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Mineo (Homes for America), photo installation 2014. Inkjet prints on baryta paper mounted on plasterboard panels, variable dimensions.

One of the largest centers for asylum seekers in Europe is located in the former homes for the American soldiers stationed at Sigonella, which is itself the largest military base in the Mediterranean. The title (Homes for America) refers to the work published by Dan Graham on Arts Magazine, December 1966. Also, the documented landscape references the Townships photographed by David Goldblatt. Both references contain connotative meanings and suggestions that reflect on the meaning of citizenship in the era of globalization.

INDIGENATION-4650

Installation view at the solo show ‘Indigenation’ at the Brodbeck Foundation, Catania 2016. 22 Inkjet prints mounted on plasterboard panels. 1 print, dimension cm.168×75; 8 prints, each dim.cm.75×112; 1 print dim.cm.168×112; 8 prints each dim.cm.50×75; total size of the installation cm.250×960.

Naval Air Station Sigonella “The Hub of the Med” is a U.S. Navy installation in Sicily, Italy. It is located at some 40 km south of Mount Etna. Because of its location near the center of the Mediterranean Sea, NASSIG is the Navy’s second largest security command, second only to that located at Naval Support Activity Bahrain. In 2011, after the Navy considered ending its lease for family housing in Sicily, it had closed the Mineo housing area. Mineo housing area was leased by Pizzarotti & Co. to the Italian government as a housing center for asylum seekers, many of them refugees from the “Arab spring” revolts in Tunisia and other North African countries. It has since grown notorious in local media and among immigration advocates, who say the facility puts too many people in units, with little access to health care and little progress on their cases.

WELCOME “Benvenuti!” On behalf of the entire Housing staff, welcome to your new home! Our purpose is to provide you with adequate, safe, and secure living quarters, and to support you and your family while you reside in the Mineo Housing Complex. The Mineo Trouble Call Desk provides assistance to meet routine, urgent, and emergency breakdowns or repairs not deemed the responsibility of the resident in accordance with the lease. It is your responsibility to promptly report any maintenance issues which may cause structural damage to your unit or effect habitability […]

RESIDENT RESPONSIBILITIES Residents are required to keep the Housing staff informed of any changes in projected rotation date, home and mobile telephone numbers, or people other than immediate family living in your quarters. Preventive Maintenance Inspections (PMI) are a requirement according to the Lease and are not optional […] Be advised that you will be held financially liable for returning quarters to the original condition upon check-out […]

Guests are welcome to visit you and your family while you reside in the complex, but please ensure your guests comply with all Security regulations. You, as the sponsor, will be held accountable for the actions of your guests […] Maintain your household noise to a minimum, keep your yard and carport areas tidy and clean, and be respectful towards your neighbors […]

Housing inspectors make rounds within the complex on a daily basis. If, during these inspections, they notice that residents are not in compliance with any rules and regulations, they may issue either a “friendly reminder” or a “violation notice”.

VADEMECUM According to the Dublin Regulation (no. III 1. 604/13) you cannot decide freely in which Nation to request protection […] For the Regulation, a “citizen of a third country” is any person who is not a citizen of European Union or who is not a citizen of a State which doesn’t subscribe to the Regulation for doing an agreement with the Union […]

During the procedure to establish whether Italy is the competent country to examine the request for asylum, your status on the Italian territory is therefore that one of an asylum seeker […] The law establishes that you may seek the assistance of a lawyer. If you are unable to pay a lawyer, you may do a petition for receiving free legal assistance (sponsored by the Nation) […]

If they send you to CARA they will give you a nominal certificate (a paper where your personal data and your legal condition are reported). So, they will give you an appointment at the police office. The police will make you some photos and will take fingerprints (“foto segnalamento”). Later, they will give you an appointment to formalize your application […]

If you decide to benefit of the welcome procedures of the CARA, your stay here last the necessary time  to obtain the documents and, once you obtain your permit of stay, you must leave the Centre.

EUR_Libya, photographic series, Giclée prints on cotton paper on dibond panels, variable dimensions, 2010-12.

With his new photographic project, shown now for the very first time after two years in production, Federico Baronello analyzes the symbolic representation of power in its purest form, through architecture. The starting point for his research is the «Fascism embodied in stone» mentioned by the Italian historian Emilio Gentile: the ideology of power illustrated by the magnificent buildings of Italian rationalism spread between the two poles of new Fascist Rome, the Foro Italico and EUR.

EUR-3779, installation view at the group show 'The Materiality of a Dream' at the Brodbeck Foundation, Catania 2013.

