“…there are ten, twenty or a hundred Mediterranean seas.
Around the Mediterranean there are not two places that are the same. Sicily, rather than combines the fragments together, split in two the Mediterranean. North against South, East against West.” [Fernand Braudel The Mediterranean in the Ancient World, The Penguin Press, London 2001 (f.p.1998)]
Two diagrams, installed in the outdoor spaces of the Radicepura Foundation, used to catch “impressions” like a photo-camera. Thus, their outcomes arranged – installed – inside the Radicepura Foundation’s venue.
The diagrams represent four Mediterranean areas, North/South and East/West. They are thought to be relational devices that let visitors interact with the Radicepura spaces; also, they are a tribute to the XX Century photographic social tradition of the physiognomic investigation such as that of the great German photographer August Sander.
(from the exhibition The plural always outweighs the singular, Radicepura 2018)
Diagram #4 (Gazebo) is a composition of four pavilions placed on the gardens nearby the Glasshouse of the Radicepura botanical park. Each pavilion’s roof with a different primary color, together they recall the communication campaign and image of the Premier League: the most popular national league of the most popular sport in the world. A real Photo-Booth (reminiscent of Franco Vaccari’s Live Expositions), built to let Radicepura visitors dive in the colors of the globalization, although amplified by the Mediterranean summer light, and be part of a video catalogue (Story) of a multitude of self-portraits (Selfies).
Diagram #5 (Garden) is a squared flowerbed, divided into four areas by two intersected metallic bars, that match with the glasshouse’s architecture, the congress hall of the Radicepura botanical park.
The garden aims to underpin the value expressed by the foundation as a symbolic and functional collector of an international community revolving around the Mediterranean, with a social portrait of Mario Faro – CEO of the Radicepura Foundation, and of his international relations. Relatives, friends, guests are all invited to suggest a plant example that can be representative of, on a subjective perspective, their own elective place. Plants become kind of a botanical “madeleine”. Displaced on the appointed area of the diagram, they create a Mediterranean garden made of simple forms and yet, while growing, rich and elaborated.
In the indoor spaces, paper sheets would have displayed as printed forms that describe each donator’s choice.
Unfortunately, the dynamics suggested did not succeed and the work remained unfinished, leaving the small olive tree donated by the Radicepura’s founder, Venerando, alone. That may be because relational aesthetics do not reach enough grasp in an environment such as that of a south Mediterranean country like Sicily, whose economy is actually dominated by relational capitalism dynamics? I’m not sure but, at the end, this is the “impression” produced by the installed device.
The Power Of Love, documentary movie SD 14’, Digital Video from VHS footage (The Matrix by Andy and Larry Wachowski, USA 1999, Dark City by Alex Proyas, USA 1998), 2000.
The cut up of images taken from two box office blockbusters seek to demonstrate that love is a revolutionary force capable of coping with and overcoming the worst state of things. This strength is also the basis for critical reflection on the reasons for making art as the new century approaches, when we can see that The End of History hasn’t happened, at least yet.
The documentary’s discourse is a result of the relation of two levels of writing: one is inherent in the editing of various film excerpts (taken from The Matrix and Dark City) and the collection of texts extracted from several sources; the second is that between the two different writing contexts, film and literature, that play on each other.
Investigations is an installation composed of two elements: One is The Recapitulation Machine, a New Age title (from Carlos Castaneda) dedicated to a sound machine whose purpose is to set the viewer inside an environment made of sound frequencies, which are the basis both for rock and electronic music. The other, Feed The Dragon, is a double video projection of film sequences from Xich lo (Cyclo) by Tran Anh Hung (FRA 1995). The images on the left projection describe the spread of goods and luxury in the urban landscape of Saigon / Ho Chi Min City, while the others on the right are made of a sequence of cruel violence, which is needed to accomplish the new status quo.
The theory that the sole application of economic laws may be sufficient for the regulation of a complex process of integration of the global markets shows its limits, in spite of the vigorous acceleration that the process itself experiments in the last century. The two works on display are an attempt at decoding two of the maximum languages (pop music and film images), which are in use to build the cultural framework inherent in the process of globalisation.
