fact that we all somehow adapt and change ourselves in relation to the specific context we are engaging with. I think art in this sense can become a place where all these different identities can be verified into something that should communicate, in a quite complex and dense way, the accumulation of experiences we establish with the world. Making art for me has a lot to do with empathy taking place between human beings as well as between what we usually define as non-living things, and this opens up to a constant interchange between subjective and collective identities.
Our Persona, however, implies a direct selection and control over our personality, it is the result of an effort to present a public character, often different from the private one. I think a good artist should reduce as much as possible the separation between his public persona and his deepest and emotional understanding of things. When I make work I often think about this and I like to conceive the work itself as a platform facilitating this process of mediation.

 

4. Fashion, photography, paintings, sculpture, poetry, architecture, design. They are all expressions of creativity. They are all connected. How do all these forms of art influence your work?  

Before studying art I was trained as a product designer and I think this had a strong influence on how I work now as an artist. I am very much fascinated by industrial processes and by the negatives that production leaves behind as a shadow. I also refer a lot to architecture especially in the relationship between what it means to create an artefact that can fill the space and, the other way round, what it signifies to display elements that define a space that can be filled. Architects creates spaces with people in mind, when I work with architectural displays I like to do same, facilitating relationship between objects and images rather than between human beings. In general I find very interesting and necessary to keep a borderless practice that, even rotating around a specific paradigm, can be influenced by multiple disciplines and context, not only relegated to the creative industry. Lately I have been making textiles using sand and I have just started conceiving them as something that could be worn and this is bringing me into a completely new context for me; I’m also composing a piece to be played using cactus spines  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .

Photo courtesy of Nicola Lorini.

NICOLALORINI.COM

Posted by:Micaela Flenda