Left: EUR-3779, installation view at the group show ‘The Materiality of a Dream’ at the Brodbeck Foundation, Catania 2013.

Already its title, EUR_Libya, points to the paradoxical sense of the work. The artist further suggests a metaphysical aspect: the architecture depicted appear as archeological monuments abandoned in the empty midday sun, reminiscent of the De Chirico’s Italian Piazza, but also of the Italian colonial landscapes in Africa.

EUR-3779, installation view.

EUR-3779, installation view.

Lost in time, a surreal landscape fixed in sunlight, monumental but empty, silent, found here in Italy, but it could be anywhere in the Mediterranean or even in Africa. Indeed, on closer observation, the architecture in the photographs of Federico Baronello is transformed through a surreal manoveur by the very transgressive nature of the artwork itself (i.e. the photo-montage).

EUR_3779 Headquarters of the Central Bank of Libya at the “Palace of Civilization and Work” designed by Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto La Padula, Mario Romano, 1938-43.

EUR_3779
Headquarters of the Central Bank of Libya at the “Palace of Civilization and Work” designed by Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto La Padula, Mario Romano, 1938-43. dim.cm.150×100.

A visual strategy inherited from the Dadaist who through the process of appropriation and de-contextualization developed the neo-avantgarde criticism during the ’60s and ’70s. However for Baronello the combination and overlapping of images and places, reminiscent of the strategy of visual artists such as Hans Haacke, without any direct bearing, does not embody the same ideological criticism. Baronello’s investigations are not a work about the real, as is the case of the German-American artist, but rather it is about the freedom of imagination, the utopia of the possible, inscribed by a minimal and discreet gesture.

As if Libya, or better North Africa, according to the definition of the ancient Greeks and then the Latins, might become Rome, and Rome in turn could really become the capital of a unified Mediterranean world. By inquiring into the meaning of Fascist architecture today, the artist questions the political and symbolic role of the institutions and of the cultural landscape in its broadest sense. In these photographs the ideological result of architecture undergoes a profound transformation, as if the original imperialist ideology had passed through the anthropophagous assimilation theorized by Brazilian modernist Oswald de Andrade, as the ultimate destiny of colonialism.

An economic post-colonialism, indeed. The names and logos of national companies that have long held trade and economic relations with Gaddafi’s Libya, appear as imprints on the surface of the «Fascism embodied in stone» photographed by Federico Baronello.

Anna Cestelli Guidi, presentation text for the solo show at the galleria collicaligreggi, Catania 2013.

Also, see the interview by Giuseppe Mendolia Calella (in Italian)

Portopalo, photographic installation, Durst Lambda prints on paper, variable dimensions, 2009.

Although it may seem paradoxical, “landscape” is a fundamental and recurrent theme of Modernism. So is it for those contemporary artists who through modernist models and structures once again put our way of seeing the landscape on the line. This practice clearly does not stop at the optical effect alone (or the “small pleasures”) but acts as a genuine investigative process. In this active exercise, the research (of documents and practices) overlaps with the taking apart and recomposition of the geographic and social space.

Portopalo. Installation view at the group show PPS - People and Landscape of Sicily at Palazzo Riso, Regional Museum of Contemporary Art, Palermo 2010.

Portopalo.
Installation view at the group show PPS – People and Landscape of Sicily at Palazzo Riso, Regional Museum of Contemporary Art, Palermo 2010.

Jean François Lyotard discerned how in the dominant capitalist society, signs are immediately and totally transformed (and neutralized) in information. Breaking the traditional alliance or uniformity of purpose that bound art to Capital, some artists have taken the trouble to dismantle the information and restore the value and fullness of the signs.

For some years now, Federico Baronello’s work has efficaciously pursued this line. The works presented at the gianluca collica gallery of Catania show us a landscape; a very precise landscape, that of Portopalo and the southwestern Ionian Sea. In this landscape (presented through photographic prints and full-HD video) the information is profuse and different: the realization and the installation of sculpture groups along the Portopalo promenade, by the local parish priest Don Palacino, in memory of the 283 migrants drowned off Capo Passero in 1996 (with a religious-pop aesthetic, with obvious though surely unconscious references to Picasso as well as Ed and Nancy Kienholz); the probable installation again in the same waters off Portopalo, by the Institute of Nuclear physics, of an immensely powerful underwater telescope, a kind of antenna devised to reveal astrophysical neutrinos of the highest energy; the remains and markings of Islamic culture “etched” onto the seized fishing boats in the port of Portopalo.

In Baronello’s works, all these pieces of information reacquire the meanings of a story but above all are presented as signs of modernity: useful signs enabling us to understand also what we see.

