Art At Videocity, the immersive work by None Collective

At Videocity, the immersive work by None Collective

Giorgia Massari

With its 6th edition, Videocittà, the festival dedicated to vision and digital culture, is back. Conceived by Francesco Rutelli, with the direction of Francesco Dobrovich, Videocittà will animate – from 13 to 16 July – the largest industrial archaeological area in Europe, the Gazometro in Rome. The events on the programme are varied and heterogeneous: talks, musical events, collective exhibitions and site-specific works will address the theme of Transition, chosen this year as the topic of discussion. As every year, the festival will explore the most advanced forms of audiovisual and digital languages in the national and international cultural context.

Gazometro Ostiense, Roma – Ph Credits Ufficio Stampa GDG PRESS

Kicking off this year’s edition are two monumental audio-visual works, created especially for the location by two art collectives. The first is Mater Terrae signed by the Sila Sveta studio, which will project on the metal cylinder of the Gazometro a visionary digital vortex set in dialogue with the music of producer Mace. The second work, on the other hand – GIGA – is by None Collective, ready to enhance the Blast Furnace and act as an intangible backdrop to live performances and DJ sets by great artists such as the French duo The Blaze, house music pioneer Dixon, American Lyra Pramuk and Italian artists Bawrut, Ginevra Nervi, Bnkr44, Ginevra and Elasi.

For the occasion, we decided to meet with the three members of None Collective – Gregorio Comandini, Saverio Villirillo and Mauro Pace – to learn more about their experience at Videocittà and ask them a few questions about their artistic practice.

First of all, it is interesting for us to understand the relationship between video installation art and the various contexts in which it is placed. In your opinion, how does the perception of your works change within a festival compared to a more institutional context, such as a gallery?

In general, the return of our work is a fundamental moment in our research. Until you compare your ideas with people’s reactions, you never have a reference of your ‘inner world’ with the audience. Especially for audio-visual content such as ours, which, alien to these contexts, can only be enjoyed frontally and individually. Here, however, as at Videocittà, they acquire a decisive frame. The spectator finds himself immersed in a mass of bodies with a multidimensional perception of space, which also includes the chosen sounds and lights. Compared to gallery or other exhibition spaces, the festival undoubtedly holds the wow, or surprise, effect. Visitors are often attracted by music or other attractions and therefore do not expect to see our works. The fact that it is not a replicable experience or one that can be visited over an extended period of time also makes these contexts the perfect content for unique, ephemeral, ‘here and now’ experiences.

Do the works you devised for Videocity – the video installation GIGA and the performance Against Nature – speak of something in particular or do they have a purely aesthetic function?

Without a doubt, our works want to communicate a message. The fact that they are played on a loop during the various evenings allows the viewer to see them several times and thus assimilate the content, noticing the most hidden details. Apart from the initial effect, which can be one of amazement, our works are extremely critical and reflective. They can also be considered disturbing. Our performance is certainly disturbing. The installation GIGA makes this term most explicit. It shows a catastrophic future, with the industrial ruins of a decaying civilisation. The Earth is invaded by unknown organisms, marvellous creatures, beings too big to be understood. They are giants, hence the title GIGA.

Looking at your works, it becomes clear how important the context in which they are placed is for you, but, above all, the setting, the exhibition route and the scenic aspect stand out. Do you consider these factors as an integral part of the work or can they be easily separated from it?

Space is crucial for us. We design the installations for that space specifically. For example, the light does not only come from the video but we use a lot of light sources. The conditions and events that are created within a space, which is experienced by the viewer from different points of view, such as lying down, create an alteration of the space, both visually and sonically. The fact that we use different media and approach our research in a transdisciplinary way is the defining feature of our work and thus of our restitution. It is experience that is placed at the centre of our practice. We do not merely create files to be placed on a screen, but the work is a true organism, made up of different elements that are dynamically interwoven. In this way we maintain focus, playing with perceptual boundaries. For example, we very often use the element of darkness alongside flashes, strobe effects or otherwise dazzling, creating an emotional swing in the viewer that increases the perception of the events we want to convey.

But now, we would like to know more about your journey. Where did the name of your collective come from? Why did you feel the need to work together?

In general, when doing installations, it is almost necessary to come together as a group. We got to know each other while working and, finding it immediately comfortable, we pursued a single-minded search. Our name actually stems from many reasons. The most didactic and immediate one is the fact that “none” is the default wording that always appears in all the drop-down menus of all software. While the one we like to tell you the most is related to our attachment to Greco-Roman culture, in particular to the mythological sphere. In fact, we refer to the story of Polyphemus when, finding himself blinded, he asks “who was it?” and is answered “nobody”, which is precisely the Italian translation of “none”. We like this as an oxymoron: we are a collective made up of many people and nobody.

Here is a preview of None Collective’s works featured during Videocittà.

Find out more on the website or on Instagram.

Written by Giorgia Massari
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