June 2 Phenomena- a journey around audiovisual art-science

Although it launched without a defined theme linking all the presentations and performances, Subtle Technologies maintained a structure that has proven quite successful in its previous instances: it comprised of a screening, a performance, an exhibition and a symposium rich of the most diverse projects and collaborations.  To kick off the festival was the screening by the two Italian curators Marco Mancuso and Claudia D’Alonzo.

preceded by a reception to allow the participants to meet and introduce each other, the two curators gave us one of the most fascinating and compelling screening to ever grace the festival (and this is not because I was the organizer, they really put together an incredible, qualitatively excellent show).

the screening was possible thanks to a three months collaboration between the curators (who operated as spokespersons of Digicult  a very well received online, bilingual publication whose founder is Mancuso himself) and Subtle Technologies.

under the title-umbrella “Phenomena-a journey around audiovisual art-science” the screening comprised of two parts, each being independently curated, though tightly connected. in fact,  Hidden Worlds, as Marco defined it, can be considered a more didactical, historical endeavor, showcasing the modalities that artists have used to portray natural, mathematical and chemical phenomena, as well as the different perspectives (aesthetic and technical) through which artists have chosen to convey scientific principles.

above: Thorsten Fleisch, Energie! (GER  2007) 5’18’ col

Courageous and somehow shocking, Claudia’s screenings “Quando L’Occhio Trema (when the eye flickers)” zoomed into one specific phenomenon, the exploration of the flickering technique, providing the audience a tool to understand the chameleon-like capacity of the artist not only to experiment and  explicate the technique but also to use the public as an active reactor and a part of the experiment.

Above: Otolab-  Vagina Cosmica (ITA 2009) 4’50”, col.

While most audience was utterly mesmerized and deeply fascinated by Marco’s showcase of Thorsten’s FleischEnergie,” Evelina Domnitch and Dmitri Gelfand Camera Lucida” and “10000 Peackock feathers in foaming acid“, Semiconductor‘s “Black rain” or John N. Campbell “Li”,  I was rather disappointed to see that not many people seem to be prepared to the work proposed in Claudia’s screenings. In fact, it appeared that some audience didn’t accept to exit their comfortable position as simple observers, or they were scared by the warnings (that we had to announce) regarding the presence of stroboscopic lights. some had problems coping with an art form that aggressed the viewer rather than simply pleased, or entertained him/her. Regardless, it was interesting to see the reactions of the audience, from disturbed, to timid, to shocked (of course there were lots of people who deeply enjoyed the series). I deeply admired Claudia D’Alonzo’s courageous program and I am not regretting at all to have trusted her curatorial choices.

Above: Alessandra Arno’ – Stars (ITA 2003) 4′, b/w