site/situation-specific art

exercise in transmission


19 September 2020 – Habitat /scenari possibili, “Cultural Aperitif” curated by Francesca Guerisoli, Cernusco sul Naviglio, Milan.

This exercise is placed at the beginning of an exploration process that I intend to carry out on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), as tools and places to “inhabit” in order to set up relational and performative work on issues such as trust, consent, risk, desire and care.

The exercise began by explaining to the public that, in my way of thinking and producing performances, the relationship with the participants always involves a mutual act of trust for the realisation of the piece.
I went on to say that in order to reason together on the chosen theme of the event – the concept of transmission in contemporary art – I had prepared an exercise to be carried out together which involved wearing a surgical mask provided by me (either in place of their own or over their own) and previously manipulated by me without explaining how I did it, with a release form to be signed in order to legally allow this act.
When this step was meticulously performed by all the people willing to do the exercise, I sat on the chair, wearing my manipulated mask like those offered to the public, and I read a short text, lasting about 5 minutes, into the microphone. It was a cut-up that I made of some newspaper articles reporting the last conversations of Gloria Trevisan and Marco Gottardi with their parents, before they died in the Grenfell Tower fire in London, in June 2017.

The masks had previously been smoked by me and, after the short but difficult reading, I talked with the participants about the concept of transmission that I had expressed, associating sensoriality and emotional content within a relational dynamic that involved everyone present in perceiving, albeit for a few moments only, the same imaginary, with all the emotional drifts that stemmed from it.
We also analysed, thanks to the interventions of the other invited artists, Filippo Berta and Oppy De Bernardo, the value of having overturned the use of the personal protective device (the mask) which, from an element of separation, has become an element of sharing, a “bridge” (as defined by a participant) for an intense collective perception.

credits: Serafina Melone, Francesca Guerisoli, Nicolas Ceruti