It has just ended in Modena at the new space MATA an interesting exhibition curated by Fulvio Chimento and Luca Panaro. MATA, the Tobacco Factory acronym, is the new space dedicated to the culture created by the city of Modena to host wide-ranging cultural events. The exhibition Effimera. Relazioni disarmoniche (Ephemeral. Disharmonious relationships) hosted works created by Eva and Franco Mattes, Carlo Zanni and Diego Zuelli bringing to town an exhibition with an international aim.
The title is inspired by the animal species with the shortest life on earth, the Ephemera, a curious aquatic insect (like a dragonfly) whose existence lasts about an hour and a half. Effimera is an exhibition with an experimental focusing on New Media Art including Italian artists born in the seventies that use a highly innovative technological device. We met the curators to deepen directly with them some perspectives related to their exhibition.
How did the idea of this exhibition? What are the possibilities of New Media Art?
Effimera inspired by the desire to give impetus to a critical path related to the interaction between art, technology and communication. Art as continuous updating of present day, in which the artist mastering sophisticated technological equipment and knowing the dynamics of the new media communication, returns to play a leading role within the society. One of Effimera characteristics is the coexistence of works related to New Media Art included in an exhibition (500 square meters) that could be called "immersive" and "almost environmental." The potential of New Media Art are really big, because it shifts the artistic investigation almost exclusively on the content, the message, freeing itself from aesthetic constraints linked to the production of artistic artifact, and offering ideas that allow us to wonder about what is now the role of art and critic in the society.
Can you tell us some important artworks housed in the exhibition?
One of the aims of the artists in the exhibition is to keep "wild" the web creative space, seen as a place where you can communicate in a “star” way: art as a system of signals that the travelers are launched in the night said Nietzsche in reference to the fact that art connects remote "foreigners", ie those who do not know each others. Each artist brought in the exhibition at least an unpublished work, among these you could find Image Search Result (2016) by Eva and Franco Mattes reflecting on the topic of data mining, the data analysis system that allows multinationals to intercept and influence the indexing of links on our pc. Carlo Zanni presents Dany the Father & Refuse Thy Name (2016), in which an iPad in search of sites created in Flash has been installed on the wall at the height of 250 cm from the ground, that is the artist's height added to that of his son: the observer is then in the position of a child who listens his father talking, but here an ambivalent technology takes the father’s place. Diego Zuelli, in 8 minuti luce (2016), a 3D artwork, creates a projection: a sun in slow and continuous rotation for eight minutes (the time necessary to sunlight to reach the Earth) gives way to pure white. The artist alludes to that hypnotic dimension in which is our look when into relationships with a media.
Unlike other cities that have had a decrease in budget and attention for contemporary art, Modena is going against the grain. In this perspective could Effimera become an annual or biannual event dedicated to New Media Art?
Modena is a city that over the years has proven to support innovative leaps, and this is also showed on this occasion: it is one of the first times in Italy that an exhibition devoted to new media art is housed in a public museum. At the moment we have no particular certainties but our hope is that the cooperation with MATA can continue in close synergy. Effimera, in fact, has a large attractive potential, at national and international levels. In its first edition it was able to attract the interest of the critics and the press as well as the curiosity of people from outside of the art field; So we hope to be able to continue on this path. However, it is equally strong our desire to conceive Effimera as a broader platform that can cross the walls of a city, taking different forms and meanings depending on the surrounding.
One of the most interesting aspects of the exhibition was also the relationship between the viewer and the work, that is between work and spectator enjoyment. How important is to communicate and stimulate a conscious attitude and also critical in organizing an art exhibition?
It was pleasant to observe and interact with the audience of Effimera because, unlike other exhibitions, the audience has felt in the middle of a large installation, notwithstanding the distinction of style and content of the respective artists. More user than spectator, the visitor has fully been involved, stimulated by images and sounds but also unexpected encounters, the path of the exhibition was a crescendo of acquired awareness of strictly contemporary issues. The urgencies and fragility of our times, mediated by a technological device, were the main characters of the exhibition experience.
Can new technologies assist the art to bring groups of people that always feel excluded from art as an expression of a privileged class membership?
To organize an art exhibition equals today more than ever to send messages that have a big impact on the present, as well as to show an overview of the works of the artists. In this Effimera has hit the mark, approaching an audience unsuspecting of certain phenomena, which was related to the exhibition as an extension of their daily lives. So yes, the new media can bring people, they do so because almost everyone knows how to use them for utilitarian purposes, so it intrigues to evaluate new uses and possibilities that only artists are able to articulate. Because this is what the artist does, he uses the means deconstructing than its habitual use. What the art is still struggling to do, but soon it will have to repent, is the creation of new platforms for the use and sale of the works, which will replace the nineteenth-century liturgy that still accompanies the art world.