From dim to clear to curve With Simona Barbera at Office Project Room, Milan, 2019-2020.
In the garden, two modular metal structures make up the main installation, together with fabrics cut in different forms, and a series of stacked sculptures made of composite acrylic, cement, and rubber. By looking at the shape of different spatial architectures within the city, the installation juxtaposes surfaces that are typically used as deterrents to prevent loitering or any unnecessary holdups in spaces. Barely noticeable hostile surfaces like iron tips and jagged edges on railings, fences, stair sets and benches in places such as banks, shopping streets and official buildings, have become parts of cities’ passageways where they inhibit any irregular usage like skateboarding or sitting by shop windows. Architectures that adopt a minimalist approach have the same infringing function as the more aggressive urban designs, like the vertical leaning benches at bus stops. The installation uses the same modules and “data-sets” of railing designs and further neutralizes them, dispelling their hostile nature by turning them into sculptures that offhandedly reduce them to their bare form which, in turn, blends in with the fenced-in urban garden surroundings as a free-standing scaffold. A hand-sewn piece of cloth is wrapped around the rail, uncovering a pattern made from algorithmic computing processes of interrupted graphics. An array of hues varying from smog-color greens, to grays and purples, along with automated industrial metals resonate with our tactile memory of passing through, while all shapes become ultimately suggestive of a digitally generated composition. By recognizing the ambiguity between public urban planning and private property protection, the altered forms question the ability of designs in the commons to function as a structural grid in which bodies are blocked or moved. Because of their intrinsic duality of supposed intended function/message-in-form, these given designs fade as, the moment someone impulsively sits on top of the edge of a leaning bench, no more intention is present. Like looking past an advertising display, shifting the clear gaze and staring into the distance, which becomes curved into only mere colors and shapes.