Giovanni Iovane, presentation text for the solo show Portopalo at the gianluca collica gallery, Catania 2009.

Also, see Francesco Lucifora interview (in Italian)!

Footnote

Footnote

Tokyozilla, documentary movie, SD 38’, 2002-03.

Will humanoid robots be yet another new technology designed to change our lives? Metropolitan train rides take us to encounters with numerous robots, from the top star Asimo and the – once – best selling Aibo to the more R&D projects, demonstrating their extraordinary abilities. The meetings and interviews with researchers and engineers at the Honda and Sony headquarters, specialists research centres, science museum and robotic shop, are the stopping points of an original journey in Tokyo.

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Tokyozilla, still from the movie.

We do not know whenever humanoid will be products ready for mass consumption. In any case, the testimony of a (failed, it seems) moment of passage, from the manufacture of prototypes to commercial production of robotics, together with its operating environment, could at least suggest a conciliatory solution to the dispute on the origins of the world.

Image

Tokyozilla, still from the movie.

Image

Tokyozilla, still from the movie.

 

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.

The Power Of Love, 2000.Still from Digital Video from VHS footage (The Matrix by Andy and Larry Wachowski, USA 1999, Dark City by Alex Proyas, USA 1998) 14’.

The Power Of Love.
Still from documentary movie.

The Power Of Love, 2000.Still from Digital Video from VHS footage (The Matrix by Andy and Larry Wachowski, USA 1999, Dark City by Alex Proyas, USA 1998) 14’.

The Power Of Love.
Still from documentary movie.

*Candy Factory Projects

*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:

'Online Ads' from Kitakyushu Biennial World Tour 2013, installation view at the Olica Phone Center, Catania 2013.

‘Online Advertisements (from #1 till #13)’, short ad messages to learn Italian / Japanese while singing and having fun.
Installation view from Kitakyushu Biennial World Tour 2013 at the Olica Phone Center, Catania.

ONLINE_ADS_1

ʻOnline Adsʼ (with Takuji Kogo), installation view at *Candy Factory Projects in Rome, AuditoriumArte – Rome 2012.

Installation views of ʻOnline Adsʼ at *Candy Factory Projects in Rome, AuditoriumArte - Rome 2012.

ʻOnline Adsʼ (with Takuji Kogo), installation view at *Candy Factory Projects in Rome, AuditoriumArte – Rome 2012.

EUR (with Takuji Kogo), still from two Shockwave Flash movies, length 3'44'' and 4'34'', 2011.

‘EUR ROME’ (with Takuji Kogo), Arab Spring’s aftermath in Rome.
Still from two Shockwave Flash movies, length 3’44” and 4’34”, 2011.

'Vittoria', installation view at the group show 'IMIN' Kitakyushu Biennial, ex-JR Kyushu office bldg., Moji-Ko Kitakyushu (Japan).

‘Vittoria’ (with Takuji Kogo), a project about large scale Sicilian cherry tomato production backed by Romanian and Tunisian migrants.
Installation view at the group show ‘IMIN’ Kitakyushu Biennial, ex-JR Kyushu office bldg., Moji-Ko Kitakyushu, Japan 2009.

'Portopalo', installation view at the 'IMIN' KB.

‘Portopalo’, a comparative aesthetics between religions in the global age.
Installation view at the ‘IMIN’ KB 2009.

'Lampedusa (How To Reach)', installation view at the group show 'Cute or Creepy?' Kitakyushu Biennial, ex-JR Kyushu office bldg., Moji-Ko Kitakyushu, Japan 2007.

‘How to reach Lampedusa’ (with Takuji Kogo), a promotional video clip for the holiday resort on the border of Italy next to an African asylum seeker’s detention center.
Installation view at the group show ‘Cute or Creepy?’ Kitakyushu Biennial, ex-JR Kyushu office bldg., Moji-Ko Kitakyushu, Japan 2007.

'Librino New Town Project' (with Takuji Kogo), a re-mix and Japanese dubbing of a TV documentary about squatters in abandoned public housing project in Sicilia designed by the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. Installation view at the group show Transformer (with Candy Factory), Akiyoshidai International Art Village, Yamaguchi, Japan 2005.

‘Librino New Town Project’ (with Takuji Kogo), a re-mix and Japanese dubbing of a TV documentary about squatters in abandoned public housing project in Sicilia designed by the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange.

librino@AIAV2

‘Librino New Town Project’ (with Takuji Kogo), installation view at the group show Transformer (with Candy Factory), Akiyoshidai International Art Village, Yamaguchi, Japan 2005.