15 november . 5 december 2013
Opening 14 November 2013, H. 07 pm
"I’m satisfied with this approach to a truth that can never be embraced."
(Riccardo Benassi, October 2013)
Techno Casa is a stream of thoughts that, beginning with the “attached” video series, expand in space under various forms, branching out, creeping in, or dripping onto many architecture planes.
Despite their definition, in Marsèlleria the Attachments are on top in the middle, like the head of an organism that thinks, also about itself. Moreover, they enter and introduce the space, referencing themselves while reaching out.
The Attachments make up a unique and surprising body of ten videos: they question again and challenge both the conventions of expression formats (videos, books, but also installations and exhibitions) and of genres (essays, lectures, diaries, letters). They narrate all Riccardo Benassi’s investigations, but also the disciplines he crosses, like visual art, architecture, design, music, and, above all, writing.
Given its formidable (if not alarming) intensity, insightfulness, completeness, and narrative authoring, each Attachment in the series Techno Casa marvelously flees any attempt at reduction, comparison, or further interpretation. The Attachments can be described only as black and white videos, filmed with a smartphone while directly using without any mediation the transparent surfaces offered by the architecture that hosted Riccardo Benassi while recording: thus windows (of buildings and transportation), elevators, and clear surfaces were initially sight devices and then screens (and screens of screens). Each Attachment includes: urban architecture or landscape that is immobile or moving in the background, a red strip at the bottom with moving text (like TV banners with news reports), bizarre animations in 3D color graphics that interrupt the flow of text and images—dialoguing with both the background and with the text (as if they were temporary highlighters or estranging elements)—and electronic music (at times decidedly dance) for soundtrack.
The Attachment invents a genre of first-person essay writing that seems to recreate the flow of thoughts as they wander and bounce in space; a space where confines and roles, however, are not all that clear: is it the space of the mind? Or is it instead filmed space, urban space? And who generates the reflections, that very space, which spreads and unleashes the flow of thoughts, or the thoughts themselves which temporarily cross space through the gaze (in turn by means of screens) of Riccardo Benassi himself?
The charm of the Attachments derives precisely from their intimate ambiguity: they are empathetic dialogues with observers, but also the impeccable representation of the flowing thoughts of their author, where—like an uncharted intimate multidimensional and screen-like territory—thoughts swim in line against a red background, the apparitions of unlikely color images, and the landscape in black and white. All, inevitably, dancing.
In the end, Techno Casa can be reversed: it is also a series of seeming installations that give shape to a temporary occupying (or better yet, residing) of emptiness, which takes place thanks to the use of signs, mimetic interventions, and background sounds.
And, moreover, all is doubled and reversible: two rolls of felt that communicate, an arrow that looks like a plane that resembles an arrow and, once the surface is changed, it becomes a bird, two hands of a clock, the wheels on a chair without their other half, and sockets without their other half. And the entire space intimately dialogues with the Attachments and, inevitably, with us.
We desperately depend upon architecture, upon what provides it and provides us. And everything desperately depends upon space. All we can—inevitably—do is dance.
“It's obviously rotating because it's flashing, it's way out in the distance, certainly rotating in a very rhythmic fashion because the flashes come around almost on time.”
(Gene Cernan, December 1972)
For the Milan stage of the project Techno Casa, at Marsèlleria, Riccardo Benassi has created a site-specific environmental installation whose throbbing core is a cycle of ten films (video-essays) called “Attachments” (lasting 3 hours, overall). The film’s sound⎯a spine rather than a soundtrack⎯fills the void left by the visual and spatial interventions created ad hoc, thus fostering an emotional relationship with the hosting architecture. The entire project is the artist’s reflection on how the use of new technologies⎯smartphones in particular⎯completely alter our relationship with everydayness, and it can be seen like a sort of attempt to define the practical possibilities for a “neo neo realism” that must come to terms with a total redefining⎯under the influence of Internet⎯of the very notion of reality itself.
In following this idea, the architecture (which always plays a fundamental role in the work of Benassi) seems transformed into a system of presentation and display, thinned out to the two-dimensional reality of a TV screen. Thus the interventions conceived for the spaces at Marsèlleria⎯visual, objectual, spatial, and sonorous⎯may be seen as a method of reactivating the architecture itself. The films⎯lasting about 15 minutes each⎯are called “Attachments” because they all stem from the introductory video, Techno Casa an introduction to, https://vimeo.com/65541365.
Each Attachment of Techno Casa is a black and white film shot with a smartphone upon which a “news television” red band hosts a story, questioned at times by some surprising color animations in animation graphics and 3D.
The first five Attachments were produced by Xing for the second edition of Live Arts Week (Bologna, April 16 – 21, 2013) and presented at MAMbo - Museo d'Arte Moderna in Bologna http://www.liveartsweek.it/eng/riccardo-benassi.
The remaining five Attachments were produced by the Gallerie d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea of Ferrara for Art Fall 13 (October 4 – 6, 2013, Videoteca Vigor del Comune di Ferrara), curated by Maria Luisa Pacelli http://artemoderna.comune.fe.it/1906/techno-casa.
Thus Filipa Ramos describes Riccardo Benassi’s work: “Riccardo Benassi has a dangerous mind. The encounter with his lucid eyes and endless flux of thoughts, transmitted through his projects and works, offers the risk of forever conditioning our form of seeing and relating to the world around us.
A philosopher of the present, he helps the world by revealing mystic truths (to stay with Bruce Nauman), which appear as clear as water once he enounced them and shared them with the others. Benassi’s works are the result of an articulated assemblage of images, sounds, colors, texts, design objects, and diverse materials, which are put together to generate large-scale installations, videos, performances, artist’s books, and sculptural elements in which the visual part is one of the many elements that compose the final result. This combination of material and immaterial substances places him in the threshold between a spatial practitioner, a researcher, a theoretician, and an experimental musician. Frequently collaborating with others, Benassi is one of the most interesting agitators of the European underground experimental music scene, and since 2004 he is, together with musician Valerio Tricoli, the creator and promoter of the project Phonorama, a collaborative live electronics project. In 2006 he founded, together with Claudio Rocchetti, the audio-visual duo OLYVETTY.”