Special project # 12, Verba Volant, scripta manent by Guido Segni

Special Project #06 – Studio++: «Navigare»

by Arshake |     14 January 2015


Arshake is pleased to announce that Navigare, project by the collective Studio ++, will inhabit Arshake for the next months, transforming the banner into a ship’s prow. The prow is the one of a real boat as it is seen throughout the eye of its web cam. The images, retrieved in real time, have been distributed by the Studio ++ collective on the Internet in 2012, and transformed into a «web installation». It is from here where the journey between reality and imagination starts from; dislocation becomes tangible. We board on Arshake to continue the journey, to explore the different facets of the polysemantic term «navigare [sail], or to simply abandon ourselves to the navigation. The critic text by Antonello Tolve that follows is the first intervention of the theme. It guides us to journey as well as into the Stuio ++ work and intentions.

 The Infinite Power of Heterotopia (by Antonello Tolve)


The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes
James Joyce

There is not a person alive who doesn’t feel the need to erase their own limits and head for unknown territories or distant continents, to embark on the path «where happiness is united with silence» – if only in their minds. After all, the charm of a journey is represented by the «nostalgia for a country that has yet to be seen», by curiosity and the pleasure that is nourished by the anticipation of reaching a destination and the intention of exploring (and seeking) a true country where «life is sweet to breathe»[1].

Fabio Ciaravella (1982), Umberto Daina (1979) and Vincenzo Fiore (1981), the founders of Studio + +, have dedicated a project to this atmosphere, the intimate diary that preserves an incalculable shadow of reality in which aspirations, emotions or desires to desire the things desired reside (Lacan). Without any introduction, this project takes its interactive spectators on a journey along the course of a memory experienced through imagination for the purpose of approaching that which George Gurvitch called promethean liberty[2]: a procedure through which «art attempts to find its perfection and an expansion of the living real experience.»[3]

Navigare (2012) is a «web installation» – live video in streaming that invites the public to set sail upon an imaginary sea in search of something (or someone) to remember and to forget, to rethink and re-sew with the needle of hope and with the thread of an air of saudade, of that sentiment defined by Dante as disio (desire) or, more specifically, nostalgia for the future.

This work is connected to the poetic site specific installation Come un quadrato nel mare (2014), presented on the Project wall at the Francesco Pantaleone Gallery in Palermo, an installation that seems (to me) to recall several poetic expedients used by Pino Pascali and works of augmented reality, Il mare non ha paese nemmeno lui, ed è di tutti quelli che lo stanno ad ascoltare (2012), created for the RISO Museum in Palermo and can be viewed on its own App. Navigare is the blueprint of an itinerary, of the necessity to transform the flow of existence, the humble antechamber of personal, intimate and private disclosure.

The artists wrote a brief but purposeful essay to accompany the work: «Navigare is a live filming of the bow of an intercontinental cruise ship, captured by a webcam installed on the ship to later be shared on the internet. Our operation is to decontextualize the film from its (virtual) setting from which it came into being and make it the story of a voyage. This way, the story can become a metaphor for a way to perceive and understand our world today. Navigare (to navigate) is a word but it is also an ancient and original idea. The arrival of the internet has allowed us a way to give it a contemporary inflection, thus enabling it to evoke itineraries leading to knowledge. The tale of this journey is explicit about the ‘middle position’ of our time, where truth and convictions remain suspended between cultural filters and the technological potential made available to us […].»[4]

The bow of a ship (of a wandering rug, of an illusion that denounces all the rest of reality as an illusion) is then an environment into which the spectator is introduced to embark upon a journey, to begin a discussion in a garden that is located absolutely elsewhere, in a place that is categorically different and in a counter-space, a heterotopia or a park that is born (as Michel Foucault discerned)  «in the minds of people or, to tell the truth, in the interstices of their words, the depth of their tales or even in the place without location of their dreams and in the void in their hearts […].»[5]