*CANDY FACTORY PROJECTS is a Japanese based platform for international collaborative multimedia based art projects, a mobile art institution, organizing curatorial projects, exhibitions, web projects and publications based on long term collaborations.
Takuji Kogo, *CFP founder, has worked and developed projects with artists such as Thomas Bayrle, Federico Baronello, Mike Bode, Young Hae Chang Heavy Industries, Charles Lim Yi Yong, Keiichi Miyagawa, John Miller, Ola Pehrson and Sean Snyder. They transform standardized everyday life and the distorted landscape of the global economy into digital kaleidoscopes presented as pavilion sculpture using multi computer projections.
Federico Baronello has been a member of the Candy Factory Projects since 1999 and produced:
Ethical Bros is a multimedia art project, which took place in the period between 1996 and 2002. With the pivotal partnership between Federico Baronello and Maurizio Leonardi, the project developed further collaborations such as that with Massimiliano Sapienza (aka massimo).
Ethical Bros are interested in manipulation of the medium and supports, working on redundancy and reiteration of images, with a markedly “installational” emphasis to what they do. The work of the ethical brothers Federico Baronello and Maurizio Leonardi rests on the awareness of belonging to a total, homologating system, pushing their artistic analysis and intervention to the point where the practice of representation itself is considered the only object worthy of being represented. The choice of easily reproducible supports (digital video, graphic files, hypertext, videotapes, offset silkscreen matrices, etc…) is in line with the artists’ aim of forcing the outer limit, that’s to say the “frame”, of the work, constraining themselves, the medium in use, the audience involved, to declare, each time, their limits, collocation and real intentions.
Felicita Platania, text for the exhibition catalogue of ‘Unframed’, Palazzo della Triennale, Milano 1999.
100% (video remix), digital video 6’, 1997. A collection of images from the crime pages on the Sicilian newspapers. Criminal mug shots and dead victims, one after another through morphing transitions. The purpose of the work is to focus on the potential of visibility of signals, conveyed by the Media, which can provide an identity (in this case Sicily = Mafia but could also be Islam = Terrorism), while waiting for the evolution of the same surrogate identity into a dignified form.
©onciliation!, digital video (20’30”) + mixed media, 2000. ©onciliation! is the setting of a television studio, in which is displayed a talk-show, inside an art gallery. This setting reproduces the elements of a bar reduced to the essential: the bar and the table. Guests who have an institutional role in the Sicilian public life sit at the table. They are opposed to those at the bar, which in the pilot episode Sicilian Hospitality is occupied by foreigners who for years have been living and working in Sicily. Two TV monitors, projecting the talk-show demo reel, obstruct the entry on the set whose elements refer to the language of contemporary art (Pistoletto, Naumann, Tracey Emin, Maurizio Cattelan…). On the other site there’s a working table on which are displayed research materials, a mural painting with the ETHICAL Bros logo and the casting photos hang on the walls. ©onciliation! seeks to highlight, through the televised debate, contradictions, which are economical, cultural or arising from the relationship between local and global, in the Sicilian society, showing them as they are. In this way, as a paradox, ETHICAL Bros aspires to follow the narrative path traced by the masters of the Italian Neorealism.
Sicily: Tourism, Culture and Enhancement (in the works of J.W. Goethe and W. von Gloeden), documentary movie, SD 11’30”, 2000. In his Italian Journey, Goethe searches for the archetype of all plants, while immersed in the Botanic Gardens of Palermo, and for the archetype of the Western thought, considering the Odyssey epic while travelling around Sicily. Wilhelm von Gloeden, a German photographer living in Taormina in the early ‘900, is famous for having depicted the local youth, mostly with nude and equivocal poses, within neo-classical landscapes and settings. Under the Mediterranean sky both travellers free themselves from their own moral constraints through the exploitation of an idealised Sicily of classic origins. They act according to those industrial societies that, also through the exploitation and trade of resources from their colonies, were developing economies once only aimed at the production of goods for mere subsistence.