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?

It’s sad to associate adulthood with the end of amusement. A bit blunt, or too black and white. It does take quite some effort to keep the carefree side, to stay pure-hearted throughout adulthood, but I wouldn’t say losing this state of mind is unavoidable – or rather I couldn’t bear the thought that everybody will loose it. I’d prefer to think that people say this as an excuse, to put the blame on someone else than themselves. In the same time being pure-hearted or carefree doesn’t mean not taking things seriously. Kids can take certain things very seriously, maybe even more so than a adult ever can. Escapism is certainly a childish way of dealing with things, but for myself escapism doesn’t manifest itself in a healthy way. It becomes more a way to avoid responsibility. I think fiction would be a better, more in depth way of opening up the real, pure hearted person, stripped from social norms. I’m thinking of the characters you want to be in a video game, the ones you relate to in science fiction movies. Who people choose to dress up as at a costume party, how they allow themselves to go crazy while hidden behind something. Maybe adulthood is the moment you realize you are not going to be who you imagined you could be when you were a child, and resign to accept your own little person. Projecting yourself in a world of fiction then becomes a moment where you can still dream of being who you aspire to be, who you think you are. I would argue that asking someone what their world of fiction is like would be the best way to see what they really think, feel and hope for.

 

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

I see my work as objects extracted from a fictional world. It definitely doesn’t embody the complexity of humanity, I wouldn’t know how to even begin to. As they are objects, I don’t incorporate these notions deliberately. On the other hand, thinking in terms of fictional works is really a way to get rid of some constraints. In this sense I’m not always trying to please the users, or trying to fit in the requisition of industrial design in general. I feel like a lot of present designers, or object makers are taking this stand. Maybe people have had enough of seeing and touching sleek and perfectly-executed design. It leaves out so much of individual initiatives, of the fingerprints that a person can leave on an object. Actually it does leave out so much of humanity that a person can leave on an object. Maybe you are right, maybe design is currently trying to explore other parts of humanity. Trying to explore how humans can get around objects that mirror something more than what we would like to show, whether it is ourselves or our objects. Trying to have something more than picture-perfect objects. But then it’s not something that appeared recently, it has always been around, gravitating around.

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

John Dewey’s quote is definitely on point, and I would also like to add to it that one’s individuality not only expresses itself in unusually large measures but also in smaller daily acts. Without over interpreting these daily acts, individualities are expressed in a way someone cooks, how someone speaks or uses public spaces. It is only a matter of acting them out consciously and seriously that daily inventions of life can enter or considered to be part of a work of art. Michel de Certeau theorised these thoughts in his book “The Practice of Everyday Life”.  Makers are usually subject to a compulsion to do things differently. I certainly fall in this category. Individuality, identity is inseparable from one’s production. For myself, my persona is expressed in merging, combining seemingly contradicting tools and materials, functions and forms. Materials not intended for object making, what I imagine to be materials of the twenty first century such as polystyrene, cardboard, rubber bands, different household goods or half-products actually. Misusing a machine for example, I’m using a sandblasting gun to solidify fragile materials, unify them and give them a specific texture. Redirecting the GPS a few degrees off could summarise the guiding line through out my work.

 

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? 

Of course all these practices are not only part of my interests, they feed and challenge my own practice. This is true for artists, but it also is the goal of all expression of creativity. How they influence my work is hard to say. But without them, without giving a thought to different practices, to look at the opposites and the similarities, life in general would be deprived of so much, wouldn’t it? Recently it is works of fiction that are leaving long lasting impressions on me. Naturally I try and hope for it to leak through my practice. Let’s see how these thoughts get digested.

 

Photo courtesy of Thomas Ballouhey.

THOMASBALLOUHEY.COM

Posted by:Micaela Flenda