On 7 October, the first edition at the Romaeuropa Festival of Digitalive came to a close – a platform dedicated to the intersection between performative arts and new technologies that follows Digitalife, the section of the Festival dedicated to digital art. The transition from ‘life’ to ‘live’ marks the creation of a new format which replaces the traditional exhibition structure with live performance and becomes Biennale.
«The pervasive ubiquity of the media and web profoundly influences practices and styles through which performativity is enacted and used.» This is how the curator Federica Patti describes the conceptual approach behind the performances that invaded the spaces of the Mattatoio for 4 days.
This year, for the first time, the Rome Fine Arts Academy worked in collaboration with the Romaeuropa Festival and was fully involved in the Digitalive event with the project Backstage/Onstage. The event was followed by students in communication, video, photography, graphics, multimedia arts and design, who moved back stage and among the spectators.
Together with the team from Romaeuropa and Arshake, students explored the dynamics of performance production and interacted with the artists. The Backstage/Onstage team dedicated itself to the production of materials for the exhibition space, curated social media accounts, produced photos and videos, set up and dismantled the theatres at the Mattatoio, and interviewed artists and other figures involved in the festival. All this material will be soon start to be published in the special dedicated section where focuses will be dedicated to all the 11 invited artists and to their works, followed from the preparation on the backstage to the entrance on stage.
The curator Federica Patti answered several questions, allowing participants to contextualise the work carried out this year at Digitalive, an event of great importance and high experimental value in the national art world.
How does Digitalive fit within your journey as a curator? You were very present back stage and among the public showing us a curator who is deeply involved: what is your relationship with the curatorial practice?
Besides the work as a critic and “pure” curator, I directed an independent space in Bologna (the Spazio Barnum) and curated the AV section of the ROBOT Festival for several years. These experiences, together with those I followed with colleagues from LaRete Art Projects – a curatorial collective I’m part of – have allowed me to engage in all aspects of an artistic event: from the selection of the artists to the production of the works; from communication to set-up; from welcoming artists to the preparation of critical texts. Above all, being a curator has given me the opportunity to work with young artists and in the field of liminal praxes – versatility is essential. And it’s also very enjoyable!
How would you describe your experience as a curator in Italy, given that so many Italian artists find their recognition abroad?
Fortunately, the Italian artists who go aboard are always enthusiastic at the idea of being able to present their work in Italy! Joking aside, culture is a professional sector with its peculiarities, benefits and difficulties as in any other job. From a personal point of view, I always try to dispel the false myth, the commonplace idea that those who produce culture do this as a hobby or pastime, or that anyone can work in art and culture without any qualification. I always try to stress the strong professional implications of these activities.
We noticed many artists knew each other before the event and had a strong interest in the work being presented: can we speak of an Italian school of multimedia performance?
I’m pleased with the atmosphere created during the event. Not only were the artists curious about each other, but many people in the business joined us for discussions and to provide feedback on the works being performed on stage. The world of live media performance has, for some time now, been an active, open and international community.
In your opinion, what is the outcome of this fusion between Spring Attitude and Digitalive?
It wasn’t a fusion, but rather a meeting, a collaboration. “We” like each other a lot and we can energise each other.
What feedback did the artists provide? What were your experiences of this Digitalive edition and how will these influence your future projects?
The days at Digitalive, engaging with the artists, reminded me once again of how important it is to build an experience in which to situate a performance and how this experience is presented to the public for their enjoyment. Attention to detail is essential, in all aspects, because any single variation can cause a change in use and, consequently, even give a different significance to the work being presented. The Romaeuropa team is particularly sensitive to this and is unique in this sector, allowing them to satisfy the needs of the public and artists to the maximum of their expressive creativity.
To conclude, has the winner of the Digitalive 2018 prize been chosen yet? Do you plan to follow the production process of the winning artist?
I will definitely follow the new production, together with the artistic direction of REf and other partners we are currently working with. We will definitely announce the winner shortly! 🙂
Article and interview written and edited by the students of the Educational Department at the Rome Fine Arts Academy: Sofia Dati, Noemi Saia, Ornella Simma Padalino. Please visit here the introduction of Backstage / On Stage. You can find here more information on Digitalive 2018 and here more information on the updated calendar of Romaeuropa Festival that is currently on view until November 2018.
images: (cover – 1) Digitalive (2-3-4-5-6) Digitalive, Romaeuropa Festival 2018, photo: Maria Giovanna Sodero, Eleonora Mattozzi for the project “Backstage/ On Stage” realized as a collaboration between The Rome Fine Arts Academy and Romaeuropa Festival, with the support of Arshake.