At the 59th Venice Biennale, Alessandro Zannier’s project titled “ENT2: Venice and Yaoundé”, came into light. The project depicts the sound pollution using big data technology, featuring light installations from the two cities, combined with a set of paintings, digital media images and Non-Fungible Tokens. In a Twitter Space event, organised by Global Crypto Art, Alessandro Zannier spoke to digital communicator and correspondent Cynthia Tian on the subjects including the concept behind the “ENT2” project, his choice of technologies in art and his devotion to music.
Cynthia Tian: First of all, congratulations on participating in the prestigious Venice Biennale twice in a row! Last year, the Architecture Biennale selected your project “ENT1: Venice and Auckland”, while this year, you are presenting “ENT2: Venice and Yaoundé” in the Art Biennale, are you excited?
Alessandro Zannier: I am very honoured. Last year’s theme was architecture, which I consider very important because it combines art and science. This year I participate to the Art Biennale: this is a dream come true for everyone in the field of art and design.Venice holds a special place in the contemporary art world, and I graduated from the Venice Fine Art Academy. Without any doubt, for me, this is very exciting.
What is the main idea behind the “ENT” project series? How did you chance upon it?
I am fascinated with the concept of the Mega Human Being. It implies each human function as a hyper object; dependent on a multitude of events, sacrificing and undercutting the individual self. After having researched this topic for several years from the point of view of the arts, science and sociology, it became apparent to me that there is a definitive link between a single, local, isolated event, or global, recurrent phenomena, with a cause-and-effect on the whole system.I began producing artworks to shine light on the unconscious collective dynamic of human behaviour and its impact across different cultures and environments. The first recognition was through the Italy pavilion at Venice Biennale of Architecture 2021. The “ENT1” project involves the building of visible ties between environmental data from two geographically remote locations. Namely, the Venice Biennale in Italy and Auckland University in New Zealand. Following the success of “ENT1 – Venice and Auckland” in 2021, I created the second instalment, “ENT2: Venice and Yaoundé”, which interweaves Venice’s environmental data with dataset from Cameroonian capital city. In the 2022 Venice Biennale, the Cameroon Pavilion is hosting the “ENT2” exhibition.
To those who have not visit yet the Venice Biennale 2022, how would you describe the “ENT2” project?
There are luminous obelisks that collect and exchange environmental data between two cities. For the “ENT2”, I twinned the city of Venice and the capital city of Cameroon. There are data feeds that contain the magnitude of local sound pollution and a system that translates the pollution levels into various degrees of luminosity. Each obelisk, connected to a monitor, shows a visualisation of environmental data coming from the other, distant place. For example: in Venice we can see the environmental pollution of the city of Yaoundé, and vice versa. This symbolically demonstrates how all the environmental problems of the world, even the seemingly distant ones, have effects on everyone, everywhere.
You incorporated big data and NFTs for the “ENT” series. Do you consider technology a very important factor for your art? Would you share your thoughts on the relationship between art and technology?
The relationship between art and technology is a tricky one. In the 21st century, our society is constantly flooded with new technologies and cool cultural trends that leverage innovation. As an artist, do I have any choice but to follow fashion? I don’t do it out of trend, but out of necessity. I need big data technology to explain a contemporary problem. As I build my art projects, I only choose technologies that serve my artistic vision.
“ENT” series offers the Soundscape NFTs, will you tell us what they are and their functions?
In addition to a series of canvases, “Hyper Object Still Life”, “ENT” offers NFTs with videos lasting between 15 and 20 seconds, carrying in the titles the precise geographic coordinates of those harbours exposed to the sea acoustic pollution, caused by the maritime traffic. Each video shows the recreation of the acoustic pollution concerning its own sea area as sound and as a 3D animated subject generated by the same sound.The NFT is a social experiment to permanently cast the digital images representing the environmental and scientific concepts into the blockchain. It bears a social impact because through open market circulation, these NFTs reach a wider audience beyond the physical events, like the Venice Biennale. To compensate for the CO2 emissions from the NFT production, I invested in creating a forest of fruit trees in Africa that absorbs double the quantity of CO2 from the atmosphere. This last action completes the theme of the project and delivers an important message to the collectors.
You are an accomplished musician, you write lyrics, compose scores and perform as the lead vocalist of a music band. What compels you to pursue a music career while working as a visual artist?
I am a lyricist, composer and singer under the pseudonym Ottodix. I released the two albums “Micromega” and “Entanglement” as the music producer.I often regard my art project as a film, and my job as the film director of the same, and, as you know, having outstanding soundtracks is paramount to a good film. Thus, I am compelled to compose music and sing songs as an accompaniment to the visual narratives.
“ENT2” project is the second segment of the elaborate “ENT” series. When will you unveil the next chapters?
I have a solo exhibition, “MareMoto 4.0”, at Galata Museo del Mare, in Genoa, from July 23rd to September 4th, promoted by Art Commission, “ENT3” and “ENT4” will be inaugurated at this event. This time the projects will involve remote locations in Asia and South America.
Alessandro Zannier, ENT2: Venice and Yaoundé
23/04/2022 – 27/11/2022
Calle San Bernardo 3199, 30123 Venezia
Alessandro Zannier, alias Ottodix, portrait, 2020. Ph. Luca Facchini
Alessandro Zannier, ENT2: Venice and Yaoundé, 2022. Lighting installation (cm 165 x 60 x 60), plexiglas, led, 3D animation, environmental data sonification. Graphic design by Alessandro Zannier, programming by Marco Marchesi, graphic re-elaboration and adaptation for ENT2 by Paolo Corti, sonification and implementation by Alex Piacentini. Courtesy the artist
Alessandro Zannier, Hyper Object Still Life, 2021, acrylic, cm 100 x 150 x 150. Courtesy the artist
Alessandro Zannier, ENT soundscape, NFT. Courtesy the artist
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