This time, Peter Greenaway. He is the next one who accepted my invitation to question himself on the current situation of the end-of-game and need to re-start. He replies with visionary and intense words and with an incredible artwork of his, devoted to a Golem, a symbol of crisis, defence, and change. Greenaway, an exceptional and cult film director who has accompanied generations of creatives and intellectuals, joins Sarah Rigotti, Tobias Rehberger, Michele Lanzinger e Antonio Lampis (https://www.arshake.com/en/we-need-a-golem/), i.e. a mountain butcher, a Golden-Lion-recipient artist, the director of a science museum and a culture manager: they answered to the same three questions of a multiple-interview, a recurrent format in my artistic practice I used to contribute to the curatorial project GAME OVER. I am grateful to Arminio and Paolo Sciolli, who introduced me to Peter three years ago during a fantastic evening in Pura. Here is Greenaway’s Golem, maybe – I like to believe – the cue to a new film.
Stefano Cagol: The value of knowledge is suddenly being questioned …
Peter Greenaway: Here is a malformed inadequate Golem – as surely every Golem must be – being man-made – coming through the fire in the kiln, from the ashes of the bonfire, ripped free of the spit – damaged, scorched, scratched, burnt, roasted, fire-raw – with two extra arms to help him inadequately and provide him with substitutes if the originals fall away charred in the flames. He is Pluto refashioned – somewhat an indecipherable figure – being also two dimensional as well as three-dimensional – with holes for attaching the strings to hold him up and manipulate him – holes through which you can presently see the clear blue sky and the sharp green grass of perfect creation. He is woefully imperfect – though he is proud to hubristically offer evidence of his sex. And he has already committed the most heinious of sins. Having polluted the Earth he is now set on polluting the Cosmos.
How can we transform ourselves (hybridise) to protect us (from ourselves)?
Stop the rot now! No more space exploration! No more junk in space! Space exploration is a lose/lose situation. A phenomenon that cannot be won. Going on the basis of every activity and performance known – if we discover Others – they are irrevocably doomed – they will be exploited out of existence – to the point of annihilation and beyond – and go the way of all those exploited – Tasmanians, North American Indians, the blue whale, the white rhino, the grey and pink Passenger Pigeon, the Dodo … and if they discover us we are irrevocably doomed. We will be irrevocably maimed, exploited, humiliated, deceived, destroyed. Disaster all around. And staying with colours – how on earth can the red ant and the blue whale ever communicate? They don’t even see one another. They inhabit different media. The black man and the white man have deep trouble and they are the same species. Darwin’s success of the fittest to its environment – in body, mind, morals, immorals – which means entropy in the end.
Propose a simple, albeit utopian, piece of advice to humanity. As a small step in a correct evolution.
Then what in Hell do we do with our curiosity? It’s unstoppable. Certainly look if you must – but do you touch. We have been around long enough to know we are the ultimate poison. Stop now. Invent your virtuality, don’t tread out your reality. For if we continue looking for the Others – they will surely soon be found and then erasure and unutterable pollution. Time was created to keep us separate not joined. If we don’t stop now the blue sky and the green grass will become null and void and all will be black and cold. No surprise. All ends in Entropy. Maybe we can slow the Entrophy down? The best we can do? Let’s try and do that by burning our schoolboy desire to be up there with the stars. Burn the Hubble. Is this pure Ludditism? It could be called self-preservation.
Stefano Cagol (Trento, 1969), recipient of the Italian Council 2019 and awards such as the Visit of Innogy Stiftung and Terna prize for Contemporary Art, participated in 55th Venice Biennale, Manifesta 11, 14th Curitiba Biennial, 2nd OFF Cairo Biennale, 2nd Xinjiang Biennale, Barents Art Triennale 2013 and 1st Singapore Biennale, and held solo exhibitions at CCA Center for Contemporary Art Tel Aviv, MA*GA museum, Mart, CLB Berlin, ZKM Karlsruhe. He studied at the Brera Academy of fine arts and Ryerson University in Toronto with a post-doctoral fellowship from the Government of Canada.His works, often multi-form and multi-sited, reflect on the issues of nowadays, from borders to viruses, to ecological issues and human interferences on nature.
The interview to Peter Greenway is part of WE NEED A GOLEM, artistic intervention for GAME OVER.Loading, following Stefano Cagol’s multiple interview to Antonio Lampis, Sarah Rigotti, Tobias Rehberger, Michele Lanzinger, Stefano Cagol (Arshake, 11.02.2021).GAME OVER:Loading is a project aimed at researching and studying new “cultural entities”, people, objects or research from different disciplines (physics, bio-robotics, AI, agriculture and medicine) and transporting them into the art world. This is a research project, but also a gesture that goes beyond simple interdisciplinary dialogue, becoming quite radical: a real “transplanting” of research areas aimed at preparing future c(o)ulture, where “creativity” equals “invention” and “invention” equals contributing to a transformation. A spark, a sign of a genetic mutation, a change of direction, a short circuit. A different energy that is also marks a change which is taking place and could constitute new lifeblood for the Culture system. This first phase is an investigative one aimed at visionaries, hybrid thinkers from various fields, including those from the cultural sector, who can express their views on current needs, each in relation to their own disciplinary field while generally respecting culture and society at large. Project team: Anita Calà Founder and Artistic Director of VILLAM | Elena Giulia Rossi, Editorial Director of Arshake | Giulia Pilieci: VILLAM Project Assistant and Press Office; Chiara Bertini: Curator, Coordinator of cultural projects and collaborator of GAME OVER – Future C(o)ulture | Valeria Coratella Project Assistant of GAME OVER – Future C(o)ulture. Previous interviews and interventions: Interview to Amerigo Mariotti by Azzurra Immediato (Arshake, 25.02.2021); Interview to Primavera De Filippi by Elena Giulia Rossi (Arshake, January 21, 2021); , Interview to Valentino Catricalà by Anita Calà and Elena Giulia Rossi (Arshake, 04.02.2021); multiple interview Stefano Cagol to Antonio Lampis, Sarah Rigotti, Tobias Rehberger, Michele Lanzinger, Stefano Cagol (Arshake, 11.02.2021); Andrea Concas’s video intervention (Arshake, 18.02.2021);interview by Azzurra Immediato to Leonardo Jaumann (Arshake, 28.01.2021).
images: (cover 1) Peter Greenaway – Stefano Cagol, Pura CH, December 2017 (2) GOLEM, © Peter Greenaway, 2021