After the succession of catastrophic global events, the exhibition by the IOCOSE collective – founded in 2006 by Matteo Cremonesi, Filippo Cuttica, Davide Prati and Paolo Ruffino – entitled Loops & Vectors, comes as an invitation to look at reality through a different lens.
Deeply steeped in content denouncing the paradoxes of contemporary society and what is the glaring “failure of narratives about the future” IOCOSE’s works use irony, play and “prank” as tools to convey their messages. Made already clear by the title, the focus of the exhibition, Loops and Vectors, curated by Francesca Lazzarini and Daniele De Luigi, is the opposition of two recurring movements in the artists’ work; the first of these is the “loop”, the repetition that is always the same (or almost). For example, Launching a new Product (2018) is a video that shows the literal launching of a new product through the use of a slingshot. In this scenario, the product is launched, handled, and carefully removed from its packaging and then launched again. These new products, always different although very similar, are fetishes to be desired and owned and live an endless cycle, a loop that replicates the consumerist mechanism underlying contemporary life. Statement of a technology industry that has repeatedly disillusioned expectations for the creation of a better and more egalitarian world and that does not aim at regaining lost trust but, through the enticements of attractive design, at increasing its profit.
Opposed to loops we find the second movement, the vectors, moving forward, progress. In works such as Spinning the Planet (2013) or Moving Forward (2016 – ongoing) IOCOSE describes the direction to be taken, the will to move forward into the future. The video Spinning the Planet sees the launching of four missiles from the ground, placed by the artists with the intention of accelerating the rotation of our planet so as to bring it closer to the future. Here, the work refers to the war industry and its contribution in building an imaginary future. Moving Forward, another video work, shows the forward movement of objects in the attempt, the artists stated, to «send the world forward, one object at a time».
All of this is described not without an irony that mocks the enthusiastic slogans for a better future, typical of the post-World War II era and that today have to face increasingly disillusioned generations. Similar catchphrases can be found in works such as Pointing at a New Planet (2020) and Free From History (2021), videos installed in the first room of the exhibition, where on the sidelines of 3D animations it is possible to read, and sing as in a karaoke, slogans born in the Silicon Valley to promote the colonization of extraterrestrial planets by private companies. The reference to Elon Musk and his Space X is explicit. Musk also stars in The Fortune Teller (2020) where his hands are modeled and become those of a fortune teller. The ability to read the future in the palms of his hands is almost analogous to the credibility of NewSpace’s advertising performances where usually the narrative of space colonization is promoted, but without mentioning the still existing and predominant technical difficulties.
The latest protagonists of Loops & Vectors are the drones represented in Drone Selfies (2014) and Drone Memorial (2016), both part of the series In times of peace (2014 – 2016), a cycle of works investigating the possible life of these means in a world free of war and terrorism. In Drone Selfies, drones are depicted in mirror selfies, in their dwellings these mediums live a post-human life surrounded by their personal belongings. The question posed by IOCOSE is what it means to live in times of peace. The drone, which is a device of war, a tool used by videomakers but also a toy, could be the medium in which to find the answers to this question and in which to read the future of our civilization. Drone Memorial, on the other hand, is the end point, the silvery totem, placed at the left edge of the exhibition space, to which we pilgrimage in memory of the fallen drones. Inside of it, a GPS makes it traceable by all drones which would like to pay tribute to it, and engraved on its surface are the identification codes of all those drones shot down in war operations and military exercises, including the dates and locations of their findings.
With this creation of more or less likely future scenarios, generated from the signs of the present, IOCOSE reiterates the need to create awareness regarding a vision of the future, which is in the hands of the community. It is a pragmatic analysis and a possible cure to the most destructive visions.
IOCOSE, Loops & Vectors
curated by Francesca Lazzarini and Daniele De Luigi
25/11/2022 – 26/02/2023
FMAV – Palazzina dei Giardini
Corso Cavour 2, 41121 Modena
Rita Meschiari (Modena, 1994) graduated in languages in 2019 and then embarked on a training course in the field of art curation, with in-depth studies in contemporary art history and critical writing. Having completed the ICON 2020 curator course, offered by the Modena Arti Visive Foundation, today she deals with the organization of projects relating to contemporary art, with particular attention to the use of video-photographic practices. Among others, she collaborated with ReA! Art Fair and Centrale Festival.