VOGELKOP BALLAD

solo exhibition curated by Rossella Moratto

 

from November 23rd to December 14th, 2018

at Spazio Display, Parma, Italy

text by Rossella Moratto

 

Boundaries between nature and culture are illusive: planet's anthropization radically reduced this distinction, making topics such as natural and artificial, organic and inorganic permeable. In the Anthropocene the dualisms are overcome and bastardized by the reception of their opposite, crossed and inextricably linked to each other even if their ghosts still persist as echoes of a nostalgic lack of certainties that characterizes our costantly changing contemporaneity; as direct heirs of the short century, we struggle to adapt to it. In such a scenario where traditional categorisations are difficult to understand and new paradigms are needed to describe this condition of perennial transit – where genetic mutations, climate change, migrations aren't but the most visible consequences - deviance is no longer exception but norm, while the concept of monstrosity can be identified as the normal outcome of a natural-cultural evolutionary process of inevitable classificatory reorganization. Adaptation and biotechnological evolution inevitably lead to the extinction or fusion of known species and to the birth of new ones, more resistant and performing, rhizomatically interconnected by unprecedented ties.

 

The biological plan is inextricably linked to the technological, social and political ones in a complexity that requires cross-border, antidualistic representations of the contamination in progress, able to found a new epistemology for the multiplicity of the living. In processing and elaborating alternative models, art plays a non-marginal role. Starting from observing a present filtered and diffracted by the prism of imagination, artistic act is able to envisage forms, figures and scenarios of a possible near future - which has already happened.

 

According to this vision, the Vogelkop bowerbird, a typical bird from New Guinea, represents a paradigmatic figure: by collecting objects from industrial waste fragments to organic materials for seductive and decorative purposes both in the courtship ritual and in making the nest, this animal makes an evolutionary leap such as to be considered a particular and different species from the family it belongs. Francesco Pacelli chose this peculiar bird as a metaphor for creating an imaginary scenario, both plausible and probable, where contaminated species live. Biology and technology are fused together in creating new technorganic entities that can be intended as socio-cultural constructs. An empty nest (The anachronism of the species makes us very fragile) with a slashed surface apparently supported by a luminous filiform branch; a group of hybrid stalactites and stalagmites (Cas9) whose millennial sedimentations generated teeth; some corals (Exodus) with tiny eyeballs that, detached from the body, spread virally like microprosthesic explorers - perhaps predators - of a constantly unknown habitat due to its transformation speed; two plastic caps (The tripophiles), maybe primordial helmets for virtual journeys or calcified exoskeletons awaiting organs, coexist with invisible presences, revealing themselves through disharmonic noises and sounds in the rhythmic pattern of the freefall of a drop reverberating in the environment (Contemporary soup). In this scenario a ping-pong ball, reassuring witness of our time, brings us back to the present. A today in which the organism-to-cyborg transaction has already taken place and "biological organisms have become biotic systems, communication tools like any others"(3). Irriducibly heretical, they escape rigid given definitions and, even if conditioned, able to condition our vision of the world as "inspiring imaginative resources"(4). Francesco Pacelli's diorama is a laboratory simulation made with heterodox materials - resin, pigments, industrial glazes, ceramics, led lights - treated using mixed techniques - traditional sculpting merged with contemporary digital manufacturing tools. Technology, industry and craftmanship are put together, experimenting with pluridisciplinary knowledge and  practices where objects are complex and inclusive, hybrid forms of matter and language.

(3) Donna Haraway, Manifesto cyborg. Feltrinelli, Milano, 1995

(4) Ivi p. 23

ph credits Luca Tavera