group exhibition held in December 2019 in 9H Hotel Otemachi / Tokyo, Japan
artists: Michele Bazzoli, Matteo Gatti, Ayako Hirogaki, Francesco Pacelli, Andrea Samory
a project curated by Andrea Samory
text by Marcello Barison
Starting from the late Seventies, several economic, social and political phenomena contributed increating a “dystopian” cultural trend, especially in thefield of cinema and comics, where the futureworld is represented not as the effect of an idyllic development at a high technological level, butas a hell of terror where the rise of scientific progress goes hand in hand with the nightmares of anihilistic and manipulative society. Many examples can be cited, from the post-apocalypticdistortions of theMad Maxsaga (1979) to the disorienting civilization of Blade Runner (1982), movingthrough the Xenomorph drawings (1979) by H.R. Giger. In the finale of the movieAkira(1988), thebody of the characterTetsuo turns into a huge shapeless and tentacular amoeba capable ofengulfing the entire universe, while ineXistenZ (1999) by David Cronenberg, cyberpunk ismorphologically integrated with the organic and everything becomes a connection system both realand virtual.In all these cases the determining factor is that the dystopian element, at oncedisturbing and destructive, is made manifest by a deformation of the body.It is hence within this bio-horror reality that the collective exhibitionTetsuo’s bodyinvestigateshow corporality could be affected, remodeled and multiplied by the historical split that an entiregeneration is now undergoing: on one hand, the environmental and political catastrophism of thepresent, and on the other, the almost fideistic promise of a future completely redeemed bytechnology. Stuck in the middle, the flesh is deformed by these two morbidly rhetorical andunrealistic perspectives.The“Assemblage Theory 2.0”*developed by Manuel De Landa,namelythe tendency to assembleapparently unrelated bodies-simulated anatomical portions, inorganic elements, vegetal andanimal structures, digital devices, instruments, proliferating cellular enlargements, fabrics and toolsof various kinds, etc.-seems to define the polymorphic-dystopian body in perhaps the mostaccurate way. De Landa’s proposalestablishesa very clear distinction between organism andassemblage. Both indicate entities produced by the integrated union ofheterogeneous parts, butunlike the organism, an assemblage also includes the possibility of incorporating any kind of cosmiccomponent, therefore also inorganic. Everything, from the molecule to the ecosystem, can beconceived as an assemblage.Furthermore, the assemblage is the result of an operation of interlocking, confusion and montagethat unites whilst maintaining the distinctions. The material synthesis of the assemblage, in fact, isan extreme symbiosis between living and non-living elements, instilling in the material, not withoutirony, a desire for a future that has sometimes the character of nightmare.Similarly, the assemblage emerges in the off-site exhibition as a mad plastic ecosystem thatproduces unexpected and deformed connections within the pristine and identical pods of a CapsuleHotel in Tokyo. The stake, as in theTetsuo’s Bodyproject, is not to propose linear hierarchies orfiliations, but to contaminate objects and fears, inventing and propagating, through a polymorphicand dystopic extension of the body, an incurable epidemic of matter.
*Manuel De Landa, A new Philosophy of society: Assemblage theory and social complexity(2006);Assemblagetheory(2016)
Ph credits Martin Holtkamp and Maaserhit Honda
other artists' works from the exhibition