Environmental installaton @ Marsèlleria
Text by Andrea Lissoni
"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)
Text: © Andrea Lissoni - 2013
Upper images: Photo © Carola Merello - 2013
Following images: Photo © Francesca Verga - 2013