It is the eye, elusive and inquiring, of a hunting camera, the first scanning apparatus that cages us on the darkened threshold of X-Contemporary, where the monitoring of bodies is immediately imposed as one of the fulcrums of the exhibition “It was a body in the shape of a city”first solo show by Katia Mosconi curated by Alessia Baranello. The exhibition space takes on the appearance of a cavernous cavern, constituting itself as a simulacrum of dancefloor to the rhythms of a hypnotic sound, pounding, made in collaboration with the sound artist Daniele Borri.
This soundscape, composed of samples that emphasize the materiality of the psychedelic trance rave and urban substrates, accompanies us inside the dark spaces of the gallery, where the artist rethinks the paradigm of dance and the constraints of legality and illegality in which it is performed, analyzing it in its form of non-permanent, non-pconsumerist and non-privileged experience, in which nomadism and precariousness represent the constitutive conditions of its existence as a liminal apparatus of transformation. Videos, rendered drawings and traces of electronic music are intertwined in a synesthetic intervention, which traces the events of the rave in the Milanese context and dwells on the multiple possibilities of negotiating the urban space, to produce new forms of interrelation through the dancing and relational body, at a time when the latter is declared illegal.
In this sense, dance – as a perspective and as an event – is opposed to the hierarchical network of States, authorities and organizers and operates in a rhizomatic way through constant efforts to balance unforeseen circumstances, arising from moral and spatial needs. Implementing this subtraction through dance means using the transformative potential of moving bodies and their gestures to imagine another terrain, an alternative spatiality that decentralizes and pluralizes the institution itself, to create transfers of experiences. Fulcrum of the techno-aesthetics of raves, the rhythms of electronic music are the offspring of a rhizomatic movement that, throughout its history, has learned to remix the constitutive scripts of its becoming. Precisely in the interstices and in the peripheral alcoves of the industrial context, when abandoned and deserted by all productivity, proliferate these practices of subtraction that escape the suppressive caging promulgated by the governments that, since the nineties, It has condemned with iron hands every form of alternative communitarianism.
This contrasting setting, where illegality is performed in places of capitalist subjugation that distances bodies while exploiting their value, is made tangible in the two-channel video It was a body in the shape of a city (2023) where, through the overlap between two levels of reality, the urban space shows itself as a choreographic engine in the material process of human and non-human bodies that show themselves. The remains of the Milanese industrial sheds projected on the wall, far from gentrified neighborhoods and once stages of collective rituals of the rave, overlap the movements of a mass caged in the new Milanese dancefloor, where every instinct of self-organization is now assimilated into the capitalist machine. The artist, through multiple infrared observation devices, captures an archive of metadata that allow you to record the steps of a dance apparently free of irregularities and regularity. The rave culture, which gave voice to the subjective feelings of collective liberation through a techno ritual made of tribal rhythms, utopian images and ecstatic sensibility, is cut off from the dangerous rhetoric of DIY collectivismand made safe for public consumption.
The architectures of these “prisons of pleasure” follow one another in the opera Dancefloor empire in Milan (2023), where the structural skeletons of one hundred and seventeen Milanese nightclubs are manipulated as 3D renderings, symbols of an enlarged subtraction from the new dancefloors, the capitalist machine, which has replaced autonomy and rebellion for the convenience of club culture and for a respite from the collective fatigue of counter-culture logistics. Allowing the escape from everyday experience, revitalizing cultural models or claiming new representations of itself, from metropolitan warehouse parties to international trance festivals, dance becomes a theatre of change through which participants project their artistic and political visions on festive spaces. Implementing a practice of subversion, the spaces produced by gestures and movements are configured as potential spaces, in the making, that produce differences instead of leveling them, when dominated by alliances and community, instead of rules and contractures.
Katia Mosconi, It was a body in the shape of a city
Curated by Alessia Baranello
16/03/23 – 06/04/23
open by appointment
via Santa Teresa 20/A, Milan, 20142
is a contemporary art magazine since 1980