At Spazio Murat, one of the most popular cultural venues in Bari, is currently on view Tails, a solo show by Valentina Vetturi. With a practice that oscillates between performance, sculpture, text, sound and new media, Vetturi presents a new site-specific work conceived for Spazio Murat. The project, curated by Silvia Franceschini and produced by Spazio Murat, approaches the theme of network infrastructure and its environmental impact.
An acronym for The Amnesic Incognito Live System, the exhibition takes its name from the Tails software that erases all traces of the use we make of our computers. The title suggests “an exploration of the dark matter of the immaterial”: a definition coined by French journalist Guillame Pitron in his analysis of digital pollution and the “travel cartography” of our likes.
Tails invites the public to an immersive experience: the work is accessible to seven visitors at a time, it is a journey inside a sculpture generated from an image produced by an artificial intelligence system. The visitor is invited to stop and listen to the sounds inside, Spazio Murat is thus transformed into a performative and sensorial landscape that feeds on the traces we leave behind in our daily interactions.
On Friday 14 July, at 6 p.m., Valentina Vetturi talks with curator Franceschini about how the reflections on the digital world and memory that the artist has been pursuing for some years now have found form through the use of papier-mâché and sound in a “perfomative landscape”.
In the exhibition, a tangle of tubes reconstructs on a scale of 1:2000 the cables that cross the planet’s seas. At the beginning of 2023, the estimated number of submarine cables using fibre-optic technology to power the system of virtual connections is around 552 for a total length of 1.4 million kilometres. Often perceived as an invisible and immaterial system, cables resurface in the exhibition space to remind us of the material and immaterial pollution of global communication networks.
The theme of digital memories and the digitisation of our lives, which Vetturi has been exploring since 2015, emerges here through the use of papier-mâché, a material that is a protagonist of local tradition, to whose transformative properties the artist had already dedicated a video work in 2020 entitled ‘Paper remembers’. Indeed, papier-mâché is endowed with the particular quality of taking a shape whose memory disappears once it is immersed in water.
Tails, as Vetturi writes, “feeds on opposing movements of thought: the infrastructure that allows the creation of permanent numerical memories dialogues with the fragile temporariness of the memory of papier-mâché. At the same time, the immateriality of digital experience is translated into material experience, revealing a large-scale occult architecture. And so, the connections that sculpt our lives on a daily basis are translated into a sensory landscape in which papier-mâché dialogues with sound, the exhibition space and the people passing through it. Tails evokes the sea as a connector of our digitised lives, an ecosystem permeated (impregnated) by telecommunication networks’.
(from the Italian press release)
images: (cover 1) invito (2-3) Valentina Vetturi, «Tails», 2023, paesaggio performativo, Spazio Murat, Bari, ph Spore.media
Valentina Vetturi, Tails, curated by Silvia Franceschini, Spazio Murat, Bari, Italy, 13.07 – 27.08.2023
Tails by Valentina Vetturi is a production by Spazio Murat. The sculpture in papier-mâché was realised in collaboration with Officina Chiodo Fisso. The sound landscape was realised in collaboration with and with Roberto Matarrese.