Alongside what is described by the artists as the «timeless charm of navigation or the marvellous heterochrony of motion, the smooth space of cabotage in a territory without territory that lives for itself (a ship is heterotopia by definition),»[6]  Navigare is the voiceless allegory of a world (today’s world) which has transformed possession into access[7] and has burned – deleted, abbreviated and crushed – temporal/spatial thresholds while producing a device that is evolutionary (and, in some cases, involutionary as well – as I have pointed out on many occasions)[8] beyond which dwells solitude, the darkness of the mind, distortion of objective truth, the awareness of constant metamorphosis and the existential instability of the present. Studio + + travels (along with the public who decides to participate in this Erzählsituationen) within the story of our daily lives to settle with aesthetic vehemence into the world and into a place («the horizon of all horizons» according to Mikel Dufrenne) «… in that bow carrying us out to see the world, guaranteeing our vision of the reality of everything it is a part of.»[9] In a world that is represented and expressed, in which the experience of the author (the creator) is placed at a new height (Zanzotto) and the work is displayed as a reflective practice, like a theory of comprehension or a wager upon the future aspects of human existence. In fact, all works by Studio + + possess this elegant and lyrical orientation.

Antonello Tolve, Istanbul, 31 December 2014

[1]    Charles Baudelaire, L’invitation au voyage, in «Le Présent», 24 August 1857; Italian translation in Opere by G. Raboni and G. Montesano with an Introduction  by G. Macchia, Mondadori Publishers, Milan 1996, page 411.

[2]    For further information, refer to G. Gurvitch in Traile de Sociologie, Tome I, P.U.F., Paris 1958. More specifically in the Sociologie en profondeur chapter pages 157-254.

[3]    J. Duvignaud, Sociologia dell’arte, op. cit., page 132.

[4]    Studio + +, Navigare (portfolio of the artists), in «studioplusplus», downloaded on 30/12/2014 at 12:11p.m.

[5]    M. Foucault, Les hétérotopies / Les corps utopique, Institut National de l’audiovisual, Paris 2004 (publication is the transcript of two radio conferences held by Foucault for France Culture on 7 and 21 December 1966); Italian translation: Utopie Eterotopie, Cronopio Publishers, Naples 2006, page 11.

[6]    M. Foucault, Les hétérotopies / Les corps utopique, op.cit., page 28.

[7]    J. Rifkin, The Age Of Access: The New Culture of Hypercapitalism, Where All of Life Is a Paid-For Experience, J.P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York 2000; Italian translation: L’era dellaccesso. La rivoluzione della new economy, Mondadori Publishers, Milan 2001.

[8]    For further information please refer to A. Tolve, Ubiquità. Arte e critica d’arte nell’epoca del policentrismo planetario, Quodlibet, Macerata-Rome 2013.

[9]    M. Dufrenne, Phénoménologie de l’expérience esthétique, volume 2, P.U.F., Paris 1953; Italian translation: Fenomenologia dell’esperienza estetica, vol. I – L’oggetto estetico, Lerici Publishers, Rome 1969, page 221.


Studio ++ bio
Fabio Ciaravella (b.1982), Umberto Daina (b.1979) and Vincenzo Fiore (b.1981) studying at the Faculty of Architecture in Florence where they found Studio plus plus in 2006. The research of the collective focuses on the formulation of a method of analysis and representation of the reality in a close symbiotic connection with the concepts of the ‘relationship of limit’ and ‘postponed time’. The intrinsic properties of materials and the very physical laws to which they are subjected, the use of new technologies in relation with the contemporary of ever day life as well as the project are the main tools used to construct new captivating devices for the loss of conventional reference systems.
The activity of the collective has also been to provide, through a comparison with the academic world, a contribution to the contemporary debate on landscape and public spaces, having the language of art as a possible form of mediation in the canonical dichotomy between the scientific and objective approach and the aesthetic and perceptive one of space.


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